Sunday, March 06, 2005

Interview at Debbie's Den!

Morgan, I’d like to welcome you to Debbie’s Den today! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us!

MH – Thank you so much! I’m honored to be invited here!

Who is Morgan Hawke? What can you tell us about her?

MH – Um… Morgan Hawke is that odd girl with Crayola-red hair that lives alone with her cat in the downstairs corner apartment. Pungent smoke drifts out of her winds from all the clove cigarettes she smokes, the soundtrack music never stops and the computer is on all day and all night. The monitor dims in the living room very early in the morning when she finally passes out.

Rumor has it, she writes spooky action-adventure stories, with Sex. Oh wait, they call that, Erotic Romance. And that’s ALL she does – write. She’s seen once or twice every 3 to four weeks when she goes grocery shopping.

Congratulations on House of Shadows being a Winner in the RIO (Reviewers International Organization) Award of Excellence for Debut Romance Novel. Tell us how you felt when you heard the news!

MH – My first reaction was: “Why is the title of my book there…?” I had to go visit the website before I believed it. Then I jumped up and down for about twenty minutes screaming my fool head off.

What made you decide to write for a living?

MH – The fact that I had lost my job. Although I had a small nest-egg put aside for a vacation trip, the following months’ rent was a big worry. I also had the completed manuscript for “Victorious Star” in my hands. A paperback erotica publishing house was already looking at VS, but anyone who knows anything about shopping a book in NY will tell you, even with the book already in their hands, you still have sometimes, up to a YEAR to wait on an answer. I really didn’t have much of a choice. I needed cash fast, so I sold the electronic rights to Loose Id.

I do not regret sending that story to Loose Id rather than to NY. My bills have been covered ever since. I won’t say cash wasn’t tight – it was, and occasionally, still is. In order to KEEP paying the bills I have to write constantly, putting something new out roughly once, every other month.

If you could change one thing about your publishing career, what would it be? Why?

MH - I would change how long it took me to Start writing. I should have started earlier – a LOT earlier. Writing is TIME CONSUMING, especially when you first start out. I have so many books in my head, I hope I live long enough to get them all written.

What is your favorite part of writing a book?

MH – The first glow of inspiration and the plotting process that follows, when the story could go in a million directions at once. I view the whole story from a hundred different angles and decide which path works the best for that protagonist. This sometimes yields more than one story!

What is your least favorite part?

MH - Finishing it. I get so deeply involved in a book, I don’t want to stop writing about those characters and the world they live in. I hate putting the world I’m in, away.

How did you feel when you signed that very first contract and realized that someone was going to publish your book?

MH - I was first published at 17. When they told me my story was going to show up in a magazine, I refused to believe that it was going to happen – until I actually held it in my hands, and stared at the printed page. I cried for over an hour.

At 17, life was not a happy place for me. I was a poor student, a severe introvert and constantly in trouble for my acerbic personality. That one short story getting published was the ONLY achievement I had ever accomplished. And that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. It was the only thing I could do well.

Can you give us any hints about your current works in progress?

MH - Goodness – I have MANY projects in progress, but the one I am focusing on is a Hentai tale – “Hungry Spirits”. It’s still in the planning stages so I don’t even have an excerpt up on my website, but I will SOON.

You have one of the most fascinating imaginations of anyone I’ve read. Where do you get the ideas for your books?

MH - The first thing any writer hears is: “Write what you know.” At 17, I didn’t KNOW anything, so I devoted the rest of my life to learning the Craft of writing, and stuffing my life with as many experiences as I could – so I would have something to put on the page. And reading. Reading, and reading, and reading, so I would know why that story was published and how they did it.

I have so much stuff in my head that it’s just a matter of mixing a hint of an idea, tossing it into my imagination then shaking hard to see what sticks to it.

Once you get the idea, what happens next? Can you give us an abbreviated step-by-step process of what you do when considering an idea for a book?
  1. I start by outlining each of the main characters; (Antagonist, Protagonist Ally) and find a common ISSUE they all share. 
  2. Then I outline the Events that need to happen in that story to showcase each of their strengths, weaknesses and Issues. 
  3. It’s then a simple case of “tossing yet another alligator into the boat” until all the characters have been explored.
  4. The rest of the story is spent Solving those issue. 
I follow the writing rule for Mysteries: “If a gun appears in chapter one – it better go off by chapter Three.” I never put in anything I don’t actively use SOMEWHERE in the story, and then I try to make sure it’s never the Obvious use. I try to avoid predictability in everything I write.

When do you determine if the idea will work in a book or not?

MH - Once I have the whole story, plot – premise – character, outlined, I pretty can much tell. Either it all comes together – or it doesn’t.

What’s next, on your publishing schedule?

MH – Next to be released is FALLEN STAR from Loose Id Books ( Fair Warning to those who have read “Victorious Star”: this tale from the Imperial Stars is darker and more emotional, but it still has a Happy Ending!

FALLEN STAR is due out somewhere around the 21st of May.

Do you have a mentor or someone who guided you in becoming an author?

MH – Actually I did. A friend of mine was a ghostwriter for some of the biggest names in Romance for over 10 years. She gave me my first lessons on story outlining – which revolutionized the way I wrote, and increased my writing speed astronomically.

But most importantly, she was the one who taught me the real secrets on how the print publishing industry works – the contracts, the agents, the pressure that a professional writer must live with to keep producing, and keep producing, and keep producing.

Unfortunately, she also taught me by example, what NY can do to shatter a writer’s confidence – and career.

Shy by nature, she wrote so many stories for others – under names that she can never admit to, and watched so many brilliant authors fall to desperation-driven greed, petty jealousy and cut-throat contracts, that she now lives in utter terror of the industry.

She is not whole in mind and spirit. She writes constantly – then suffers an attack of doubt and tears apart her stories until they are unrecognizable, then and tosses the once brilliant idea in favor of another, only to tear this one apart too, and then another and another. Nothing is ever good enough.

As brilliant and wise as she is, I fear that she may never complete a story of her own, because her own fear will not let her.

What do you do for relaxation?

MH - Read and watch movies just like anyone else! LOL!

I’d like to thank you again for chatting with us today!! It’s been fun!

MH – Thank you! It was my pleasure!

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