Author Interview: Mark Morris

I live with six of my eight kids, two are in college, and my high school sweetheart and wife of 25 years. I belong to a 200# mastiff named Ruby and we also have three smaller dogs, three cats and a lizard.

I am a professional freelance writer, mostly ebooks and blogs for commercial clients. I’ve been doing that for about seven years. Before that I wrote and  directed for the stage for almost 20 years.

I love to read. I started young, when our TV blew up and my dad refused to replace it. I like anything that makes me laugh, or think in ways I haven’t before. I also love movies and the occasional cold beer, but my favorite thing is an interesting conversation.

Author Interview with Mark Morris

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It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Mark Morris:  I actually to write for a living, but my fiction is not my primary source of income yet. I’ve also been a theatrical director, ran my own theater for almost twenty years, and spent several years working as a cabinet maker, which led to a small home improvement business.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Mark Morris:  I originally wanted to be an actor, and the writing kind of started there. I have always thought I would write as a part of whatever I did though. I remember my first story, third grade, about a haunted house. It was supposed to be three sentences, mine was six pages.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book:

Mark Morris:  My first novel is a book called The Wishmonger, and it’s about a boy getting uprooted and moved to his father’s home town. It’s a fantasy piece about what it means to wish and have faith.


My latest is Jacked, a Sci-Fi novel that is the first in a series I have planned. It’s set in our world, which happens to be one of many parallel universes. The title character, Jack, is essentially orphaned and at 21 finds out that he has talents he was unaware of.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Mark Morris:  Yeah, Jacked is being released in three novellas, so that the work can be out there meeting readers, while I finish up the editing on the other parts and start working on the next volume. It’s pretty exciting.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Mark Morris:  Well, it was pretty amazing. Print on Demand publishing was  pretty much a new thing and that idea that I could write, edit and publish my own work was pretty exciting. I gave that copy to a friend ten years ago and last time I saw her, she mentioned she’s still reading it again and again.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Mark Morris:  It kind of depends on what I’m writing. For my general freelance stuff, or just working through some scenes, I like Jack Johnson a lot. But, if I am working on stuff that requires concentration, I tend to go for instrumental film soundtracks, especially epic adventure stuff.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Mark Morris:  Stories, I love hearing them and telling them. Once I get to a certain point in a story’s development, I can’t help but finish it.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Mark Morris:  My kids, they are turning out to be awesome human beings and that’s kind of cool. When you start as a parent, you have all these choices of how you can do it. It’s good to have some confirmation that I didn’t make all the wrong choices, you know?

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Mark Morris:  Definitely yes! In fact, my wife has been on me to write a story that has a female protagonist, because she feels like it’s hard for her to get inside my character’s heads and enjoy the story. But, I love writing villains. As an actor, I always have some point of contact with every character, but the bad guys are by far the most fun to write,  in my opinion.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Mark Morris:  Yeah, I picked up John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath at seven years old. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I loved it. I still love the depression era in stories and that gritty feel, I guess. Then, there was the Hardie Boys mysteries. I read them all and collected them. I was so disappointed when I found out that Franklin W. Dixon was a whole series of writers and not a real guy.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Mark Morris:  I like stuff that entertains me, so it changes. I went through a Jeffrey Deaver phase for a while, for example. Or sometimes it will be a period, or a historical figure, but my one guilty pleasure in adulthood is Tim Dorsey. He writes Florida Crime novels with a humorous twist. His serial killer, Serge Storms is one of my favorites.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Mark Morris:  I have a busy house, so, sometimes I’m at my desk, in the office I share with my wife and her party sales business,  but I also like to stay in my PJs and binge watch Netflix on my bedroom TV when I don’t want to be interrupted. I use a laptop because it’s much faster for me.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Mark Morris:  Yes, I do. I like dark comedy, or macabre characters like Dexter. I’m currently watching 12 Monkeys on Sy Fy and my wife and I like Shameless a lot. Again, anything that makes me laugh, or challenges my perceptions.

What about movies?

Mark Morris:  As an actor, I love movies. Since I watch for the characters and the story, I have an eclectic taste. My all time favorite is Indiana Jones, but I also enjoy horror and suspense.



Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Mark Morris:  I wouldn’t have waited all of these years. I think  I had convinced myself that all of these other writers were better story tellers than me, but as I got to know a lot of writers and their work, I realized it wasn’t true.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by or with  your writing?

Mark Morris:  I’d love for my fiction to pay the bills. That is probably my biggest goal, but philosophically, I hope my stories challenge people and make them think about what they believe and how they live.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Mark Morris:  I’ve never had a lot of trouble naming characters. I don’t really have much of a process, I just name them. That’s probably not very exciting,  but sometimes 

I hear artists talk about how everything is a struggle and I wonder if that’s true. This is true,  I just pick a name, and sometimes it changes,  but mostly they stick.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Mark Morris:  No, because of my training as a theatrical director, I see myself in that role and I know where I want my story to go. Now, in small ways, they surprise me all the time and I may have to reconsider, but just to have one rebel seems strange to me,  but every writer has their own process.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Mark Morris:  Yeah, human consensus and coercing others into living life on your terms is bad. That’s pretty much it. I think you should reserve discipline for yourself and expect others to respect your life, liberty and property. If they do that, you don’t have much to complain about.

Anything you want your readers to know?

My blog can be found at http://MarkrMorrisJr.com  and you can find me on Facebook most days if you want to interact.And my books can be found on Amazon.com.

I love to talk to readers, or help other writers get started. You can reach me at Markrmorris2 @g m a i l  . com (with no spaces)

 

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