Whew, it’s a new month, and bloody hell it’s warm over here in the UK! Heatwaves. Now, if there’s one thing us Brits are good at (aside from everything), it’s our ability to complain about everything! However, I’m not here for that today. It’s a new interview, this time with Mike Morris, author of the Jack Fray series and the Nathaniel Rane series. His first in that, He Who Fights, is his entry into this year’s SPFBO, and he was very welcome to be lured into my interview dungeon. Ahem. Onto the interview!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
My name is Mike Morris and I write fantasy books. I’m the author of the Jack Frey series (Cry Havoc, Cry Witch and Cry Fear) and the Nathaniel Rane series. He Who Fights, my entry into SPFBO, is Nathaniel’s first adventure.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I used to be a real pantser, making it all up as I went along, but it’s time consuming and results in a lot of wasted words. Now I plan a lot more but still leave room for unexpected adventures as my characters take on a life of their own.
Tell us about your current project.
I’m writing the sequel to He Who Fights.
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
Faced with defeat at the hands of a demon army, Nathaniel Rane and his fellow soldiers in the fabled Legion of Swords use outlawed magic to fuse their souls with their blades. Faster, stronger and all but impossible to kill, they turn the tide of the war and emerge victorious. But magic demands a terrible price and the real battle has only just begun.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Write a lot, read a lot. Do it because you enjoy it and everything else is a bonus. It’s a long hard journey, so the love has to be there.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
At the moment, real life seems far worse than anything I can make up. If anything, it inspires me to escape into new worlds of fiction where the good guys (mostly) win in the end.
What inspires you to write?
I write because I love to tell stories. I get up at 4.45 each morning to write before my day job so my inspiration is the alarm clock going off, helped by my first cup of tea of the day.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
He Who Fights was a tough book to write. I began work on it after signing with an agent, I then moved house, got pneumonia, lost my job, got a new job in a different country, lost my agent, moved countries, had another child, got pneumonia again, lost my mother, and finished it all off with a heart scare. At times, I wanted to give up on the book, give up on the dream of being a writer, just get a life again, get some time to myself and to the family, without this weight on my back. But I’m glad I didn’t. It turned out He Who Fights wasn’t just about Nathaniel and who he is, it’s about who I am too. Never give up, never surrender as they say.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
With every book, the last chapter is my favourite and the first chapters are the worst. I always find beginning the book the toughest part as I discover who everyone is and I love that moment when I type ‘the end’.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned that I write because I love writing. Everything else is a bonus.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
This might sound weird but I think it’s like getting to know anyone new. At first you get to know little things, normally the good bits, and it takes time to get below the surface and really get to know who they are. I just have to be patient until I find out what makes them tick.
What are your future project(s)?
So many projects. Too little time. Nathaniel Rane book 2, Jack Frey book 3, and then I have a super-secret project that I can’t talk about just yet.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
I work in advertising in my day job as a creative director. But if we’re talking dream jobs (other than writing), then I’d like to be an illustrator. When I was a kid, I wanted to draw comic books.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
My website is www.mikemorrisauthor.com, and I’m @scifimikemorris on Twitter and Facebook. My author page on Goodreads is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17307283.Mike_Morris
Many thanks for the time, Morris, and I wish you best of luck! This is a great thing to do and I’m honored to be amongst so many great minds. Join me soon for probably another interview! And for all those who want an interview or a spotlight, my door is always open.