It is natural for people to have questions. So, here are some answers to common questions already asked. If you have a question that has not been answered here, you are free to ask it. However, do keep in mind that Morgan may not be able--or willing--to answer every question.

 

Q: How old are you?

A: Old enough to know better, but still young enough to try it anyway. In other words, age is just a number, not a definition of a person. When I turned 39, I decided I didn't need any more birthdays. So, no matter how old the people around me choose to get, I intend to stay 39.

Q: How tall are you?

A: Barely 5'.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: This question has been asked in many forms and I have struggled with a right way to answer it and cover the number of idiosyncrasies of me. To date, this is the best I can offer:

If I were a car in an auction, this would be my listing: Classic Mustang GT500 fastback with original 428 Police Interceptor, original paint, low mileage, driven at high speed, well maintained, conditioned to nitrous, reactive suspension, accustomed to four wheel drift, has a tendency toward deep braking, occasionally over or under steers, has been known to leave the garage without permission and run off the road without warning, found in places it doesn't belong, will kick you back if you kick the tires, is a cross between Eleanor (video or Eleanor wiki link) and Christine (video with violence or Christine (wiki link). Experienced drivers ONLY! In short, I can be difficult when taken for granted, yet I will always come through in the clinches (Eleanor). However, make me angry (which takes a lot) and I can become your worst nightmare (Christine).

Q: When do you most often write?

A: Whenever I am struck by something. There is rarely a specific time. Every piece of writing has its own set of drivers and I can't predict it. When I was writing Blood and Magnolias, I was writing close to 24 hours a day for weeks on end. I'd just fall asleep for awhile then go back to it. I spent many days in my pajamas and had to be reminded that there was a world around me that needed me in it once and awhile. Those close to me said I was 'possessed' by it. The Colony series, which is now 4 books strong, had me up at 2:00 a.m. and drove me until sunrise, then it would fall away with the light and come back the next night.

Q: When do you think you do your best writing?

A: As I said in the previous answer, I never know when inspiration will strike. There have been times when I am absolutely driven by the story for days at a time non-stop. I may have three solid months of doing nothing but writing from pre dawn to post sunset, sometimes twenty-four hours a day. Then I may have three months of little to no writing. The well runs dry and I have to wait for it to fill up. As for when I think I do my best writing, I think the greatest art comes from extremesÖwhen we are elated, high on life, and when we are despairing, down on life. When  the joy or the pain is forced to the surface and onto the page or the canvas  it is powerful stuff. This is an interesting read. I'm not sure if I believe it in total, but it does have some ring of truth--not that I think I am a genius, but creativity does drive me very hard. When I have creative, outlet things run much more smoothly than when I am stifled. "It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar disorder) (is) are linked." Cited source: Jamison, Kay Redfield (1993): Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, New York, The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-916030-8 Also read, Fugue State; Agatha Christie may have experience a bout of fugue.

Q: What is your inspiration?

A: I wish I knew; I would bottle it and sell it. I can be inspired by people, places, sounds, events, something I see, hear, smell, taste, or feel. However, music is my muse when I am writing. When I find a piece that evokes the right emotion, I may play it over and over until I have the scene finalized. (See the My Music page for more.)

Q: Is there any truth in the stories.

A: Legally, I must invoke the 'all persons fictitious disclaimer'. However, speaking from a normal person perspective, elements of my characters do garner some of their qualities from humans, otherwise they would not be in the least believable. Yet, the stories themselves are simply the wild meanderings of my uncontrollable creativity.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Since...forever it seems. I think my writing grew into my calling when I was in my teens. I had always been a big reader, but couldn't always get my hands on the books I wanted to read--no money, no permission, no access. I have never been good at accepting limitations, so I started writing my own stories.

Q: What kind of stories did you write as a teenager?

A: Interesting question. Teens are in a very unsettled space and things they write are often misinterpreted by adults. It is a period of discovery and hormonal flux and I am sure my writing reflected that--and my early childhood experiences played into it.  I was a big mystery and suspense fan from an early age, so much of my writing was in that vein. I read all of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple were familiar characters. But I also wrote poetry and scary stories and, of course, what teenage girl isn't interested in romance.

Q: I was told you used to be afraid of public speaking. How did you get over that?

A: Iím still a natural introvert, but Iíve learned to be an extrovert. When you set your sites on a thing you have to be willing to kick fear to the curb in order to move toward your goal. I realized that the fear I had of public speaking was unfounded and the more I did it, the more the fear fell away. I still get butterflies sometimes, though.

Q: As a writer, how do you deal with rejections, assuming you have experienced them.

A: Oh, yes, I have experienced them in my writing life and in my personal life, just like everyone else. As for the writing rejections specifically,  I read them, try to glean any pearls of wisdom or inspiration from them, and then I put them in a special file called Oh Well.  Writing is very subjective, just as any art form. One manís meat is another manís poison and sometimes it is just about timing. The reviewer had a fight with their partner, burned the toast, got stuck in traffic. We are all human and what happens in one venue of our life can bleed into and onto that of another's. I once received a rejection letter that was more of a verbal assault. It took the critic seven pages to spew forth his outrage about what I had written. I decided that he must have had a lot of time on his hands or he was in a 'bad place' emotionally and needed to vent--so he vented on me. You just have to get over it and move on.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: Keep writing. If writing is what you want to do with your life, do it every day. Even if no one but you and your three best friends ever read a word of it, you are doing something that makes you happy. Blog it, chat it, discuss it, question it, re-write it, start over. In other words, don't let it get 'dusty.'  It is important to stay positive and active when you are attempting to reach any goal and writing is no exception. Keep pushing and don't give up. Not to be ghoulish, but many authors go unknown or unpublished in their lifetime. Yet, their work may later become famous. 50 Famous Books That Were Posthumously Published

Q: Do you need a particular personality trait to be a writer?

A: In short, no. Anyone who has the passion and desire can write. As for becoming famous or popular, that is a whole other thing. However, if you have a writer's heart, it is more about the writing than the fame or popularity. When I am writing, that is all there is. I am rarely thinking about getting a story published when I am entwined with the words.

Q: Any tips on creating dialog?

A: Keep it real. If your character is a brick layer with a high school education, who failed English, and hasn't made any effort to take night classes, he is unlikely to speak in grammatically correct sentences--or sentences at all. On the other hand, if your character is an English professor who has little tolerance for grammar slippage, his speech will be very proper--at least in public. But don't fall into the trap of assumptions. Talk to people, listen to their patterns. Write some dialogue then read it out loud. Does it 'feel' right? Does it flow? Give your character an unexpected element to their voice. The brick layer has taken night classes and he is now a fan of Shakespeare--quotes it often. The uptight professor by day is a rave junky by night and his communication is a bit 'sketchy' by the end of the evening.

I will be the first to admit that I make mistakes and sometimes they are whoppers. We all make mistakes. How we address the mistake is part of how we define ourselves. I was surprised to know that even books from big publishing houses with high priced editors on staff still produce finished products that contain errors. Whew! I can let myself off the hook for that misspelled word I missed on page...and any missing commas. Commas and I have a love hate relationship. I either put in too many or too few. I always know what I mean, so sometimes I can't see what it says.

This winter spirit sleeps beneath a tree of her creation, stretching her dreams of snow into the branches. One of my paintings that I gave away to the first individual to read Blood and Magnolias.


 

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