This Friday, we have a great interview with author Morgan L. Busse.
Morgan’s fantasy book is called Daughter of Light, and is the first in a series from Marcher Lord Press. As always, we really appreciate Morgan taking the time to take part in an interview for the blog and hope that all of you guys out there will find her thoughts both interesting and helpful.
So, with no further ado, here’s the interview!
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Hi Morgan, thanks for joining us.
Hi James. First, thank you for taking some time to interview me. I appreciate that.
What was your first experience of fiction writing? Was it always something you were interested in?
My first experience with fiction writing? I have to say it was when I was in elementary school. I was one of the few kids chosen to work with a children’s author who was visiting my school that day. The book I wrote (and illustrated) was about a super hero squirrel. Let me say I have come a long way since then J.
I never seriously thought about writing. I wrote some scripts and a little bit of poetry (that will never see the light of day). But it was just for fun. It wasn’t until I was a mother and needed a creative outlet that I started writing. I will admit if I knew how hard writing really was all those years ago, I might have just given up. Instead, I persevered, writing a little here and there until eight years later here I am with my first published book.
What are your favourite books/authors? Have they influenced your own writing?
My first favorite fantasy author is J.R.R. Tolkien. I grew up reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I’ve even read the Silmarillion a couple times. I also enjoy Terry Brooks, J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, C.S. Lewis, and Eion Colfer. Out of all my favorite authors, I would say J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks have probably influenced my writing.
What sort of a writer are you? Do you keep extensive notes and a timeline on the wall or do you prefer a different approach?
I am a writer who plots. My books begin with a character. I suddenly see this person in my mind and I start asking questions. Who is she (or he)? What is broken inside of her? How did she get to this place? And what is going to happen to her next? Slowly I start seeing the world my character lives in and take notes. Then I meet the other characters, then a plot starts to form.
I cannot write a book without knowing the beginning and how it’s going to end, along with all the climatic moments. I see my outline as a map through a forest. I need to know where I am going. However, I don’t mind not knowing all details until I reach that particular curve in the road. I can still be surprised as I write the first draft.
How do you go about coming up with names for your story? Are you a fan of online name generators?
I like pronounceable, somewhat familiar names. I usually search mythologies or old languages for names. I especially like to find names that have some sort of meaning that connects the name with the character. However, if I simply cannot find a name, I will use a fantasy name generator :).
Have any real-life experiences inspired your writing?
Haha, no, I have never experienced what my characters go through. That’s especially good when it comes to the assassin in my book. However, I do feel what they feel. I understand Rowen’s desire for a “normal” life because I have always wished for one too.
How did you go about getting your work published? Was it a difficult road?
I wrote for eight years before I was finally published. Most of that time was spent learning the craft of writing and writing when my children were napping or after they went to bed. Then it was spent searching for a publishing company that would accept Christian fantasy. I was constantly told there was no market for my kind of book.
Two years into searching for a publisher or agent who would take my manuscript, my husband lost his job. At that point, I knew I needed to stop writing and help my family by going back to work full time. That was hard! But it was the right thing to do. So I walked away and started working.
Two weeks later I was contacted and offered my first contract :). I finished my job while working on my edits until my husband found employment. Juggling family, writing, and a full time job is difficult. Kudos to those who do that on a daily basis. I am thankful that I only had to do that for a short period of time.
Could you tell us a little about your published writing?
My debut book, Daughter of Light, is the first book in a series about a young woman who, with a touch of her hand, can see inside the soul. Here is Rowen’s story, in her own words:
Have you ever seen inside the human heart?
I have seen the darkness that hides within, felt the feelings of hatred and lust, heard whispers that still haunt my mind. With one touch I see what no one else sees: the very soul of man.
I am a mirror. I reflect the darkness within. I rip away the lies and deceit wrapped around the heart until all that is left is darkness and light. I expose the truth. And am hated and feared for it.
Why would the Word give me such terrifying power? Why must I see the darkness in others?
I never wanted this. I tried to rip the mark from my hand. I tried to hide it. I even ran away. It worked for a time. But a power like this cannot stay hidden forever.
And so I have been banished from my village. I run from those who wish to kill me. And hide from others who hope to twist my power.
Only a few stand beside me. But even they cannot follow me down the long dark road that lies before me. Only one can. The One who gave me my power.
Someday I will pay the price for my gift. For men do not want light, they want darkness. But until that day comes, the Word will stand with me and by his power I will shine.
As the Shadonae rise in the west and war threatens the north, a young woman discovers she is not human . . .
Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banished from her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather glove and seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, a terrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the human heart . .
But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.
Can you share any details of what you’re working on next?
I am now working on the next book in this series, Son of Truth. Son of Truth is a continuation of Rowen’s journey, but will also explore the assassin Caleb Tala. Who is he really? And what role he will play in the upcoming conflict with the Shadonae? As of right now, I am planning for Son of Truth to release in 2013.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring fantasy authors out there?
First piece of advice: read. Read both in your genre and outside your genre. Reading will help you know what is out in the market, spark ideas, and learn the flow of story. Not to mention it’s an enjoyable pastime ;).
Secondly, learn the craft of writing. Back when I first began, I had no idea there was so much to learn. There are some great books that teach you how to write, from plots to character development to marketing. There are also online programs such as www.bestsellersociety.com (launching May 15th). Last, but not least, there are also some great writing conferences. Conferences offer a variety of courses and writing tracks.
Thirdly, find other writers. You can find other aspiring writers at conferences, through associations, forums, or critique groups. Good writing friends are a lifesaver in a business that can be cutthroat and depressing. We encourage each other and support each other. Priceless!
Morgan, thank you for your time today.
It was my pleasure 🙂
About Morgan L. Busse
Morgan L. Busse writes stories about hope. She believes that in the dark times of life, there is light and draws on her own life’s experiences. From the moment she first read The Hobbit, Morgan has loved the fantasy genre. Both J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks are the inspirations behind her writing. She is the author of Daughter of Light, the first in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find about more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com
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Thanks to all of you for reading. I hope you’ll check out Daughter of Light as it sounds like a great read. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
On a side note, I’ve been prodded by a few loyal readers to provide details on when the final part of my fantasy mapmaking tutorial, Here Be Dragons, is going to be posted. Well, I can confirm that it’ll be up this coming Tuesday and hopefully it won’t disappoint! Once this is posted, you’ll be able to find the entire tutorial on its new dedicated page on the navbar above.