Q: Morris…what made you become a writer?
A: I was the webmaster and president of a gaming clan. I was archiving some old short stories written by some of the players, and I decided that I could do at least as well. I set out to write an eight-paged short story and never found an exit strategy. Though the interest in online gaming has long-gone, I found a life-long passion for writing itself.
Q: What is your typical writing day like?
A: Get to work on my day job an hour early, write until time to start my shift, and then write at lunch while I eat.
Q: Do you outline? If so, how extensive are your outlines?
A: I see the beginning and the end. I start and keep focused on where I am going. I establish what I call timeline documents which keep me on track. For any particular chapter that really needs me to keep track, I make a specific Excel spreadsheet with all of the principal characters/event/timings needed to keep everything straight. I had a scenario covering forty-five pages that had so many details that I had to make a spreadsheet with five columns to keep track.
Q: How many revisions will you typically do on a novel?
A: I did three on my debut novel. I think that is probably going to be my practice.
Q: What is your best tip for editing a manuscript?
A: Read your manuscript aloud to yourself. The multisensory input of speaking, hearing and seeing prose enters into your mind three ways. You will catch more mistakes this way than any other method.
Q: Which writing habits and/or tricks of the trade have made you a better writer?
A: Always keeping an Internet connection up for quick reference and research; seek input from readers and be open to criticism. Always be willing to change.
Q: Do you ever suffer through writer’s block? If so, how do you fight it?
A: Not so far. I have had periods of time, like this year, where I opt to do other things, like read and review other books, and help other authors edit their books.
Q: What drew you to write your preferred genre(s)?
A: I was a Star Trek fan as a child. I also took judo in high school, so I had an interest in things oriental. From there I drifted as a reader into detective novels, and action and adventure. So to answer the question, I write what I like to read and watch.
Q: Do you utilize beta readers?
A: Emphatically! Every opportunity that I can. Authors, if left to their own devices, have blind spots. Beta readers point out the deficiencies in your plot characters and prose, and help you strive to improve.
Q: In your most recently published novel, what’s one scene you really enjoyed writing—and why?
A: That’s easy. In the chapter, “Hell From Hellas Planitia,” from Warzone: Nemesis, my MC is in a desperate, high-stakes boxing match with the protagonist. It was the most challenging piece of prose I’ve ever pulled off—and I think my best work.
Q: What makes the main character(s) of your most recent novel so special?
A: He is human. He suffers, makes mistakes, is tested, and rises to the challenge.
Q: What is your best advice for author self-promotion?
A: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Get ready to be in it for the long haul, and work hard.
Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?
A: I examine them to see if they are right. If they are, I seek to get better. If they are wrong, then I move on.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an indie author?
A: I set my own schedule and priorities.
Q: What is your least favorite aspect of being an indie author?
Q: What is your current writing project?
A: Right now I am availing my services as an editor to other authors. The second in my Warzone trilogy, “Warzone: Operation Wolf Hunt” is about 60% complete, but on hold until next year.
Q: What are three of your favorite novels?
A: 1). The Ghostway, Hillerman. 2); Shogun, Clavell. 3); Timeline, Crichton. Favorite books are like children, though, I could easily have substituted one of several others for number one or three.
Q: If you could have lunch with any novelist, living or dead, who would it be? What would talk to them about?
A: The Tony Hillerman in the midpoint of his career, while he was still in good health.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for budding authors?
A: This path is not for the faint-at-heart. It takes endurance, humility, and a willingness to change.
Q: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
A: Surprisingly, it came from the movie
. Doc Tombstone Holiday is dying in
a hospital, and Wyatt tells him he doesn’t know how to live a “normal” life.
Doc responds, “There is no such thing as “normal” life, there’s just life. Get
on with it.” This resonated with me, being a below the knee amputee.