Morgan Summerfield is talking with me today about herself along with her books "Among Us" and "Blood and Magnolias" along with alot of other things about herself as well.
1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Winston Churchill’s phrase ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’ would seem to apply nicely to me—at least as I am perceived by others. I am quiet and not overly free with sharing information about myself to people I do not know. I have always been an introvert by nature. However, I have been learning to be a bit less restrictive with ‘sharing’ since I became an author. I am a mother, grandmother, artist, author, speaker, and teacher—a total flake to some people and a wildly creative creature to others. I have worked in a variety of fields and industries, first because I love to learn new things and second because I was a facilitator/teacher consultant and I went wherever the work took me. My tastes are eclectic in most things, and I am a sucker for anything unusual or unique.
Who am I inside? I am a woman who has discovered my calling and my personal power, but it took years to get here. My beginnings were dark as are those of my characters, but I now walk in the light. I accept myself and others for exactly who we are—flawed humans struggling to find our way through life. We all have a path, we just need to open our eyes and find it.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a painter, an avid DIYer, and I volunteer with local non-profits. I also like to do Sidewalk Fusion, which people these days are calling Dance Walking. I was doing it before it was considered a ‘new fitness craze.’ I wrote an article about it and anyone interested can find it here http://voices.yahoo.com/burn-more-calories-squash-boredom-sidewalk-8651397.html. I like staying active whether that activity is in my body or my brain—activities that provide both are my favorites. I am often writing in my head while I am out walking.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
No routine is the routine. I never know when the writing ‘bug’ will bite me. It does have a nasty habit of buzzing in my ears in the wee hours of the morning. My book Blood and Magnolias ‘possessed’ me for almost 9 months 24/7. I would crash when I couldn’t keep my eyes open then go back at it after 4 or 5 hours of sleep sometimes in the middle of the day on the floor. However, the Colony Series regularly had me up at 2:00 am and I would write until the sun came up then it would be quiet until the next morning when it would strike with a vengeance.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
I wish I could nail that down. They come from everywhere. I might have a dream. I might see something or someone that triggers a thought. I might have a personal experience that compels me to put it to paper. The world is filled with ideas just waiting to become. There are ‘Newton’s apples’ hitting me in the head all the time. When I was out for my run/walk a couple mornings ago, someone stopped me and asked a question. It was an ‘off the wall’ kind of question—for which I had a snappy comeback—but it set off a whole chain reaction of thinking that led to a short story which I will be publishing on my website and at YahooVoices in a couple of weeks (I have been posting bits of it on my personal Facebook page as a preview). That is just one example of how inspiration finds me.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
The Colony Series are my favorites. Book 1, Among Us released this month (July, 2013). The Colony stories have most captivated me. The saga evolved into four books, and I see the potential for offshoots about characters, history, and locations. Colony is a place I would like to live—once all the turmoil is settled. It is open and truthful. Bias, bigotry, jealousy, and greed are not tolerated. I would not, however, want to be my heroine. She faces so much for the good of all. Her trials and tribulations are more than a mere human could endure. I admire her and understand her exceedingly well. I think there will be many women who can identify with her and the things that created her. They will see themselves in her.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
As I mentioned earlier, I have worked in many different fields because of that hungry ‘I want to learn’ element in my brain. I worked construction for a time building custom homes, and I still help out some of my builder friends when they are short handed. I can cut lumber, build walls, pour concrete, hang and finish drywall, and put on a roof. I have a pair of well worn steel toed shoes, a pair of paint spattered rugged jeans, and a favorite plaid shirt—oh, and my multi-tool is always in my pocket or on my belt. I can be such a ‘guy’ some times.
7. Are any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
Many of my characters are built on the framework of people I have known, and some of the stories incorporate ‘situations’ that I have experienced. However, the stories are fiction about fictional characters. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental, and I’m sticking to that.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
MUSIC is her name. I wrote most of the Colony Series under the influence of Enigma, Delerium, and Blackmill. If you listen to them, you will get a true feel for the stories—other worldly, spiritual, sensual, dark, delirious, and dreamlike. Music gives my stories rhythm and sensation as it evokes emotion, which can range from sorrow to ecstasy and everything in between. Every book I write will have a playlist to go with it. If the reader listens to the music, it will enhance the reading experience by setting the tone.
Blood and Magnolias playlist http://www.bloodandmagnolias.com/Playlist.htm
Among Us playlist http://aretheyamongus.com/AmongUsPlaylist.htm
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I have no specific genre. My first book was considered Southern Gothic, the Colony Series is Earthbound Fantasy that has been specifically identified as Epic Fantasy, and the story that will follow the series, Harvest of the Innocents is a Mystery/Suspense. I will go where the story leads. I was told by a professor and a publisher that, “You can’t do that (write in multiple genre or media),” which only made me more determined to do it. I don’t subscribe to the idea of can’t! I don’t do formula fiction and I never will.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
I don’t have much time to read these days. Most of my reading is for business or for research, so I can’t say that there is anyone in particular today. I did enjoy Debbie Ford’s book, ‘The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.’ Debbie is no longer with us, but the book is one I recommend to people who are struggling in life. And, I will always be a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. They were my ‘best friends’ growing up.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Elaine from the Colony Series is my favorite female character. I spent much time with her, and she is built on elements of my own personality. She is a character that ‘bloomed’ through the ‘concrete’ so to speak. She had a rough start in life and kept going down wrong roads. Things looked bleak for her at the beginning of the story, but her world literally changed, and she became a different person. She is a role model and a hero showing strength and determination in the face of adversity. Yet, she is feeling and fallible.
Max is my favorite male character from the Colony Series. I would so like to meet someone like him. In the first book, no one is sure if he is a ‘good’ guy or a ‘bad’ guy and there is still some lingering question about him in book 2. However, he is always calm, very seductive, compassionate, powerful without being overly aggressive, and highly intelligent—oh, and did I say good looking in a strange, exotic, not of this world way. I am also very taken with one of his ‘brothers’ from book 4, vavavoom.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Promoting the work is the hardest for me and for many writers. Writers would rather be writing. We like to be inside our own heads, and many of us are introverts. It is a lesson we must learn—self promotion. The other hard part for me is waiting for edits, approvals, proofs, whatever is holding back the process. I want to get it done and move one. I guess that makes me impatient.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Start writing and write every day. Practice, practice, practice. If it is what you know you ‘must’ do (for many of us it is a calling), never surrender, never give up. Keep writing and develop a ‘thick skin’ for there will always be people with negative things to say. Explore feedback, see if it leads to improvements, make improvements, and keep moving forward. Ignore people who are only interested in making themselves look better at your expense or who can’t see beyond ‘the box.’ If I had a nickel for every rejection, scathing comment, or cynical remark I have received, I would be spending this winter in Hawaii.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I would be traveling around the world experiencing and learning from other cultures. Maybe the Peace Corp or Doctors Without Borders. I enjoy helping people, and I am fascinated by new knowledge. I would be a student of life flying free if I didn’t have so many people dependent on me staying right where I am.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
A cabin or chalet on a mountainside or high cliff somewhere secluded in the forest or overlooking the ocean with a balcony or deck and a lounge bed for lingering beneath the heavens. A night sky, a soft warm breeze, a fledgling moon, the scent of jasmine, and a passionate partner who understands the concept of making it last would be icing on the ‘cake.’ If there is anyone out there willing to supply this, please let me know. I can update my passport. : ) Just kidding. : )
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
Blood and Magnolias http://www.bloodandmagnolias.com/Purchase.htm
If your recipe for Southern Gothic reads: capture the southern feel, keep the gothic suggestive, stir in plenty of spice, boil with tension, and leave out the vampires, Blood and Magnolias may be the perfect dish to satisfy your reading hunger. Indulge yourself in hefty portions of steamy passion, ruthless action, and unthinkable betrayal.
Blood and Magnolias was my first ‘child’ and she is barely one year old. Readers extol her qualities of seductiveness, unpredictability, and daring. If you like your romance hot, twisted, and anything but traditional, this is a story you should read. I could tell you how pleasurable it is, but readers say it better: "...WOW!...", "...I felt as if I lived the adventure…”, "...This book will grab you and not let go...", "...I did not want the story to end...", "...Suspense, drama, lust, intrigue, love and a little magic thrown in for good measure...", "...A new voice with an interesting bent..." Don’t wait another minute to find what they found. http://www.bloodandmagnolias.com/Purchase.htm Free to Amazon Prime members.
Among Us, Book 1 of the Colony Series https://www.createspace.com/4255816
Elaine’s past is filled with unspeakable events that have twisted and skewed her perspectives. Addictive tendencies, a quick temper, an overachiever’s intensity, and a fragile core despite her outward tenacity have placed her in a precarious position in life and love. Her spouse has turned abusive, and this is dredging up emotions from her childhood—which was far more than unpleasant.
A strange new relationship that appears all business on the surface is fraught with deception and risk, but she cannot see it. Her unusual behavior is setting off alarms in those who know her and care for her, and there is worry over the possibility she is falling into an old destructive pattern. The reader will be constantly questioning where reality crosses into imagination and just who is shifting that boundary. Join her on the journey. https://www.createspace.com/4255816 Available at Amazon week of 7/22/2013. For Colony Series release dates: www.aretheyamongus.com.
Genre: This series has been classified as Epic Fantasy for Adults. Fantasy as in something that is produced by the imagination. Epic as in long story about exciting events or adventures that take place in a world-within-a-world as part of the primary world. Adult as in recommended for mature audiences due to all those things that are not for kids—LSV. To further classify, I would add the word ‘female’ to the genre definition—Female Epic Fantasy for Adults. Female as in there is a heroine rather than a hero. While the genre of Epic Fantasy has been considered a male dominated area, the boundaries of that genre have been stretched in the past by a few pioneers and are being stretched further by modern day authors. I am proud to be one of them. This is NOT a ‘swords and sorcerers’ of medieval times story. It is a modern day tale of the possibilities that lie within us and one woman’s self discovery that opens onto a new world. If you enjoy earthbound fantasy, strong characters, and unpredictability, this series is an excellent choice. www.aretheyamongus.com
Awakenings, Book 2, The Colony Series (Colony Series release dates: www.aretheyamongus.com)
Are we simply bits of jetsam tossed about by the chaos of the universe or is there something setting our course? Nearly a year has passed since Elaine’s encounter with Max and book 2 begins by revealing the effect of that encounter. Once the reveal is achieved, the story skips twenty years into an uncertain future. The world is changing and not for the better. Critical mass is approaching, and all that was foretold is about to be set in motion through a series of evolutions involving all the characters.
The truth is set free in each of them. Some of the truths bring surprise, some bring elation, but one brings turmoil, deception, and pain. What had been in the past a straight forward event, unfettered and joyful, has evolved into a bizarre set of anomalies not all of which are understood or accepted.
Elaine and Travis spent twenty happy years together attempting to make a difference in the lives of others, fighting the good fight. Travis has come to be well known for his ability to create change and Elaine has done nothing less than support his efforts every inch of the way. Yet, despite what they desire, their paths are about to turn away from each other.
The road Elaine must take is paved with pain and leads into fearsome darkness, but she is duty driven to travel it. As she lays foot to that path, there is no certainty of the outcome or of her ability to fulfill her mission. Unsure yet committed, she willingly walks into the heart of the enemy in more ways than one. Even she wonders if she is up to the challenge.
I also write a variety of articles for YahooVoices. A list of them can be found at http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/333/morgan_summerfield.html
Last words: Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to introduce myself and my work. As a reader, as well as a writer, I understand how difficult it can be to find something worth reading with over 500 books coming onto the market every day and all the slick promotions that bombard the media. That is why I do my best to ensure my readers have an experience to remember. I want my readers to see my name on the cover and know it is something worth their investment of time and money. As an author, I am here to stay. The Colony Series already has ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ waiting to join it on the bookshelf. I leave you with these words, “Every day you have the choice to change yourself and your world. When you wake up tomorrow do something you’ve never done before, even if it is something small. Life is short. Embrace it with passion.”