S. L. Morgan, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I have always been a â€˜story tellerâ€™ since I first learned how to talk. I finally decided to put pen to paper in November of 2011. I havenâ€™t looked back since. I love everything about writing and creating fantasy novels. Itâ€™s the best form of therapy I could ever ask for.
What makes you passionate about writing?
I believe itâ€™s my love for my books and characters. I feel as though they are my fictional family and I enjoy every minute of being with them. Itâ€™s also fun to create any adventure I want and bring the characters on them.
What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
The first book was definitely a learning lesson for me. After a lot of consideration, I opted to self-publish my book series. Knowing that I was bringing a book out to the entire world to love or hate, I knew I had to take this process very seriously. This resulted in the first book being edited by professional editors, beta test read for errors and edited again. Revisions, more editing, editing and editing. Unfortunately, even editors are human and they miss errors. This has resulted in my first book having poor reviews in regard to the editing. (This is why I stress that editing is crucial to a book being published.) I was absolutely SHOCKED when these reviews came in. Instead of being upset, I took action. The first book, â€œThe Legacy of the Keyâ€ went back off to a copyeditor to find these errors that were upsetting readers. Once this was complete, I republished the book and everything seems to flow smoothly.
In learning this, I have a new strategy with all of my books. They will always see a final, professional copyedited book now.
After all the edits are complete, I send the book(s) to a professional ebook formatter and she ensures that the books are properly and professionally formatted just as any major publishing house would. I must say, if you are an indie author, you must strive to have your books look and feel as though they are traditionally published. This includes a professional cover as well. I have a superb designer and he is excellent at creating unique covers that no other books out on the market have.
Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Absolutely! Editing is the most trying part in writing for me. The editors come back with, â€œthis is junk, thatâ€™s awful, what are you trying to say? Delete this, remove thatâ€¦etc. I must now dive back into my story and take their advice on what they feel is or isnâ€™t working. I have to rewrite and revise and send it back to the editors. Itâ€™s exhausting and there are times where I just want to slam the laptop shut and never open it again. Funny thing? The characters appear to haunt me and will never let me give up on their story. I always manage to press on and the books are so much better for it.
What books have most influenced your life?
The most important book that has influenced my life is the Bible. I would not know Christ as my Savior if I had never grew up studying Godâ€™s word. Not only this but I wouldnâ€™t be the person I am today without the lessons I have learned through the bible. To have faith, love and kindness toward everyone I know. With other books I have read by authors, I honestly loved the book, â€œThe Secret Garden.â€ It was one of the first books I read that drew me so deep into the book that I felt that I was there with the main character. Also, â€œThe Chronicles of Narniaâ€ I love the feeling of being transported into another fascinating world, place and time. It is obvious that my book series was inspired by C.S. Lewis and his creative imagination. He taught me that if children can be transported into another world through a wardrobe closet, that in writing fantasy, anything is possible.
Please tell us about your books
Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
I start out with an idea then I listen to my iPod. I find music that relates to the idea I may have for a scene in my book or even for an entire plot for a book. Then I feel as though I am watching the scene play out in a movie. Once this happens, Iâ€™m on the laptop writing nonstop. Iâ€™m not one to outline as the characters usually takeover once I start writing and they take the story in another direction. I always like to say, â€œItâ€™s the characters story, I just have to write it.â€
Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
I will have to say that my sister, Amanda has. She keeps me inspired and helps me keep the story alive as we talk about conflicts and situations the characters go through. She also has an excellent eye for my writing. She sees things that I would never see and helps me enhance and fix them.
Whatâ€™s your secret to making the characterâ€™s in your books come to life?
Believing that they are alive! They are real people to me and I am just telling their story. The moment I start feeling like â€˜this is all just fiction, these characters donâ€™t exist, is the moment that my writerâ€™s block kicks in and I couldnâ€™t write a sentence if I tried.
Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
I do play the piano and Iâ€™m blessed with a unique talent of being able to hear or listen to a song and play that music without reading notes. Even though I went through years of Piano lessons, I never learned how to read music. I just hear the song in my head and my hands strangely find the keys.
I also love being behind a ski boat, whether itâ€™s waterskiing, wakeboarding or even knee boarding. This has been my greatest hobby since I was nine years old.
How do you come up with your characterâ€™s names?
I love my characters to have unique names and oneâ€™s that arenâ€™t common or never even heard of, such as â€œAllestaineâ€ who is the Empress in my book series. Characters that are not mentioned much, I will use simple names for them as they arenâ€™t that prominent in the books.
What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
The best compliment I have received from readers was when they had told me that they hate reading and never read. For some reason, they say, they picked up my book (The Legacy of the Key) and found it gave them a love for reading and a craving to continue reading. To realize that a book I wrote brought the love of reading to someone has me beyond humbled in every way.
Where can readers go to find your books?Â
The First book in the Ancient Guardians series is FREE on all ereading sites:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ancient-guardians-s-l-morgan/1114216839?ean=9780615736747
Tags: action, adult, adventure, ancient guardians, C.S. Lewis, children book, Christ, Christian author, coming of age, Fantasy, fiction, friendship, High fantasy, knee boarding, legacy of the key, middle grade, musician, pre-teens, Savior, teens, the awakening, the Bible, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, the uninvited, wakeboarding, waterskiing, ya, Ya fantasy, young Adult, young adult book, young adults