Ed and I are happy to have AK Morgen on the blog with us again today!
This time she's come for an interview!
Em: Hello, AK! How are you this fine Friday?
AKM: I am amazing, Em!
Em: So we'll start with some questions about you! How does it feel to officially be a published author?
AKM: Can I get back to you when it sinks in? Seriously, it's still so unreal to me. It’s like wait… when did this happen?!
Em: What is the best part of being published, of having your book out in the world?
AKM: The best part is getting to share some of my favorite characters with the world, and sharing this crazy, amazing journey with some of my favorite people. My friends have been there every step of the way, and I think they're as excited as I am.
Not only that, but I'm able to give back to two of my favorite charities in a bigger way than before. That makes the entire process so much more invaluable to me. Curiosity Quills and I are donating a percentage of royalties (10% each) for the next six months to the March of Dimes and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas. I love that part of being published!
Em: How did you react when you first found out you were being published?
AKM: The first thing I did when I saw the contract offer was to text my husband, my mom, my sister, and my closest friends. I can't repeat what I said here, but let's just say I could not believe what I was looking at! It was crazy.
Em: Do you have any other novels you are thinking about or that are in the works now?
AKM: I do. In addition to the rest of The Ragnarök Prophesies series which I'm currently writing, I'm working on the War Scrolls series, which takes another approach to the whole end of the world thing.
In the War Scrolls novels, a Fae warrior pledges his life to protect that of a terrified human who might just be the savior not only of his people, but of the entire world. Demon hordes are ready to attack, and she's the best weapon the Fae and humanity have against them. The series is a mythical twist on the War Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that prophesized the final battle between good and evil.
I'm also working on Broken Ballerina (actual title pending) in which a young couple is terrorized by a villain they never expected. As the story progresses, our ballerina realizes that not only her career is in jeopardy, but so is her life, and the life of her friends, for reasons they don't quite understand.
Em: You did a guest post with us earlier this month (which can be found HERE) that discussed your grandfather and the inspiration that he provided you with. Where else did you find inspiration for Fade?
AKM: In addition to my grandfather, inspiration for Fade came from my environmental science course and professor. He challenged us to research an issue and take up the cause. I chose the gray wolves, and the more I learned, the more Fade began to solidify for me. I also got inspiration from Norse mythology and some of the mythical characters I've always loved, obviously. And then there was a dream and a song. That dream is a scene of Fade, when Arionna and Buka bond over a song in the heart of the woods.
Em: Now about Fade and its series: do you have a plan as to how many novels will be in The Ragnarök Prophesies series?
AKM: I'm looking at four total, five if I get wordy as I have a tendency to do!
Em: How long did it take you to write Fade?
AKM: Fade took shape over six years. Crazy, right? I wrote the first draft six years ago, and then set it aside. My dream was always to write, but not necessarily to publish, so when I finished the story, I moved on to something else. But the story didn't feel quite "right" to me, so I picked it up again and again over the next few years. In 2010, my husband convinced me to stop stressing myself out over writer's block and work on something I'd already written. I took his advice, and ending up rewriting over half of the story. If you're waiting for the second book don't fret. It doesn't take me six years now. :)
Em: Mythology plays a big role in Fade. Do you have a favorite myth?
AKM: I have so many favorite myths. One of my favorites is the myth of Eros and Psyche, or Cupid and Psyche. It's one of the ultimate love stories, I think. They overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and find happiness in the end. I'm such a sucker for a happy ending.
Another favorite is the myth of Orion. Orion wanted to wed Merope, but her father tricked Orion, promising him his daughters hand if he rid their island of the wild boar. When Orion did so, the king refused to uphold his end of the bargain. Orion reacted poorly, and was forced to wander blind for years in penance. Diana eventually fell in love with him. When Apollo found out his sister planned to wed Orion, he tricked her into killing him. When Diana found his body and realized what Apollo had made her do, she placed Orion's body amongst the stars so all of the world would remember him.
Em: What was the hardest part about writing Fade? What was the easiest?
AKM: The hardest part was working through six years of rewrites to get the story just right, and make it as strong as possible. I do not recommend rewriting in stages over the course of six years. It's such a horrid thing to do! The easiest part was incorporating the mythology into the story. Well, not necessarily the easiest part, but the part that didn't necessarily seem like work. Once I knew where I wanted the story to go, I had so much fun fleshing out Ari and Dace's history and weaving the mythology into their present-day lives.
Em: Is there anything that you wish you could change? Whether it be about the publishing process or the book itself.
AKM: I think I would have waited to sign my first contract. It would have saved a lot of frustration and disillusionment. Luckily, however, I was able to move the story to its new home with Curiosity Quills, and the experience with them has been so amazing.
Em: What would you like your readers to take from Fade? Is there something that you want people to be left feeling?
AKM: I would love readers to finish the last page believing that no situation is too great to overcome. We all struggle at times, and life gets difficult and downright unpleasant for everyone, but those struggles are part of what make us who we are. They help us figure out where we're going and what we want out of life on such a larger scale than the easy times.
Granted, the struggles Dace and Arionna face are a lot bigger than most of ours. They're connected to one another in frightening, seemingly impossible ways, and have to deal with falling in love practically overnight with someone they don't even know when they both recognize that maybe this isn't something either of them is ready for yet. And they have to do it while trying to figure out who they are, deal with loss, grief, and change . . . and then with learning the truth about why they're so connected and drawn to one another. Their problems are a lot more mythical than ours in some ways, but in others, they're exactly the same.
Em: What is the most memorable, or even your favorite, line from Fade? Why is that? What does it mean to you?
AKM: My favorite line from the story is when Arionna realizes that wolves know music, too. That's such a poignant, heartbreaking moment, but it's such an important moment for her, too. For the first time since her mom's funeral, she lets go as she's needed to do all along. She's so hurt and angry. I love that the honesty of the moment comes from her being able to empathize so fully with the wolves and their loss. It says a lot about her, I think, that their loss is the one that finally overwhelms her entirely.
Em: Who is your favorite character, or the character that you had the most fun writing? Who was the character that gave you the hardest time?
AKM: I had the most fun writing Arionna and Buka. Arionna is such an interesting, real character to me. She's snarky, she's opinionated, she's courageous, she doesn't always deal with things gracefully, and she refuses to back down just because Dace wants her to do so. Even when she's having an awful day and she's feeling bitter and angry or petulant, she fights for what she needs. She's falling for Dace rapidly, but she recognizes that this might not be the best thing for her. She tries to deal with that reality even while acknowledging that she's probably fighting a losing battle. I love that about her. She doesn't lie to herself about their relationship and make her connection to Dace this perfect, easy thing when, for her, it's anything but perfect or easy. I love characters like that, the ones who don't pretend love and life is all roses when it's clearly not.
And Buka reminds me so much of a pet my sisters and I had when we were a kid. Louie was our champion. He could be so playful, or so wise, and he protected me and my sisters above anything else. My parents couldn't even raise their voices at us for one of many misdeeds without him leaping to our defense. And if he didn't know you, you could forget getting anywhere near us. He took his job as our champ seriously, and was such an amazing animal. Buka is a lot like him. Just, you know, in wolf form.
Dace was, by far, the hardest character to write. He doesn't chatter in my mind much, so figuring him out is always difficult! He's a lot like my own hero in that respect so I fully understand why falling for one can be such a simple then, even when dealing them isn't! I understand why he frustrates Arionna so much.
Em: Do you see yourself in any of the characters that you've written?
AKM: There are little pieces of me in Arionna's quirks and passions, but I'm not where near as self-aware or strong as she is. By and far, Fade's characters are definitely their own people.
Em: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
AKM: Know the rules, and understand them. Unless you do, figuring out when and how to break them will be a study in frustration. And remember that not everyone will love your stories as much as you do. If you let it, that can be a good thing for you and your writing.
Em: Now for the quickies!
Em: Favorite food?
AKM: Anything chocolate!
Em: Best book of 2012?
AKM: So far? Finale by Lauren Kate.
Em: Best book of all time?
AKM: The Iliad
Em: Least favorite chore?
AKM: Hanging laundry. Ugh!
Em: Worst movie ever?
AKM: Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter
Em: I could spend all day doing _____?
AKM: Chatting with friends, or snuggling with the husband while we watch movies.
Em: A place that you've never been, but are desperate to go to?
AKM: Machu Picchu!
Em: Cats or dogs?
Em: Celebrity who has your undying affection?
AKM: Inspiration wise? Stephen Hawking. The man is amazing.
Em: Summer or Winter? Fall or Spring?
AKM: Winter and fall, hands down.
Em: Thank you so much for your time, AK!
AKM: Thank you, Em! I've had such a great time visit you and your readers!
Feel free to comment and leave some love for AK! And look for Fade, which is available now!
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