Author Interview Questions
1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!
A: I’m an avid outdoor enthusiast, a devoted family man, and my life is guided by my faith. I try to smile as often as possible, and I am a firm believer that ice cream is one of the best medicines ever invented.
2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!
A: I’m a storyteller. I love good stories, and I see the world and people as an immense library of stories I haven’t yet experienced. If I lived in earlier times, I’d probably be a minstrel (although my family will attest to how badly I sing – so maybe just a roving storyteller). I tell stories that I love to read, and I’m my own biggest fan.
The best part about writing is connecting with people. I love knowing that my stories make a positive impact, even if it’s just to entertain or help someone forget about a difficult day.
3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?
A: I write big, exciting stories, with lots of action and big casts of unique characters, who I push to the uttermost limits. I write YA fantasy and sci-fi/fantasy time travel thrillers.
My YA fantasy series is Big Magic, Big Adventure, and Lots of Humor. It’s growing in popularity, and it’s a blast to read. Book three in the series – No Stone Unturned – is already out as an ebook, and we’re holding the launch party for the paperback and hardcover release on Friday, December 16th.
For my time travel thrillers, think Mission Impossible meets Assassin’s Creed. These are world-spanning adventures that travel back in time with shadowy groups fueled by soul-based powers, who battle for control over pivotal moments in history in order to command the power necessary to reshape the future. Sarah is the strong female lead, supported by a deep cast of unique characters. History is not what the books claim it is, and I love exploring history, then giving it a twist. Many fascinating historical characters are woven into the books. Spartacus is my favorite, and there’s a reason his body was never found.
4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?
A: Many genres fascinate me, and I have also begun an epic fantasy series, which I hope to begin releasing next year. I decided to go YA first and release Set in Stone, book one of The Petralist because it’s such an exciting and fun read. People love the humor and they are fascinated by the complex, unique magic system based on rocks. Pure fun.
5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?
A: It’s tough balancing all the different demands on my time, and like many new authors, I was shocked by how much work needs to be done, even after completing a solid first draft. Now that I’ve released six novels, I’m getting the hang of it, and the challenge is to manage my time, wear all the different hats I need to, without losing my focus on writing great stories and loving the process.
6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?
A: I love holding my books in my hand. There’s a magic moment when the first book arrives in the mail and I open the box. Readers love books, but only authors understand how much that book really cost, or how much of a victory it is to see it in print. Besides that, I love talking with readers about my stories, learning about how they touched lives, and laughing over our favorite jokes or most powerful moments.
7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?
A: Many new writers get discouraged when they learn that writing is actually a job – as in, some days it’s hard to sit down and get to work. People love the concept of a mystical Muse hovering over their shoulder, whispering deeper truths that they as the Artist are privileged to write. Some author struggle with the fact that some days, the Muse doesn’t want to focus. Reality is, if the Muse isn’t working, she’s fired. I write every day, and writers must develop a ton of self-discipline or they’ll never get anything done.
With that said, I love being a writer! Balancing my writing with my day job is a challenge, but I’ve been writing for about a dozen years, so I’m getting pretty good at that balancing act. On days when I get discouraged, I remind myself that if I wasn’t writing, I’d have to be working at some other job, and why would I want to do that when I love what I do so much?
The other big challenge is learning to turn it off, to focus on family, church, or whatever else. It’s all too easy to become a workaholic or lose touch with the people around me that I love the most. Gotta find that balance.
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?
A: You’re right. It can be tough. It’s a journey, so I try to take the long-term view. Like any career, it takes years to become an acknowledged expert. When I get discouraged, I remind myself that if I was trying to become a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer, I’d be investing at least 8 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in getting started. As a writer, I need to be willing to invest just as much – in thousands of hours of writing, in perhaps millions of words of practice and first drafts that may just get thrown away in order to rewrite yet again.
But a good story is worth it. Writing and sacrificing and bleeding our souls onto the page is worthless if we’re not willing to do the work to rewrite, edit, polish, and produce professional-quality products that readers can enjoy.
9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?
A: I write more fantasy than anything, and I love its flexibility, breadth, and scope. I can explore deep and meaningful topics with fantasy that might be difficult in other genres. Fantasy, and fiction in general, allow us to go where ‘reality’ might be too painful, to discuss topics that should be discussed, in ways that are fun and engaging. Some readers don’t get the deeper meanings of stories, and that’s fine – the story must first and foremost entertain. If we can do more than that, all the better.
For example, in my YA fantasy series, readers love the magic, the amazing adventures, the cool characters, and the ever-present humor. But I also get to explore questions of loyalty, among other things. I have characters who must face off across battlefields against people they respect or even love, who happen to live on the other side of a political boundary and are therefore classified as enemies. I have characters who must decide which loyalty trumps others. Is it loyalty to family, to community, to nation, or to the one you love? And what happens when those conflict? Or if someone you care about is driven by their loyalties to make choices that place them in opposition?
In my time travel thrillers – The Facetakers – the series is named after a group who have the ability to extract human souls by pulling their faces off. They can then place those souls in other bodies. So I get to explore all sorts of fascinating aspects of identity, body image, and questions of what makes a person who they are. It’s a lot of fun.
10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.
A: Now that No Stone Unturned is released, I’ll be focusing on releasing the final novel in my Facetakers series early in 2017. It’s going to be awesome – with the threat of a new world war, while also traveling back to ancient China and ancient Egypt.
Next year, I’ll be working on writing drafts of all three of the remaining Petralist novels. The story line is growing very complex, with lots of epic and humorous adventures still to come. I plan to release at least one more of those novels next year, with the last two following as closely behind as possible. I’ll probably release some short stories and/or novellas set in that same world.
I hope to begin releasing novels in my epic fantasy series as well, and who knows what else? Should be a really good year!
11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?
A: I think the only thing we can say for sure is that the publishing industry is undergoing fundamental changes. So I expect to see the market continue to evolve, and hope to be a part of whatever shape it ends up in.
The great thing about today’s world is that anyone can publish a book. The biggest challenge about today’s world is that anyone can publish a book. There’s a daunting percentage of self-published books out there that are honestly terrible. Or more accurately – not yet complete.
New writers sometimes begin releasing novels before they’re ready, without investing in editing, rewriting, and other aspects of producing a polished, professional product. I hope that tendency wanes and more new writers make the transition to professional quality, but how we’ll get there, I’m not sure.
I love being an indy author, although even as prepared as I was to jump into this world, I’ve been a little overwhelmed at times by how many hats we have to wear. I’d be happy to sign the right deal with a traditional publisher for some of my next books and become a hybrid author. I think there are pros and cons to every approach, but I think that route is perhaps the best option ultimately.
12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: I love to read! I wish I had more time to read for pleasure. Current favorite authors include Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, and Jim butcher. I also know a ton of new writers, and am eager to pick up some of their books over the holidays. Near the top of the list is Grave Beginnings (Yup – shameless plug for your books – can’t wait to read them!)
13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?
A: I think I over-use the word Awesome, although I try to limit that in my writing. I’ve caught myself using quite a few words too much, but I think I’m getting better at catching those errors.
I tend to avoid cursing, as I see too many people use that as a crutch. I prefer laughing at myself and the craziness life tends to throw at us. I find it keeps me more positive than cursing or crying would.
14: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!
A: I’m pretty much everywhere (in a non-creepy way).
My website is www.frankmorin.org and it’s got a lot of cool materials including my newsletter sign-up page, my books, blog, and large gallery of cool photos I’ve gathered.
I’m also on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Morin/e/B00LYQCQH4 and you can find all my books there. Most of my novels are on sale as ebooks right now, so it’s a great time to try them out.
And my books are on Nook, Kobo, iTunes, and all the other retailer sites.
My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/authorfrankmorin
On Twitter, I’m @MorinWrites
My newsletter sign-up page is: http://smarturl.it/f704r6
Thanks for having me on, Ronnie. It’s been a pleasure!
Frank Morin loves good stories in every form. When not writing or trying to keep up with his active family, he’s often found hiking, camping, Scuba diving, or traveling to research new books. Frank lives in Oregon with his lovely wife and four kids, who are all brutal critics, but die-hard fans. For updates on his sci-fi time travel thrillers, his popular YA fantasy novels, or other upcoming book releases, check his website: www.frankmorin.org