Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Reviewers International Organization - Interview

Award of Excellence
Morgan Hawke
is the 1st Place Winner in
Debut Novel
House of Shadows

A very special Thank you to MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE
Listening to their album VAMPYRE made writing this particular novel a total scream! 
Reviewers International Organization http://www.rio-reviewers.com/


By DeborahAnne MacGillivrary

Morgan Hawke was recommended to me by Roberta Brown, writer/agent, who got the recommendation from Angela Knight author of Master of the Night and Jane’s Warlord. I had thought Angela Knight was one of the sharpest writers since I first read her Roarke’s Prisoner, a Sci-Fi/Futuristic tale for Red Sage’s Secrets. Since then, she had never failed to impress me. So for a writer to impress her, I had to take notice!

Morgan’s House of Shadow:  Enchantment in Crimson earned her a 4 1/2 Stars rating from Romantic Times, and justly so. It has been selling in a secondary market on Amazon.france for nearly $100 a copy!

She’s may be a new name to readers, but won’t stay that way for long. She is a prolific writer with a long backlist of e-books available such as Uber-Gothic, Victorious Star, The Pirate’s Pixie, Passion’s Vintage, Snow Moon, Night Waitress, Teachers Pet, Queen of the Dragons and more.

Her writings are not for Gran or Auntie Bess, but if you want a walk on the wild side, you cannot do better than this hot new writer.

So let’s find out what in on the mind of the talented writer who impresses Angela Knight…

Tell us about what motivates you to write your stories.  Where does your inspiration come from?  What pushed you to write erotica?

Out of sheer desperation for something to read, I started writing my own little stories of erotic adventure. I submitted my little shorts to a small erotic story site, and to my complete surprise, the readers not only liked them, they started hounding me for more!

18 short stories later, I went to Extasy Books with my first full novel near completion – HOUSE OF SHADOWS.

House of Shadows, the first book of the Enchantment in Crimson really blew me away.  You are a sassy writer, with a wicked sense of humor.  When can we expect the next installment of this series?

I’m going to take Michelangelo’s view when approached by the pope on when he would finish the Sistine Chapel: “When it’s finished”.

Victorious Star shows you really pushing the limits.  It was a fine line between erotica and rape in the early part of the tale, but you pulled it off.  How do you go to that edge and still keep the balance? 

The trick to NOT stepping over the line is to clue the reader in through body language and dialogue cues. They may be saying one thing but actions really do speak louder than words.

Context is the Key. If someone is saying something terribly mean, but pressing a tender kiss to your brow at the same time, it changes the entire meaning of what is being said.

In Victorious Star, the two males struck me as resembling Aragron and Legolas, or was that my imagination?

LOL! – I had two completely different actors in mind, but if that’s what made you tingle in all the right ways, by all means imagine them!

There are a lot of vampire writers out there at the moment.  How are your vampire tales different?  What makes them unique?

This is a Very complicated answer. It starts with the fact that I have studied magic for over 23 years and ends with something relatively simple – my vampires feed on the soul. Stoker said it in his novel: “The blood is the life.” I see blood as a vehicle for tapping into the body to get to the soul. The more creative a person is, the more “soul” they have – and the more tempting they are to a vampire.

You writing of witches, warlocks, vampires and pixies shows you adore the magickal side of writing.  What draws you to this?

I grew up in New England; New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The whole area is positively bursting with old ghost stories and tales of magic. I guess you could say it was inevitable that I would write about what I had known all my growing up years.

Which of your books of those books you have written is your favourite?  Which is the one do you like the least and why?

My least favorite book is Demoness. It was written to be textbook Erotica, designed specifically to excite the reader – and no more. It’s a complete success in the male-dominated sex-story genre of pure erotica, but a complete failure in the Erotic Romance market. The characters had no depth what so ever. It is utterly emotionless and plot-driven. People Do things, but they don’t Feel anything about what they are doing. The true pity is that Demoness Could Have had depth, but that was not what that particular market called for.

My newer stories are all character-driven. The characters affect each other’s decisions – feelings and emotions count.

I will say this though, Character-driven stories are MUCH harder to write. I get caught up in the character’s worries and problems to the point that it’s not unusual for me to finish chapters in tears. Victorious Star was so harrowing on my emotions that I actually had to take two whole weeks off from writing (and I write every single day – without fail,) just to recover from what I had wrung out of myself to get it onto the page.

As to a favorite story, I don’t have one just yet…

Which come first?  The plot or the characters?  Which drives the story for you?

Believe it or not PLOT comes first. Once I know what I want to happen, I design characters to work against that plot.

Every once in a while I come up with a very interesting character. When this happens, I immediately try to design a plot that will test them to the limits (mental, physical and emotional) of their being. If a character changes to the point that they no longer work with the established plot, I pull them from the story, and file them away for a story of their own.

For me – The STORY always comes first.

Do you plot it yourself or do the characters come alive and take “control”?  Do you write in pieces or straight through?

I design a loose plot then outline the characters, their drives, their motivations and their fears as thoroughly as possible, and then I outline my plot in detail. This does not mean I know exactly how the characters will accomplish that particular event, I only know that they must, to get to the next event.

I normally write straight through. I know what needs to happen so it’s a simple matter of going from A to B, but every now and again I get a whole scene that I know needs to go in the story, but I don’t know where. I write the scene and save it in its own document, then go back to where I left off and wait for that scene’s place to appear.

House of Shadows was done in bits and pieces, one unrelated scene appearing out of nowhere after another, but then House of Shadows was my first novel too. I had yet to learn the fine art of BLOCKING, making a thorough outline of major events. These days I don’t write without a detailed plot outline set up. If a scene pops up, it’s a simple matter of looking at the outline to see where that scene would work best and jotting a notation into the appropriate block.

Once in a while this great scene blooms into being – and doesn’t go. Those scenes usually end up becoming an entire story all by themselves. 

Was there a book or books that made you say, I have to write Romance or a writer who really influenced your chose in what you wanted to write.

Absolutely! I started writing erotica because I loved reading it. Unfortunately the only author producing stories I actually enjoyed back in ’98, was Angela Knight. Ms. Angela Knight’s “Blood & Kisses” in the Red Sage “Secrets” Book #4, was my first introduction to what I felt erotica should be. Shortly after reading that one story, (1998) I started writing. I have since met her and I have yet to meet a more gracious and generous author! She did the cover art for House of Shadows!

What made you chose erotica?

I made the same mistake most beginning writers make; I chose to write Erotica, because I thought it was easy. Boy, was I ever WRONG. 

Is there some period or genre that you have not explored that calls to your Muse?

I have been very, VERY lucky. Erotica allows exploration into any genre you could possibly imagine – contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, gothic, sci-fi… I have an erotic title published in every single sub-genre, and I am comfortable writing them all.

However, this ability of mine to write in any genre has become something of a worry. I have heard over and over and over, that once you start writing for the New York publishing houses you have to stick to ONE genre – even in erotica. I am having the hardest time choosing WHICH genre to present to them, because which ever one they accept, that’s what I am going to be stuck writing for a long, long time.

How do you write?  Daytime, nighttime?  Do you set the mood with music or need silence for concentration?

I write all day long and into the night. I am a full time writer. My butt is in that chair every waking moment I possess. I have no family, so I have no distractions what so ever. I even eat at my desk.

I use movie soundtracks for atmosphere. This is how I maintain consistency in the flavor of my books even though they take months and sometimes years to write.  

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  How long have you been writing?

Stories have always crowded into my head. I write them down to get some peace. I have been writing stories since I started drawing pictures on every scrap of paper I could find as a small child.

I was 14 when I began writing as a way to deal with problems at home. I decided that writing stories was what I wanted to do professionally after winning a regional short story contest when I was in the tenth grade back in 1980. I spent the entire rest of my life, since that time, gathering experiences and information on every subject that interested me so I could put it down on paper.

For me, writing is a full blown obsession. I couldn’t stop if I tried.

How long was it before you sold your first book?

In 2000, Amatory Ink asked for one of my stories for their: Mythic Fantasy Anthology. That was the first piece I actually got money for. Amoret bought and published a small flasher that I wrote on a whim. In 2002, Suspect Thoughts Magazine published a short of mine that ended up in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica Vol. 3. I got the check from BNE3 on publication, a full year after the editor asked for it.

In 2003, I offered Extasy Books a small novella that was getting critical acclaim on a free site and they snatched it up. It sold very well. A collection of 12 of my shorts followed that. Then I submitted my first real novel. The novel "House of Shadows" scooped up 5 and 4.5 star rating with the reviewers. It was a complete success and was one of the first books Extasy sent to print. My largest novel, an SM Sci-Fi, "Victorious Star" broke every record for sales I ever had, but "Uber-Gothic" is gaining on VS for sheer volume of sales very quickly.

I have only ever had one rejection: from Tor books. The book Tor rejected was "House of Shadows" - which is making me a tidy sum at Extasy. It wasn't what Tor was looking for, but it was exactly what Extasy wanted.

How long did it take me to get published? That's hard to say. Everything I've ever submitted has been published. Writing has been very, very good for me. I've been living on my royalties - as my only income - since August of this year. It's not a whole lot - but it's enough for me.

Do you have advice to writers struggling to break into Erotica?

Yes. Do your RESEARCH! If you plan to write about vampires, understand that the readers have very likely already read every other vampire book in print and are Very well informed on their subject. The readers of any given genre will always know if you know your subject  - and will judge you accordingly. 

For more detailed advice, and the occasional rant, visit my Writing Blog (web-log): www.darkerotica.blogspot.com 

I presume you want to break into Mainstream Publishing?  Is that a goal?  Will you still write for e-books if this comes about?

Seeing my name on the bookshelf of a major book-chain has always been a dream, but unfortunately, mainstream writing does not pay as well – or as regularly – as writing for the ebook markets.

A $10,000 advance on a book that takes 6 months to write, and over a year to see print does not go very far once you realize that you only get one third of it on signing the contract, another third once you deliver the completed manuscript – after they tear it to shreds and you have to rewrite, and rewrite it, and rewrite it…to their specifications, which may or may not be related to the book you actually wrote – and the last third when it finally appears on the bookshelf. A single novel can take anywhere from one year to three to appear on the bookshelf. That’s a Long time between paychecks.

Should I ever make it to mainstream publishing I will not stop writing ebooks, simply because I could not afford the pay-cut. 

Where do you hope your writing career will be ten years from now?

Lucrative. I hope my career will prove lucrative. LOL! I have my doubts though. Very few authors actually make enough to live on their writing. At this point in time, I actually AM living on my royalties, but then my bills are teeny-tiny. A one-bedroom apartment is far easier to support than a family!

My dream is to be able to afford a cottage on the coast. (sigh…)

March 1st 1995



    Well Done!!

  2. You did it dude - you can only go up from here *g*

    Congratulations, and thank you for writing us these great stories.


  3. Thank you Ladies!
    - I only hope I never disappoint. Shock, dismay and perhaps annoy, YES! But not disappoint. (Insert about three more paragraphs of decorative thank-you gushing.)

    Ahem... I love writing for you guys.


  4. a fabulous book by a great author -- well-deserved!