To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview. So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? My favorite part of writing is when I’m writing along on a work in progress, my muse whacks me upside the head and says, “No, that’s not what’s going to happen."
What is your least favorite part? My least favorite part of writing is re-writing. Formatting, catching typos, even though I know the editor will catch them; I want to submit as clean a copy as possible. I have several revisions completed before I’m satisfied with the entire manuscript.
Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome. My energy level. I have SLE (lupus) and need to schedule my writing time carefully. I’m best in the mornings, unlike many writers who write into the wee hours of the night/day. Not to mention, I’m not terribly techno-competent.
Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve? I’m trying to become more techno-competent. Oh, sure, I can manage a MS Word document, but in the marketing area, online, I tend to be very slow catching on to all the bells and whistles that sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. provide. Yet I persist.
What part of your writing makes you particularly proud? The fact that my granddaughter, age 9, picked up a copy of one of my books, flipped it over to the back cover and when she saw my photo, gasped, “Grandma! Are you famous?” I told her, “Not yet, honey. Not yet.”
What does your favorite main character have in common with you? Strength.
Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know? I do more research than I actually use, on the theory that the research will linger in the back of my mind and flow out onto the screen subconsciously.
How do you use the Internet for your writing? I use the Internet for promotion and research. And for interacting with other writers through various Yahoo writers groups.
If you’ve won any awards for your writing, what impact do you think that has had? I haven’t entered any contests. I’m too busy writing.
What one marketing tool have you had good success with? I really, really love book signings. The best one I ever had was at a B&N Authors Night, with about six other writers on a panel discussion. We each spoke of our current works and then there was a question/answer session from the audience. And at my recent high school class reunion, (never mind how many years!) I sold over 20 books to my former classmates, with some promises to buy online for their ebook readers.
What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out? It’s BICHOK, or Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard, every morning, preferably before 10 AM. A break at lunchtime, then back to it until dinner. Some days, that’s not possible, but really, I’m always “writing” even if it’s only forming new plots in my head as I’m running errands.
Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid? I tend to scorn an outline. Have a general idea of what should happen in which chapter, but they’re all subject to change as my muse directs. I probably print out each revision too many times. But I need to read it like a reader would, so I can see if that particular rewrite works. I’d advise other writers against that, as it is very tedious and time-consuming. But I just have to do it….
Do you have any strange writing habits? See above. And, I cannot write at night. I’m brain dead after dinner (some people will say I don’t have to wait for after dinner for that to happen, lol) and I don’t even want to look at my laptop.
When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what? When I’m writing, I cannot read anything. And I feel guilty if I read instead of working on my current project. I prefer historical novels when I do managed to quell my guilty conscious.
What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing? I want to inform and/or entertain my readers.
ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers? Never give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Have confidence in your work.
What advice do you have for someone looking to get published? Just do it. A rejection is not a bullet through the heart. And what if you do get published? How will your life change? Will your friends treat you differently? That’s a fear many people have, so they don’t try to get published. They know who they are right now, and they don’t know who they will become if they’re published. I can tell them, “You’ll stay the same person as you have always been.”
Any thoughts on what this author writes? How many books published? Here's a little more information about the author...
How many published books are to your credit? Seven.
Do you have an agent? No.
Are you self-published? No. My publisher is Vanilla Heart Publishing, the best publisher in the whole world! Can you tell I’m happy with them?
How many different companies have you published with? Unfortunately, I was with another publisher and when I woke up and smelled the coffee, I went to Vanilla Heart.
How long have you been writing? Actually, I’ve been writing since kindergarten. Professionally, since 2001.
Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing? Since I retired from Corporate America in 2001, I write full time.
So, any thoughts? Here's the full scoop:
Born a Military Brat, Marilyn Celeste Morris attended schools overseas, in Seoul Korea and Linz, Austria and various schools stateside. She learned to write at an early age and now has six books in print and more on the way. She lives in Fort Worth TX.
Marilyn's titles include: The Women of Camp Sobingo - Historical fiction; Forces of Nature - General Fiction; My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale - A collection of newspaper columns; Paranormal mysteries Sabbath’s Gift and Sabbath’s House; Once a Brat, Always a Brat - Memoir of an Army Brat; Diagnosis: Lupus: The Intimate Journal of a Lupus Patient; The Unexplored Heart - Historical Romance.
These titles are available for purchase at http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/Writings.html and on Amazon.com.
What are you working on now? I’m working on several projects: A rewrite of my book about Lupus, title yet to be determined; A sequel to The Women of Camp Sobingo, to be titled, That Cavanaugh Woman; The third book in the Sabbath Trilogy: Sabbath’s Village; The sequel to The Unexplored Heart, featuring Esther Wooster who has demanded her own damn book! titled After Camelot; Fireflies in a Jar, about four young girls growing up in small town America in the 1950s; The Murders at 5400, where four women from a book club solve a series of murders at that condo address; Volume Two of My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale’; And a spoof on Vampire novels, as yet untitled, but will feature Adam Drake as a modern-day vampire who has drunken faeries dancing on his lawn, a forgetful dragon named Sherman, who is mistaken as a UFO when he flies about without his cloak of invisibility, and a Shape shifter.
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share? I’m so excited that I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do: Write novels.
For more information on Novelist Marilyn Celeste Morris, go to http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/
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