Today I get to do something I don't normally do, I get to interview a finalist for the Indie Excellence Awards, Christina Morgan!
What does your writing process look like?
I work as a paralegal and a publisher by day, so I typically don’t get time to write except for at night and on the weekends. When I do get time, I close myself up in my office, tune out all noise, and try to knock out as much as I possibly can while I have time.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
This is funny. Maybe if I stood on my head, ideas might flow more feely! But no, other than the fact that I have to have complete silence. I can’t write with the TV on or music playing like some authors can.
What book do you wish you could have written?
That’s a tough one. I think if I had to pick one, I would pick The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. This book was amazing on so many levels. It was haunting, it was beautiful, it was disturbing, in a good way. It was also very creative and I love the way the author wrote and remained true to the two main characters (the teenage victim and the hard-edged detective interviewing her).
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Well, like most authors, I’d be lying if I said Stephen King wasn’t an inspiration. I read his book “On Writing” at the suggestion of my father when I first became serious about writing novels and I was so inspired. But I have also been inspired by authors such as Philippa Gregory and Kate Morton.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
That’s an easy one. I’ve always pictured Libby being played by Shiri Appleby from UnReal on Lifetime. I wrote the books first, then when I watched the series, I was like, “Oh my God! That’s Libby!” I’ve always thought the Flesh & Blood Trilogy would make a great Lifetime mini-series, so knock on wood, if that ever happens, I’m asking for her!
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
This is sort of embarrassing, but I have actually used an online name generator tool before! But that’s usually for secondary and tertiary characters. I keep a list of my favorite names on my phone, so when I go to start a new book, I look over the list and see which name fits my imagined character best.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
That’s easy! In May, Like Father, Like Daughter was named suspense finalist for the 2017 Indie Excellence Awards! For my first published novel, I’d say that’s something to be proud of!
From when you first started writing to now, what is your favorite work to have written? Do you have a least favorite?
I’d have to say that my favorite book is one that still hasn’t been published yet. It’s called The Confession of Ruth Weaver. It’s a YA crossover novel about a sixteen year old girl who befriends a 95 year old woman in a nursing home. Told in dual POV and alternating between 2016 and the 1940’s, Ruth reveals her dark, secret past in order to teach troubled Olivia a life lesson. I has so much fun researching it, and Ruth’s character was loosely inspired by my great-grandmother Evelyn Powell, who was such an eccentric character, she’s one of my all-time favorite people. As for my least favorite book, I don’t think as an author I’m supposed to say this, but I really never did connect with Confession of an Old Lady as much as I did all my other novels. But I do still really like it and the reader reaction to that book still blows me away. There’s something to be said for motorcycle club romances!
Were you already a great writer? Have you always like to write?
I’ve enjoyed writing my entire life. As a teenager, I always excelled when I had to write essays for school. I never got less than an A on them! Then as I grew older, I began writing short stories here and there. When I wrote my first full-length novel in 2013, I fell in love.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
It’s pretty cliché, but never give up. My mother once told me that people who succeed are just people who never quit or took no for an answer. There’s a lot of truth to that. If you give up, you’ll certainly never see your dreams come true. Beyond that, I say research as much as you can on how to write in your genre, and read, read, read as much as you can in your genre. See how other authors write and what sells books.
If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
Well, that’s easy, since I already have two other jobs. Not only do I work as a trial paralegal by day, I recently opened my own publishing company.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
A little of both. I never use outlines. I come up with a nugget of an idea and I write it down. Then I lie in bed, or drive my car, or stand in the shower and I think of how to expand on that nugget. Then once I have a more fleshed out idea, I sit down and I start to write. My books often change shape as I write and I never, ever know my plot twists until it’s time to write them. My stories almost always write themselves.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I used to read them. Now I don’t. I’ve been blessed to have received nothing but great reviews for all of my novels so far. I did have one bad review (a one star) for my first book. But her criticism was not of my writing or even my plot…she felt very strongly that LFLD should have been labeled a “cozy mystery” (which it is anything but), so she ranted for a good three paragraphs about this. Then, at the end, she said she still loved my book and my writing and she couldn’t wait to read more! I actually reached out to this reader (even though you should never do this) and we wound up having a very nice, productive chat and she ended up apologizing and saying she was wrong about my genre. She bought the rest of the books in the series and wrote rave reviews.
Do you have a writing spirit animal?
No. Sorry. I don’t. I’m a realist and I don’t believe in spirit animals.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
I honestly love it all, but if I had to pick one thing, it would be writing synopses. I can write the heck out of a novel, a query letter, even a blurb. But for some reason, synopses knock me on my butt every time.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Yes. Erotica. I am not a prude. I love sex as much as the next woman. But I just do not enjoy writing or reading open door sex scenes that are extremely graphic or include BDSM, sex toys, etc. I just feel like sex should be more tasteful than that. I do not have an issue with erotica writers. To each her own, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I also do not publish erotica for the same reasons. I feel like, I would never have sex out in the open for all to see, so why would I want to write/read about it?
Do you have readers block?
I’m not sure what this means. I read as often as I can, which unfortunately isn’t as much as I’d like it to be. Right now, I’m reading manuscripts that I’ve requested for my publishing company and I get some great submissions. But I do miss reading for leisure.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Beyond the aforementioned issue with sex scenes, I also cannot write action scenes. I don’t know why. They just don’t come naturally to me. I had to write a “struggle/fight” scene at the end of Like Father Like Daughter and it took me longer than any other scene in the entire book.
Is Like Father Like Daughter your first novel? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is my first published novel. I wrote about 10 complete novels before this and queried about four or five of them. In total, I have written about fifteen full novels and I’ve started another five or six beyond that which I one day hope to finish. I’ve had five of those published so far and another one slated for publication through my publishing company this fall.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m actually writing something a bit different than anything I’ve ever written before. Without giving too much away, it’s another suspense/thriller, but this one is told in three different POV’s (a troubled psychic woman with a secret past, a battle-scarred detective, and a search and rescue organization leader). All three are working in separate ways to try to find a missing six-year-old girl and I’ve got a killer twist planned for this one already!
Thank you so much for joining me today on my blog Christina!
About Bon Chance Press!
This year Christina Morgan, started up her own publishing company which she has named, Bon Chance Press. This is a small but dominating publishing company. They are publishing several works this year (the first one is coming out in October of this year) and are planning to publish several more over the next few years! Author's before you ask, they are in fact OPEN to submission of ALL GENRES! Everyone here is incredible to talk to and to work with. I have gotten the opportunity to do several blog tours with them.
The reason Christina created Bon Chance Press is because she wanted to work with a publisher is by the author for the author type company so what better way to do that than to start it up yourself! If your an author looking for that kind of environment go and check out their website and get in contact with them on social media!!
About Christina Morgan!