Q&A with Drucilla Morgan

q & a

Please welcome the beautiful Drucilla Morgan to the blog this week!

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What were you like at school?

I was a bit of a loner. I enjoyed most of the school work, except maths. I particularly loved art, drama, ancient history and, of course, creative writing. I frequently lost myself in books, where I felt more at home than in the real world.

Were you good at English?

English was my favourite subject, particularly the creative writing aspect. I was fortunate to have a home where my love of writing could flourish, along with a wonderful teacher in high school who inspired me to push beyond my limits.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

In that same spirit of pushing the limits, I want to draw more out of myself, take my prose to a new level. I will be working on the Nyx trilogy, concentrating on the second novel in the series, Rise of Nyx. I also have a secret project in the works, a novel that delves into the darker side of human nature and its juxtaposition with the side of us that longs do good.

Which writers inspire you?

I constantly find inspiration in reading the works of writers whose prose I find exquisite; whose expression captures the essence of our fragile human existence. I’m inspired, maybe driven, by a desire to confront my own inner struggles, to release the ghosts that whisper down the dark halls of my memories. I think this self exorcism in writing is more prevalent with authors than we may imagine.

I’ve been hugely influenced by writers like Daphne du Maurier, Beryl Bainbridge, Poppy Z Brite, Kim Newman and Hunter S Thompson. I loved Stephen King’s books from an early age and think he is a master story teller. I think I can safely blame Mr King for my fascination with the horror genre. I rather enjoy George RR Martin too. His gleeful extermination of primary characters is refreshing, even though it seems to have become a form of branding for him. His masterful world building and intricate attention to detail is an inspiration in itself. His tenacity and determination to walk his own path is downright heroic.

Recently, I’ve read some wonderful work by the likes of Scott Blackwood, Guillermo Arriaga, Nathan Filer and Dennis Lehane – wonderful prose, each different yet incredibly powerful, inspiring me to dig deeper as a writer. To challenge myself.

So, what have you written?

I have written several short stories for anthologies and magazines, including The Last Unicorn (A Forest of Dreams anthology, Indie Authors Press), The Walk (Altered States anthology, Indie Authors Press), Raising Rudi (In Shambles anthology, Harren Press), Bella Vista (Tied in Pink anthology) and The Flower Seller (Like a Girl anthology, both through Far Horizons Publishing) and Blood Bond (Corpus Deluxe, Tales of the Undead, Indie Authors Press). My vampire novel, Blood of Nyx, co-authored with Roy C Booth, has just been released and is available on Amazon.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Margrethe Charlesworth-Winchester is born into old English wealth. She lives within the confines of the Cambridgeshire countryside and the high walls of the family estate. Her life begins with the strange disappearance of her father on his wedding night, leaving only the child in his new bride’s belly as testament to the brief union. Her mother remarries, a convenient arrangement with a politician who spends as little time with his new family as possible. A son is born as a result of one of his infrequent visits. Margrethe’s half brother, Beau, becomes another barrier against the outside world, growing to guard his sister with ferocious determination.

Margrethe is a product of her environment, emanating an innocence that can only come from one protected from the darker aspects of the world. Her delicate looks and demeanour belie a steely will and desire to be free of the constraints and expectations placed upon her. Her father’s mysterious disappearance leaves her with a sense of abandonment and many unasked questions. Her days are spent pleasantly enough – roaming the estate’s gardens, attending genteel gatherings and dreaming of a world she has yet to discover – but her smiles cover her sadness, her longing for more. When handsome and intriguing Lucius Ruthven appears at her doorstep, her dreams provide fuel for the fire he lights in her imagination and her heart. Abandoning the stifling confines of her existence, Margrethe embarks on a journey that will take her from the light-headed heights of desire to the darkest depths of Hades. As she fights for her own survival and that of her loved ones, Margrethe finds within herself strength and determination that will surprise those who think they know her.

Where do your ideas come from?

I think most writers are sponges, absorbing the world around them, elevating the beautiful and interrogating the ugly as they struggle to express the complexity of the human condition. My ideas come from every day life, from the small moments I capture in my memory – people, their struggles, their hopes and fears. Every day details that we often miss. The flash of anger in an eye. The uncomfortable shifting of feet when polite conversation is interrupted by brutal honesty. These are things we all can relate to, along with the shared journey of life, love and death.

Another fertile source for ideas is the internet. I love the internet. It’s a treasure trove of information and imagination that can’t fail to inspire the creative urge. For example, I happened across an article on the daily, devoted attendance of fans at Rudolf Valentino’s grave. The idea of such obsessive devotion to celebrity fascinated me, inspiring the short story Raising Rudi. In researching the piece, I discovered so much about Rudolph Valentino that I never knew. I enjoyed writing that story and it still remains a favourite.

Similarly, I recently submitted a short story to a memorial anthology inspired by David Bowie. From my early teens, Bowie was part of my life, my culture and my creativity. He touched my generation and that of my children. He was a genius and to even consider writing something that honored his memory was at once challenging and frightening. In researching my departed hero, I discovered new layers, new dimensions to the enigma that was Bowie. I tried to integrate this complexity into the piece, marrying it with the vicarious experience of his fans. I was thrilled when it was accepted. It was a powerful piece to write emotionally and one where I had to draw both on facts and my own experience and emotional response.

What is the hardest thing about writing?Blood of Nyx ebook.cover display

For me, it’s discipline. I’m a bit of a free spirit when it comes to putting word to screen. I’m currently training myself in this area, but I think I have a long way to go. I participated successfully in NanoWriMo in 2014, but it was tough! I wanted to join in this year but deadlines were looming. Deadlines do help keep me in check though.

Aside from that, I would say the greatest challenge for any writer is to draw the reader into their world, to make their characters relatable on a deep, personal level. I believe this will be an ongoing quest with no end.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it? Blood of Nyx is the first book in a trilogy (Blood of Nyx, Rise of Nyx and Rule of Nyx) The series follows the Clan of Nyx as they fight for dominance over the human realm and each other.

Who designed your book cover/s?

I design book covers for other authors and publishers, as well as premade covers for indie authors. My publisher asked me to design my cover, which was quite a challenge, being so close to the book and its characters. In the end, I decided to go for something in a stark, graphic style rather than a more generic vampire/horror cover, in part because I couldn’t choose a favourite character to portray. Also, the story itself covers a lot of ground, so I went for a symbolic design rather than anything too detailed.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

All feedback is valuable to a writer and reviews are like gold, even when they are negative. And of course, everyone’s taste is different, so I think one must expect both positive and negative reviews. One of my favourite books, See How Small (Scott Blackwood) received some terrible one star reviews, yet it entranced me from the first sentence. I expect that my work, like any author’s work, won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s okay. If it brings enjoyment to one reader, I’m happy.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I still feel as though I’m on a journey with my writing, always growing and changing, so I’m not sure I’m one to offer advice. However, there are some helpful things I’ve learned along the way –

* Write a lot, read a lot and observe everything around you. When you read, dissect the book like a frog in biology class. What works, what doesn’t? Is there a particular book you love? What makes it work for you? How did the author use his words to draw you in?

* Continuously seek to upgrade your writing skills. Join writing groups, participate in work shops and courses, learn and grow.

* One common mistake I see with new authors is their failure to craft their story through their character(s). Rather, they ‘narrate’, which creates an emotional distance between their characters and the reader. You will hear the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’. I think this is one of the most important aspects of writing to grasp, so take the time to learn the difference between ‘showing’ and ‘telling’. Learn when to show and when to tell. This is probably the most valuable writing advice I can give regarding the mechanics of writing.

* When you think you’re done, proofread and edit, then edit again. Gather some readers to give you feedback on your manuscript (beta readers). Take their feedback into account then edit again. After this editing process, I would suggest sending your manuscript to a well recommended, professional editor. If you’re not artistically inclined, a professional book cover artist is a must! Many a book is ruined by an amateur cover.

* It’s important to be confident but not over confident. Ego doesn’t get anyone far in the writing industry. In fact, it’s helpful to develop a thick skin, you’re probably going to need it – critiques can be harsh but they are invaluable if you want to bring your best game.

* Most importantly, write from your heart and gut. If you don’t, it will show.

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Thanks so much Dru for hanging out with us on the blog this week! Please follow and check out some of her work!

Facebook Author’s pagehttp://www.facebook.com/Druscilla-MorganAuthor-720568464695969/

Facebook page for Blood of Nyxhttp://www.facebook.com/BloodofNyx/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DruscillaMorgan

Lnkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/druscilla-morgan-67a08273

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Druscilla-Morgan/e/B00KDPO918/

Book Links: Blood of Nyx

US Amazon –

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C6BV17G/ Paperback http://www.amazon.com/dp/1910910066/

UK Amazon –

Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Nyx-Druscilla-Morgan-ebook/dp/B01C6BV17G/ Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Nyx-Druscilla-Morgan/dp/1910910066/

Aus Amazon –

Kindle http://www.amazon.com.au/Blood-Nyx-Druscilla-Morgan-ebook/dp/B01C6BV17G/

 

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