Thanks, Glynis, for this opportunity. I love the look of your site!
Thank you. Now let’s find out more about you …
What is your genre?
I began writing novels that had been gestating for years, of different genres. Mostly mystery and suspense, and a couple of paranormal novels. After writing my first historical novel, The Women of Camp Sobingo, set in the WWII era, and then The Unexplored Heart, a Victorian setting, I decided I would stick to historicals from now on. I have sequels in the works for both these novels.
Why did you choose it?
I think it chose me. I have always been fascinated by history, ancient, Victorian, world, it’s what I naturally gravitate to. I like to joke “I like history so much because I’ve lived most of it.”
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
Yes. I’m working on a sequel to The Unexplored Heart and every so often I write a chapter or two in another manuscript, That Cavanaugh Woman, which picks up where The Women of Camp Sobingo leaves off. This will be titled: That Cavanaugh Woman.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
Not now. I have been to a few, and have even led a Creative Writers Group at my local Senior Center.
Can you remember your first reading book?
You mean, like Dick and Jane? Where the kids say things like, Run, Spot Run? I graduated quickly to novels like Little Women.
LW, is my favourite book. I love it.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
Oh, you’ve been watching me through the computer screen. I’ve had to curb my favorite, Peanut M&Ms, since I have diabetes, but popcorn does nicely for a snack.
Yum. Plain popcorn is a writing companion of mine, too!
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
Bombsite. I think I have limited space, but in reality, I am reminded of the expression, “Junk expands to the space allowed for it.” On my desk are my laptop, printer/copier/scanner; files neatly held in a graduated file holder; a large file basket/bookshelf that holds my (outdated) dictionaries and thesaurus, plus copies of all eight of my books. To the left of my desk is a work table holding my telephone, binders of first drafts of my works in progress, a hole puncher, and copy paper. Oh, and a ceramic alligator. When the alligator is facing away from me, that means I don’t have anything pressing that day. If he’s looking at me, that means I have a lot to do.
Alligator? What a great motivator!
I’m published by a POD publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing. This is my second publisher, due to the fact that my first was a really bad choice. I’m sure most of your readers would recognize it if I just said, “Publish Anything.” I had the misfortune to have two books published, and when I sent them the proposal to my third, they told me I hadn’t made enough sales to justify them taking on another book. So I searched for another, and found Vanilla Heart, who has been super!
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
This might surprise you. This little old lady loves Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Horror/suspense. Then Phillipa Gregory.
I enjoy Dean Koontz
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript.
Don’t let anyone look at your first draft. If anybody sees my first drafts, they would think “how can she think she’s a novelist?” My first draft is so loose, it makes no sense to anyone else. And sometimes, even to me.
Get a good editor. Don’t trust your aunt or a cousin. Accept a professional editor’s suggestions.
And when ready to submit to a publisher, follow their guidelines EXACTLY. They aren’t suggestions. They are RULES. If they want three chapters, send only three chapters. Formatting rules have to be followed, with no “unicorns and rainbows” stationary either emailed or by snail mail. Most publishers will accept email attachments. Give them what they want.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
I’m not impressed by today’s actors and actresses (although men and women alike are called “actors” these days). Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow for the role of Vanessa in The Unexplored Heart.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
I really was getting ready to go to the supermarket, when my telephone rang. My son answered the phone, then handed it to me. He said, “This lady wants to talk to you about your book.” I thought, okay…then, which one? A woman’s voice said, “I just wanted to thank you for writing Once a Brat, Always a Brat. I just finished it and wanted to tell you that you captured the flavor of living in Linz, Austria as an Army Brat. I was there the same time you were, only I was in high school and you must have been in about the sixth grade, with my brother.” She told me her brother’s name and I shrieked, “Joe was my boyfriend!” More conversation ensued and emails were exchanged before we hung up. I went on to the supermarket stunned and delighted.
You need to understand our mutual excitement, one Army Brat contacting another, since we thought we would never see other Brats who had been in the same place. We’re talking here about 1950, during the American Occupation in Austria which lasted only for 10 years; a limited contingent of personnel whose children were schooled in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. Thanks to the Internet, we have formed groups and discovered our former schoolmates. But this was the only time, I believe that another “Brat” found me, simply by reading my book.
Such a coincidence!
Here’s the blurb:
As one of the first dependents to be sent overseas at the end of WWII, eight-year old Marilyn Celeste Morris received her very own orders from The War Department.
From Seoul, Korea to Linz, Austria, she traversed the globe from 1938 to 1958 with her Army Officer father, mother and younger brothers. Between assignments in the primitive world of the Far East, to the sublime luxury of exploring castles in Bavaria, the family shuttled between the various Stateside Forts: Bragg, Bliss, Hood and Sill.
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes gut-wrenchingly sad, her narrative is part travelogue, part therapy session. She still cries at “Taps” and stands tall when the colors pass; yet she realizes she carries an odd mixture of pride and resentment over her nomadic way of life.
Her conclusion, however, is that she wouldn’t have had it any other way. Once a Brat, Always a Brat.
Marilyn Celeste Morris, is a multipublished author of The Women of Camp Sobingo, (WWII era Historical Novel) Forces of Nature, (Mainstream Fiction) Volumes One and Two in a proposed Sabbath Trilogy: Sabbath’s Gift and Sabbath’s House, (Supernatural Mystery) and My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale, a collection of humor/human interest columns written over ten years for a weekly suburban newspaper. She also has written two non-fiction books, Once a Brat, Always a Brat, “part travelogue, part therapy session” about her world-wide travels with her army officer father from her birth in 1938 to his (their) retirement in 1958. Her other non-fiction work is The Cards We’re Dealt, which relates her own struggle for diagnosis and treatment of this immune disorder, with comments from other “Lupies,” and the criteria for diagnosing SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.) Her most recent novel is The Unexplored Heart, a Victorian era romance/adventure, and a sequel, After Camelot: Esther’s Quest will be released soon.
She is a strong supporter of the North Texas Chapter, Lupus Foundation of America and counsels newly diagnosed persons and their families about the ravages of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Marilyn has taped various radio interviews, local cable television programs, and is accustomed to speaking to groups about Lupus; the Life of a Military Brat, and The Pleasures and Perils of Being a Published Author.
She lives in Fort Worth TX with a neurotic black cat named Cleopatra and her grown son who does all the “heavy lifting” in the house and yard. Marilyn has three grown children and three grandchildren who live too far away for her liking. She is an omnivorous reader “reading almost anything,” she says, and watching the Discovery and History Channels.
Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author, Editor, Speaker
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/KSq5Ya; PUBLISHER’S SITE: http://bit.ly/LIq9iy
And now, free reads: First four chapters of all my books: http://bit.ly/JZM0j4
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” — Ray Bradbury