Author Spotlight: Rachel Morgan
I’d like to welcome young adult fantasy writer Rachel Morgan, author of Traitor, Sleep Hollow Book 3. Before we learn about Traitor, let’s see what Rachel has to say…
1. When did you start writing?
Unofficially, on random scraps of paper that I hid in my beside table – as a young teen. Officially, with the intention to finish novels and get published – at the beginning of 2010.
2. Tell us about your journey to publication.
In 2009 I left university and started teaching, hoping I could write in my spare time. However, as any good teacher knows, there is no such thing as spare time! I was going to leave my school, but my principal offered me a part-time teaching position for 2010. Perfect! 2010 and part of 2011 were spent writing and finishing my first full-length novel (which is yet to be published). The remainder of 2011 was spent writing and planning the Creepy Hollow novelette series, which was launched into the digital reading world in March of this year. The second installment was published in April, and the third in May.
3. When did you know you wanted to be an author? When did you realize it could actually become a reality?
I had these vague thoughts of being an author when I was a teen, but I always thought it was something I’d do way, way down the line, like when I had children or when I retired one day. I always thought I had to accomplish something else first. Like a “real” job!
Towards the end of my studies, I read Twilight and discovered the YA paranormal genre. That was my light bulb moment: If Stephenie Meyer can do it, why can’t I? I didn’t know how or when, but I knew that someday I would see my name on a book. At that point I didn’t realize just how many other people out there were trying to do the exact same thing I was, so it didn’t even cross my mind that it might not become a reality!
4. What do you love about being a writer? What do you hate?
I love stories. It’s as plain and simple as that. For as long as I can remember, my imagination has constantly been conjuring up stories, and being a writer means I can share those stories with others.
What I hate … Hmm. It’s tough sometimes to get the story out of my head and onto a page. It’s difficult to juggle teaching mathematics and writing fiction, two tasks that require completely different headspace. It’s also not great that there is just so much competition for readers’ attention these days. But there isn’t anything I can think of that I hate!
5. What kind of characters do you enjoy writing the most?
The ones who like to antagonize other characters. The ones who create tension, start fights. The ones who have complicated, difficult backgrounds and as a result have become complicated, difficult people.
6. Do you have the hots for one of your characters? Who and why?
When it comes to fictional characters, I generally go for the “bad boy” type 😉 So I guess I have the hots for Ryn, the guy who tries to piss off my main character every opportunity he gets, and her main competition for the graduating top spot of their class.
7. Where does your story take place? Why did you choose this location?
Mainly within Creepy Hollow, a fictional forest within the magical realm of the fae. Why did I choose this location? I think it chose me. Well, the name just popped into my head one day and I knew I had to use it somehow!
8. What made you decide to self-publish instead of the traditional route?
What appeals to me most is the level of control I have over just about every area of my books. (Control freak? Me? Never!) And I enjoy playing all the different roles that come with being a self-publisher. I’ve had fun figuring out promotion strategies, and designing covers and interior layout. I even enjoy formatting documents for conversion to ebooks.
9. What does a typical writing day look like to you?
I spend the morning at school imparting mathematical knowledge to young minds (well, I like to think that’s what I’m doing). A few days in the week I go to gym after school. I check emails and return blog visits when I get home in the afternoon. If I have test or exam papers to mark or set, or notes to prepare, then that happens next. That sometimes takes up all the hours left in the day/evening. If not, then whatever’s left gets spent on writing. Hmm. That doesn’t sound good, does it?!
10. Are you a plotter, pantser or a little of both? Describe how a story comes together for you.
Definitely a bit of both. It usually starts with a single idea that the entire story then gets built around. I write out the first scene that came to me, no matter where it is in the story. Then a few other scenes start to form. I write those out too. After making a few notes, I then go back to the beginning and start filling in the gaps. I know where I’m heading (that’s the plotting part), but I don’t always know how I’m going to get there (that’s the pantser part). Seems to be working for me so far!
Violet and Nate may have escaped the labyrinth, but only one of them came out unscathed. Nate is now the bearer of a mysterious eye-shaped tattoo, a mark he has no memory of receiving. While Vi is intent on discovering the meaning of the tattoo, Nate seems less interested. His experience in the labyrinth has caused recurring nightmares, and he’d prefer to pretend none of it ever happened. But Vi has never been one to let a mystery go unsolved, and she’ll do whatever she can to discover who’s behind the tattoo—even if it means leaving Nate out of her plan.
If you liked the blurb, take a peek at the excerpt for Traitor:
Setting the scene: As part of everyday training, there are hand-to-hand combat sessions between trainees. They take place inside an enclosed magical space; the setting is different every time. The main character, Violet, is about to take on the biggest guy in her class.
“Opponents ready?” My eyelids spring apart at the sound of Tina’s shout. She stands in the center of the beam, her legs slightly apart. She raises her stylus above her head. I tense. Sparks explode from the tip, and “Go!”
I run at the shimmering wall of the orb. It gives way, ghostly white tendrils wrapping around me as I pass through—and then I’m inside. I stop and look around, taking it all in as quickly as I can. An abandoned warehouse. Scaffolding to climb. Bars to swing from. Planks to balance on.
A roar from the other side of the warehouse attracts my attention. It’s Dale, barreling straight toward me without bothering to take a look at his surroundings. It’s remarkable how much he reminds me of the goblin I fought last night. I stand still, waiting for him to get closer. And closer. At the last second, I jump aside and grab hold of a metal chain. I scramble up it. Dale tugs the chain to the side, and I almost lose my grip as it swings wildly about.
I keep climbing. As soon as I’m level with a wooden platform, I jump onto it. The whole thing shudders as Dale throws his weight at it. I lose my balance. I fall, but manage to catch onto a metal bar. I swing, let go, and land on Dale’s shoulders. He topples to the ground, taking me with him. His breath escapes him in a grunt as he hits the ground. My head smacks concrete, and for a second I feel dazed. The transparent top of the Fish Bowl swims before my eyes.
I blink and sit up. I twist Dale’s head sharply to the side with my knees, but he’s too strong for me to do any real damage. I kick his face as he lashes out with a broken pipe. The sharp end slices across my arm.
I smell blood. Blood and dust. I roll away from him and jump to my feet. He’s up too. He throws a punch, followed closely by a kick. I dodge both, and while his balance is off, I sweep my leg out behind him. It connects with the back of his knees, forcing him to the ground. I jump onto his back, grab the end of the chain, and wrap it around his neck. He claws at the metal links, then changes tactics. Bringing his elbow up sharply, he knocks me off his back. He turns over, clamps his fist around my neck, and slams me down on the concrete floor. My skull screams in protest. My lungs reach for the air he knocked out of my chest.
“Ready to surrender?” he growls, leaning over me.
If you want to pick up this great read, check out these sites: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords
She’s also on these social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads
Thanks for visiting, Rachel. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, the fourth novelette in the series, Masquerade, will be available in July.