Recently I had the privilege of interviewing actor and indie author David Alan Morrison
How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
I like to stay away from characters who do jobs that are easily misrepresented; such as a police officer or submarine operator. I like to take real life situations and see them from another perspective. That way, we base situations in real life, yet…not.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I have always wanted to write across genres. So when I started to get ideas about a storyline, I didn’t worry about the idea being “out of my genre” or something I “don’t do”. I think writers need to honor the characters that come to us. They are knocking on our minds for a reason. Don’t worry about genres. Just write interesting situations.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
I love stories. Stories of any kind: oral tradition, folk tales…anything. So as I grew up, I would read to fulfill my love of stories. The more I read, the more I learned that books are a great escape. As a shy, dumpy kid, I always welcomed the escape.
How long have you been writing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I can remember my first rejection: it was the 5th grade. Our English class wrote stories about animals. I wanted mine to win, because the winning authors got to read their story to the entire school. My story of the outcast baby Beaver lost to a little girl who helped her mom in the store. I still feel robbed. PTSD is a sad affliction.
What kind(s) of writing do you do?
Mostly journaling. If we compared the number of words I published versus those written in coffee houses that will never see the light of day – the dark-dwelling words win.
What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
What cultural value DOESN’T exist? Literacy is crucial to the evolution of a society. That can only happen through reading, writing and critical thinking. And I think story telling is even more than that. I think humans innately have a need to tell who we are, what we think, where we came from. We’re hard wired for that.
How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
I’m a tree hugging hippy, so RESCUING AWEN was a natural progression of that. As a pagan, GUILD OF IMMORTAL WOMEN rings true as well. I don’t write to reveal a spiritual path (or any other) but I do get involved in tales which closely align with my world view.
What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I didn’t have a goal. I may have had more traction in marketing if I had, maybe! I needed to put these stories on paper because the characters kept showing up in my mind. I couldn’t get rid of them. Writing became an exorcism. Exorcist without the demonic pea soup.
Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Not really, no. My mom is obvious, because TRAVELS WITH PENNY is all about her. She doesn’t count, though…she’s my mom. The other books were written as I cloistered myself away form the universe. I came out to raid the refrigerator but that’s about it. I found what I needed to know online, from a person I already knew, or sent friends to do research for me. I didn’t want to break the spell of the writing.
What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
Friends. I have great friends. Friends who I say, “Tell me about sword fighting” and they go take a class. They call it adventurous. I call it frugal. Let them spend money on fencing class.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
Sense of humor. I don’t think I could write dramatically…I just don’t think that way. I tend to see everything in the world through a lens of, “This is really screwed up!” I’m not sure if I see the world on an angle because I’m gay, or because I have never related to other people in the same way as my peers.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
With TRAVELS WITH PENNY, it was losing my dad. The book started out of a pit of grief – I needed a way to deal with the pain and anger of loosing him and looking at my journals helped that. With RESCUING AWEN, it was the editing. AWEN was the first time I hired a professional editor to review the book and provide ideas for restructuring. It was painful.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Having the characters get out of my head! It was awfully quiet after I finished the books.
What inspires you?
Young writers. I love their passion, their questions, their focus and energy. Now that I mention it, I hate them. I used to have the energy they did.
How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
I have no idea! There are entire weeks I wonder how I was able to make it to 53. If anyone finds out, let me know. I blame tenacity.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Stephen King: his conversational language; Mark Twain: his sense of humor and wit; the classics: MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (which I hated), CATCHER IN THE RYE (what’s that about, anyway!?) and just about everything Ray Bradbury wrote. He was a genius.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Most destructive: hearing that there is a “good” writing and a “bad” writing. That’s bullshit. There’s only writing. Writing that some people will like and others will hate. Just make the characters interesting and situations intriguing.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Part-time. All the authors I know either have a “day job” or a partner who supports them. Rarely do people get rich on a book. Do it because you love it.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
All of them impact my writing. Writers should use everything: Every neighbor, every friend, every family member. I have a notebook in which I jot down funny lines people say. I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’m 53…I’ve probably had jobs I forgot I had.
How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
This is fodder for an entire mini-series. Ebooks vs. print books is entirely personal. I see the benefits of each and so should readers. This isn’t a battle for “which is best”, it’s an issue of practicality – ebooks allow many books in your backpack; the print books offer that tangible, comfortable feeling in your hands.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Small / self-published authors. The trend of running to the New York Times best seller list is fading. The younger generation has become used to searching the net for what interests them and finding it. They care less about specific authors and more about individual stories.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
My voice. I feel I have a unique mixture of character, action and perspective which allows the reader to see themselves in the story
How do you find or make time to write?
Lately I haven’t. When I was writing more, I made an appointment with myself. I treated it like a dentist visit, or a trip to the doctor. I didn’t cancel. Period.
What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
I go to book fairs, craft shows…anyplace that will let me set up a table and pimp my books. I do a lot of online/internet advertising as well. Mostly one shot deals: puchases of TWEETS and the like. I’ve found the best way to sell books is a personal approach. Do articles like this! It helps people know who I am as a person, which makes them want to know my work.
What do you like to read in your free time?
Short stories. I’ve gotten into short stories and creative non-fiction lately.
What do your plans for future projects include?
A gay love story between a 50 year old washed up English teacher and a line dancing vampire. I have murder, intrigue, Dykes on Bikes and a super model who is a little person. Hysterics reign.
And my favorite for dealing with popular authors who’ve already done a lot of interviews:
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Where can I buy your books? Through my website at: davidalanmorrison.com or Amazon. Or, one can buy them at a personal appearance and get a signed copy! Coming up, I’ll be at Geek Girl Con in Seattle on October 8 & 9, Auburn Days Celebration in Auburn, Washington on August 13, Authors and Autographs in Everett, Washington on October 1 & 2.
What questions do you have for Dave? Leave a comment below.