Thursday, April 4, 2013

Introducing Fantasy Novelist: Morgan L. Busse

I am so excited to present this novelist to all of you readers! The second novel in her Follower of the Word series, Son of Truth, has just released this week, so fantasy readers are celebrating.

Morgan has kindly offered a wonderful giveaway along with this interview, so be certain to check below how to enter your name. But in the meanwhile, let's get to know the authoress herself!

Morgan L. Busse writes speculative fiction for the adult market. She is the author of Daughter of Light and Son of Truth, the first two books in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find out more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com.



Interview:

Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?

Morgan: I am married to a wonderful man and together we have four children (including a set of twins). He is a pastor, so between ministry and family, our lives are very busy.

I love rainy days, the ocean, trees, and mountains. So that’s why I live in Kansas! At least there are some amazing thunderstorms here. And the people are wonderful.

Along with writing, I love to bike, listen to music, and dabble in art. I also enjoy playing games with my family, both board games and video games. Now that my children are older, we all play together.

Tea or coffee? Definitely tea! I drink coffee for that “kick in the pants” in the morning, but tea is for relaxing and enjoying a nice, calm moment. You will generally find all sorts of tea in my cupboards.

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?

Morgan: I have always been a storyteller. As a kid, I would write plays and perform them for my family (using my stuffed animals as the actors). But I never thought I would be a writer. I was more of a math/science geek in school. It was my husband who encouraged me to write. I kept telling him no until on a trip to Seattle, I had this idea of a woman who—with a touch of her hand—could see inside the soul. As soon as we arrived home, I started writing.

Tell us a little about your series! What led you to start writing Daughter of Light? Will there be more than one sequel?

Morgan: When my husband first started seminary, I had nothing to do. So I visited the local library and starting making my way through their fantasy and science fiction shelves. I love anything speculative! But I slowly grew tired of the antagonistic view many of the books had toward God. So I visited a Christian bookstore one day to see if there were any speculative books. The lady gave me a strange look and pointed to a lone Frank Peretti book on the bottom shelf.

That’s it? I like Frank Peretti and had already read that particular book. But where were the other books? I went home disappointed. That’s when my husband said I should write. No way! But like I said, a couple months later on a trip to Seattle, I saw Rowen in my mind for the first time and knew I had to write her story.

Daughter of Light is the first book in the Follower of the Word series. The story centers around Rowen, a young woman who has the ability to heal by taking on the wound or disease of another and can see inside the human soul with a touch of her hand.

Now tell us a little about Son of Truth. How long have you been work on it? Did it present any unusual challenges compared to Daughter of Light?
 

Morgan: Son of Truth is the second book in the series. In Daughter of Light, the reader meets an assassin named Caleb. He is a dark and complex character. The book ends with him coming to terms with who he is and what he has done.

While I looked for a publisher for Daughter of Light, I worked on Son of Truth. With children still home, it took me about a year to write. The nice thing is I had the rough draft done by the time Daughter of Light sold.

The biggest challenge in writing Son of Truth was keeping Caleb’s nature consistent with who he was, even with the life-altering event that happens to him. He is still a “get the job” done kind of man, a calculating man, a passionate man. My editor helped me keep Caleb’s personality intact while navigating his new nature.

Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?

Morgan: Definitely the assassin Caleb. I shared above what it was like writing his character. But I also like Nierne, the scribe. Her character and personality come out more in Son of Truth. For those of you who have not yet read Daughter of Light, Nierne is a scribe who escapes the devastation of her city in search for the one race of people with the power to save her country.

Nierne is a very religious young woman who clings to her position in the Monastery. But life has a way of testing faith, and she finds her faith shattered in Son of Truth and she’s not sure if she can ever go back to trusting the Word again.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?

Morgan: I love music. Many of the scenes or ideas come from listening to a piece of music. Each of my characters has a flavor of music, so when I really need to dive deep into their psyche, I turn on that particular kind of music.

I also love nature and traveling. For example: I based the country of Avonai, a coastal country, on my time spent on the Oregon coast. Anytime I run across an interesting place, I take time to smell, hear, and feel what it is like so I can use it in my book.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?

Morgan: I hate writing rough drafts. I see all the mistakes and places where I need to beef up the description or tighten the scene or dive deeper emotionally, but if I stop, I will never finish. So I press on and finish a rough draft. Then I go back and smooth out each scene.

That is the part I love: the rewrites. They are my carrot to finish the rough draft!

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?

Morgan: Oh, you are cruel! Just one? Hmm, I would have to choose J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit was the first fantasy I was exposed to. Then I had to read Lord of the Rings and then The Silmarilion. I loved how he used old Norse and Celtic myth in his work and the complexity of his stories.

What are you actively writing right now?

Morgan: I am now working on sequel to Daughter of Light and Son of Truth. I am a plotter, so I already have the book plotted out, so now I am working on the rough draft. So those of you who are anxiously awaiting the conclusion to the Follower of the Word series, it is coming!

I plot out my books a couple years in advance and so I am also working on a completely new series, based in a Victorian steampunk world with dark overtones.

Can you share a short snippet from Son of Truth?

Morgan: Here is a piece I did for a friend that takes a look at Caleb’s thoughts about who he is:


Excerpt for
Son of Truth
I am cold. Ruthless. I always get the job done.
I am the left hand of the Lord of Temanin. I have murdered countless, doing away with those who would obstruct the Empire. I live in the shadows, and I am never found.
Until now.
I heard of the Eldarans, words spoken on my mother’s deathbed. A race of beings left in the Lands to protect mankind. Her words I dismissed as the ramblings of a dying woman. There were no such beings. Only myth, or distant legend.
Yet now I stand before one.
The woman’s hand glows as if she were holding a sliver of sunlight. I see the light, and I fear it. My mother’s words haunt me. I know the moment the woman touches me, I will be undone.
I cannot run, I cannot move. Her hand touches my cheek and fire sears my soul.
Everything I have done plays before my eyes: the women I have used, the lies I have spoken, the way I abused others, my disdain and arrogance.
And the deaths. All those deaths.
I feel her horror as she watches every act of murder. I try to hide what I have done, pull my past back into the shadows. But I cannot. It is now laid bare in the light.
The woman disappears. All is silent. I look at my hands. They are covered in blood. I try to wipe away the evidence of my darkness, but the blood remains.
A shadow appears before me. I look up. A deformed and scarred man stands there. He looks upon me with dark and fathomless eyes. This is no ordinary man. He is more. And he is here to deal with the blood on my hands.
He is my judge.
I bow, my heart full of fear. The time of my reckoning has come.
And I know it will cost me my life.
______
 
Morgan: Thank you, Anne, Elisabeth, for allowing me to be a guest on your blog!
 
Thank you for coming, Morgan. It was a delight to get to know you and your work a little better.
 
So what do you think, readers? Doesn't that sound like a fabulous series? Are you eager to get your hands on it???
 
Well, you certianly can. Morgan has graciously offered copies of both books to one lucky winner of this giveaway! You can either have them in hardcopy or ebooks. Be certain to enter your name below for a chance to win.
 
You can also visit Morgan's website.
Or purchase the books for yourself here.
 
Be certian to thank Morgan for her time today! I am excited to read this series, and I hope you are now too!
 
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cd5247/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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38 comments:

Rebecca F. said...

Wow! Great interview! I always love hearing about new fantasy to add to my reading list. J.R.R. Tolkien is by far one of my favorite authors too, and for many of the same reasons. Thanks so much for offering such a generous giveaway!

Shannon said...

Morgan, it was a blessing to meet you at ACFW last year--your first book has been on my TBR pile, but now I'm *really anxious to get to it! Beautiful excerpt ... wow. Thank you both for sharing!

(sdmcnear AT gmail DOT com)

P. Creeden said...

Hi Morgan! I follow that old saying, as well - when you can't find what you want to read - write it! :)

From plotting out to final draft - How long does it take you? Do you find time to write or plot each day?

Queen Ali said...

Wow! This looks so exciting! Thanks so much for this giveaway!

So, what is your favorite type of scene to write out?

Courtney said...

I think I might want to check these books out! They sound interesting. I have not heard about them yet and I am a fan of fantasy Christian literature. =)

Anne really helps us find other books that are in her genre. I really appreciate that.

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Pauline :)
I usually start keeping an idea folder for a story a couple years before I actually write it. It is there I put characters, scenes, and places.

When I am ready to start writing,I sit down and plot out the story (this takes me a couple days). I use a cork board and sticky notes. I see the storyboard as a map, something to keep me on track and what to write next (and to make sure I don't miss any plot thread or plants).

It took me a year to write Son of Truth because I had children home at the time. I am finding book three is going faster now that my children are in school.

I write for at least 2 hours a day on the weekdays, which comes out to be about 1,500-2,000 words, which is pretty good for me (I'm a slow writer :)

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Queen Ali,
Favorite scene to write? It usually depends on my mood. Some days I love to write description, especially when I really see and feel the place in my mind. Other days I enjoy the more emotional scenes. I will hear a piece of music and go, "Wow, that is exactly how Rowen would feel during this scene!"

And then there are those days when I just need to write a fight scene :)

Lynn Donovan said...

I am reading SOT now and enjoying it a lot. Love to hear you used to write plays and perform them! I did the same thing except I made hand puppets to perform and drug freezer boxes home for the stage. Lol. Love your writing, Morgan. Keep up the good work!

Gillian Adams said...

Morgan, I so enjoyed meeting you at ACFW last year! I'm looking forward to ordering my copy of Son of Truth. Your steampunk series sounds intriguing! Can you share any more tidbits about that, or is it top secret at the moment? :)

The Writer of Dream Things said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful giveaway and interview!

Now for the question: I'm an aspiring fantasy writer, and one thing I struggle with is the balance between fantastical elements and keeping a sense of realism in the story. For example, when a character is in a tight spot, I'm loathe to use some sort of magic to get them out of it all right. Do you encounter this struggle in your own writing, and if so, how do you deal with it?

Thanks so much once again for taking the time to stop by and answer all our questions! God bless!

Karin Neary said...

Morgan, you mention you are a plotter. Is there a particular method you use or book you would recommend for a recovering pantster?

Molly said...

Oh. My. Word.
Morgan, you are cruel. That excerpt. If I don't win these books, I am more than willing to buy these with no hesitation.

Thanks for the interview! You are like me in many ways in writing. A lot of my scripts and story idea come from music too, and I absolutely love to go someplace and use it for a scene in my book.
And you yourself! you are very much lovely!

Anne Elisabeth, thanks for holding the interview! I love seeing how different others write, and sometimes it does help me!

Question: What do you do when you get to a writer's block? Do you force yourself to push forward regardless and then smooth it over later, or do you have to think about it, or what?

Sam Graber said...

Looks like a cool series. I like the preview for Son of Truth.

Clara Darling said...

Ah! Here is yet another fantastic book that I simply must get!

Morgan: Do you keep yourself on track with a writing schedule, or do you just write when you have the time?

Thank you for this interview! And thank YOU Anne Elisabeth, for hosting it!

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Gillian!
Yes, it was so nice to meet you at the ACFW conference :)

I can share a few details: I came up with the idea when I saw a challenge a few years ago. The question was "can necromancy ever be used for good?" This story is my answer (don't want to give it away).

The story will revolve round two characters: a young woman from high society and a bounty hunter. The story takes place in a world that is one huge city (similar to London during the Victorian era). I'm really excited about it! But I need to wrap up this series first :)

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Writer,
It's great that you are looking at your story and not wanting magic to answer everything.

One way to counter this struggle is to know how the magic or power works in your story. And does every character have that power?

One thing I've learned in real life is God is all powerful, but He doesn't always save us, and sometimes He saves us in a way we were not expecting (a quiet way, without all the fireworks).

And sometimes a character chooses not to use his or her power. My main character, Rowen, has immense power, more than she realizes. I had a beta reader ask if I meant to have Rowen so powerful, almost like God. And my answer was yes. I wanted to explore what would it be like to have that much power, but how does one control it? Do you use it all the time? Is it right to use it?

These are the struggles Rowen runs into in Son of Truth. She could easily save herself in the short run by using her power, but in the long run it would damage her soul.

I also have 2 characters who have no power whatsoever. So they must find their way out of bad situations on their own. And sometimes they make the wrong choice. Or lean on their own strength. I know I'm guilty of this :) I'm stubborn, and that is sometimes a good thing, and sometimes a bad thing!

Sarah said...

O_o How have I not heard of these books? They sound very cool; if I don't win, I'll have to see if they're at my library.

Questions:
-Where do you usually write?
-Do you write first drafts on the computer/another electronic device or by hand?
(Not exactly writing-related, but . . .)
-If you could go to the world your novels take place in, would you?

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Karin!
I admire pantsers! Many of my friends are pantsers. The thought of plowing into a story without a plot scares the pants off of me ;)

In order for me to write, I need to know the beginning, the ending, and the main scenes. As I draw closer to actually writing the story, I start compiling all my research, character profiles, scene ideas, ect... I keep all these in a file that I fill over a couple years.

Then I sit down for a couple hours with different colored sticky notes and I write each scene on a sticky note. Each color is the pov character that I will view the scene from (POV is point of view for those of you who are readers :).

I pin the notes to a cork board in the order the story will go. This becomes my map. I still find surprises when I write, but I know where I am going, and don't miss some key plotlines, twists, or revelations.

I have a picture of my storyboard on my facebook page. You have to scroll down a little to find it (sorry, coulnd't post it here). Hope that helps!

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Sarah,
You all are asking such great questions!

I have a laptop, so that is where I usually write. I type faster than I ever could write by hand. As far as location, it is wherever I can take my laptop: the family office, my bed, couch, local coffee joint :) It helps to have a laptop so when am taking my kids to sports practice or waiting at a dentist office, I can still work.

I think I would enjoy visiting the world my characters live in. It would be a toss up between being a Nordic or an Avonain. The Nordics have all these cool tattoos. No, I don't have a tattoo (and don't plan to), but I find body art fascinating.

The Avonains are a special race of humans who are connected to the sea. They can feel the ocean's moods in their blood. And their eyes change to look like the sea (grey, blue, and green). I love the ocean and always wondered what it would be like to feel the ocean, to be connected to it.

However, I would never want to be an Eldaran (Rowen, my main character, is an Eldaran). I would rather be normal that to possess her powers. I write about her abilities, but I never want to actually experience them!

Jennette Mbewe said...

Morgan!! Hey this is exciting!
I finally got around to reading Daughter of Light, y'all got to check it out!

I love the corkboard idea and have asked my hubby to turn a wall into cork and dry erase board. We'll see how that goes :-)

I can't really think of a writing question, except about Rowen & Lore...did I read that correctly up there? Are you working on book three? Any hints about the story line? :-)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Morgan, great interview. I love the excerpt, too. Caleb's story is compelling, so I'm looking forward to Son.

Ironic that God put mountain-loving, ocean-loving you in Kansas. Sort of makes you think He has a sense of humor, doesn't it. ;-)

Becky

JillStengl said...

Thank you for the interview, Morgan. I just read Daughter of Light last week and already purchased Son of Truth for my Nook to enjoy the first chance I get. I was so excited to discover your stories!
Thank you for writing fantasy with a positive message. I'm recommending your books to all my fantasy-loving friends! :-)

brenda said...

Looking forward to reading Morgan's books!

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Jennette :)
I'll just say this: Book 3 will be a book of revelations. I will answer a lot of the questions I have planted throughout the series, such as what happened to the Eldarans and why was Rowen's father unable to stop the Shadonae? And of course, the final confrontation between Rowen and the Shadonae :)

morganlbusse.com said...

Haha! Yes, Becky, God definitely has a sense of humor :)

Jill: Thank you so much!

Molly said...

...I hope that you know I was kidding about you being cruel... :P But oh my goodness I am sooo going to read these as soon as I possibly can. :)

Kathrine Roid said...

It would be great to start reading another MLP author! My question for you: How do you define success as a writer? I've been thinking about this personally, deciding on what my goals as a writer are. In other careers, many define success financially. If writers did that there would be a lot of unhappy writers! So what is your personal definition?

morganlbusse.com said...

Haha. No worries, Molly. I said the same thing to Anne ;)

Katherine, I love to write. And if my words touch another person, all the better. I love receiving emails from people telling me what part of the story touched them, or what character they related to. Or mothers who write to me and tell me that their teenage daughters love my book.

That is success for me. Knowing my writing touched someone :)

Galadriel said...

Thanks for hosting these giveaways

Hannah said...

How very interesting! I haven't heard of this series before! The story plots sound very intriguing, and I loved the excerpt with Caleb.

Music is one of my greatest inspirations for stories as well! What genre of music inspires you the most?

What time period would you say your stories are based on?

Thank you for taking the time for this interview and for the generous giveaway.

Becky said...

Thank you for Morgan for the interview,the cliff-hanging excerpt, and the generous giveaway! These do sound like exciting stories. I love to read about the author's heart behind her story, and the methods used for inspiration. I'm not a writer, but my daughter is, and she is very inspired by music. Thanks, Anne, for introducing another author of thought provoking fantasy. I give thanks to God for using both of you ladies as salt and light to your readers!

morganlbusse.com said...

Thank-you ladies :)

I love all sorts of music! From classical to soundtracks to techno to gothic metal lol. Different music evokes different emotions and images that I use when I am writing.

Hannah, the time period would be medieval, but I don't strictly adhere to medieval. I also blend Norse and Middle Eastern culture into my story.

Meredith said...

To Mrs. Busse:

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your series and writing process. The excerpt about Caleb was very intriguing, and I loved how the woman's touch allowed him to see different aspects of his life. What piece of music inspires Caleb's character? I love how music inspires your creativity. It does mine as well, particularly classical, operatic and Broadway show tunes.
I am blind, so is your series available in audio? Thanks again and God bless you.

Thank you, Mrs. Stengl, for featuring all these wonderful authors. I actually purchased the audio version of Prophet (by D.J. Larson) and am excited to read it. God bless and have a wonderful weekend.

Janice said...

Hi Morgan,

Your series sounds very interesting! I cannot wait to start the first book!

How many books are you planning to write for this series?

morganlbusse.com said...

Hi Meredith,
I hope to have my series available in audio, but that might be a while yet due to time. Thanks for asking!

Hi Janice,
This series is a 3 book series, so I have one more book to go. I hope to release it sometime next year :)

Rae said...

Wow! These books are definitely now on my summer reading list! They look amazing; I can't believe I hadn't heard of them before. Anne Elisabeth, thanks so much for hosting this interview so we can know about the series! And thanks Mrs. Busse for the wonderful escerpt and for answering all our questions. :)

Stacy C said...

I am ordering these books from the library right now. :) Thank you for offering the giveaway! Your books sound amazing.

Lacee Hogg said...

I just bought your first book! Can't wait to read it!