Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Author Uncovered: Angela Morrison (Author Interview)

Hi guys! Today, I have Angela Morrison, the author of Taken By Storm and Sing Me To Sleep with me. I've read these two books, and let me tell you; they are so amazing that they made me cry! It's an amazing feat to accomplish...I barely ever cry! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my interview with her!

Did you always want to become an author?
When I was in kindergarden, I wanted to be a veterinarian and have a hundred cats. Then I went to first grade and learned how to write.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an author?
I am plot challenged. I struggled and struggled with that until I read Vogler's The Writer's Journey. Now I'm a dedicated hero's journey writer. I'm not good at thinking up ideas for funny books. I'm great at tearjerkers. I also write fantastic kissing scenes. First drafts are a struggle, but I LOVE to revise. I go over and over the words, trying to take time to check each one and make sure it's the best one for the job. That's my fun. Oh, and poetry--that's desert.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
A fan just wrote me that she was so devastated by the ending of TAKEN BY STORM that she jumped out of her computer chair and squealed when she read on my website that I'm working on the sequel. This fall I'm writing Unbroken Connection. Leesie and Michael just couldn't leave each other alone. And they wouldn't leave me alone!

Do you have any must-haves when you're writing?
I write first drafts by hand. It works best when I'm absolutely alone, propped on a mound of cushy pillows in bed, with my lap desk, pale pink paper, and a Zebra gel ink pen to write with.

How does it feel like, knowing your books are on those bookshelves in a bookstore?
It still surprises me. This summer I met a lovely book buyer for an indie store at an alum retreat. She said, "Oh, you're Angela Morrison? I didn't realize." And then she went on to tell me how much she appreciated the honesty of Leesie and Michael's relationship and the frank insight into a Mormon girls life she provides. "That's why Taken by Storm is on my shelves." Most media that portrays Mormons is whacked. Leesie is as true and authentic as I could make her.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Sing me to Sleep, my upcoming novel, was inspired by one of my daughter's closest friends, but Derek isn't him. To make fiction work, you have to allow your character to grow into something unique and independent of anything or anyone who inspired it. I learned that writing Taken by Storm.

At first Leesie was WAY too much me. Every character I create has a big chunk of my heart and soul in them. I give them their thoughts and emotions created from my experience and imagination. I draw from my senses to create theirs. But too much me deadened the book. I had to change Leesie enough to free her. I have six sisters and borrowed bits and pieces of them to flesh out Leesie. I gave her one sister's long, stunning hair, another sister's wild driving prowess, and a retro sixties suede leather jacket like my son's coolest friend wore. And then Leesie started to become a unique character with her own voice, thoughts and feelings. I just had to listen. A couple of my most awful high school experiences still ended up in the novel. Can you guess what stuff really happened to me? The settings are all very real. Check out the trailer on my website, to see pictures of them.

Beth, in Sing me to Sleep, was inspired by a tall girl I saw perform once and a harassed girl I went to high school with, but she spoke with her own voice from the very beginning.

What are your ten, most favorite things?
Ballet shoes, my lap desk, paper (I love all kinds of paper), my cushy travel pillow, the new photo of my baby grandson, black olives, my signed copy of Katherine Paterson's Of Nightingales that Weep, Mexican Food, black gel pens, and "Dancing with the Stars."

What is your typical day?
A typical day? I never have one of those. Routine isn't my strong suit. Great writing days are hard to come by, too. But they consist of, waking up with my characters talking in my head, grabbing the lap desk that I keep by me bed, a sheef of pale pink paper, and a cushioned black gel ink pen, and scribbling undisturbed for several hours. I take a break to drive my son to school if my husband is out of town. My son shakes his head because I'm so out if the whole time. Then I get back and soak in a big tub, listening to Josh Grobin or Leona Lewis or my Taken by Storm playlist while new ideas filter through my brain. After that I grab the handwritten rough drafts and plunk in my computer chair rewriting the raw stuff while I type it up. Then I'll have to stop and research something or go back and change something I wrote the day before. I get an idea for a chapter way ahead of where I am and scribble that down. I forget to eat. I forget to pick my son up at school. I don't look at email or FaceBook. I work until midnight, fall in bed drained, exhausted, and deliriously happy.

Do you have any upcoming books apart from Sing Me to Sleep? Are you working on something else?
Like I said earlier, I have two more books planned for Michael and Leesie, Unbroken Connection and Cayman Summer.

I'm also revising an historical coming of age romance about a 19th century Scottish lad who mines coal--My Only Love--and a romantic time slip adventure featuring a post-nuclear winter time traveling assassin and a Bronte-esque Victorian heroine. This week it's titled My Time Assassin. I hope to bring these to readers soon.

AHHH! I'm so excited to read Unbroken Connection and Cayman Summer! I want more Leesie and Michael! And good luck for Angela's historical coming of age romance! It sounds cool!

Peace, Love, and Authors,
my signature


Unknown December 9, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

Hi :)
Thank you for the excellent interview with Angela Morrison and thank you to Angela for sharing here today. It was wonderful to learn about her and her writing process.
Happy Holidays,

Gaby G December 10, 2009 at 2:31 AM  

We are so much alike!!! I am a veterinarian, but I love to read & write!
Anyway, she seems a nice girl (she wanted to be a veterinarian, what else could you ask)!!

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