Monday, August 30, 2010

Spotlight Author with Sarah Morgan

Getting back into the swing of things… school has been in session for a couple of weeks, dance is back in full swing for my daughter and everything is starting to fall into place. Maybe now, I will be able to get back to work on my writing like I have been aching to do. This week I have author Sarah Morgan with me.

Tell us a little bit about the line that you write for and your latest (or) upcoming release.

I write fast-paced, sexy, emotionally intense romance for Harlequin Presents (Mills and Boon Modern in the UK). My next release is One Night – Nine Month Scandal and it will be on the shelves in the US late August, July in the UK.

I love writing strong alpha heroes. The hero of my latest release, Greek tycoon Alekos Zagorakis, is ruthless, driven and powerful whereas my heroine, Kelly, is a schoolteacher whose priority is her class of young children. In trying to rebuild her life after Alekos failed to turn up on their wedding day, Kelly decides to finally dispose of his ring and in doing so makes a fundamental mistake ......

Exploring the relationship between these two very different characters was tremendous fun. Alekos is so confident and sure of himself, very much in control of his world. Handling people has never been a problem for him but Kelly presents a challenge that leaves him floundering. I hope readers will enjoy their story!

I also write for Harlequin Medical and have a release out this summer called Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? (the answer is yes, by the way!)

How many books do you have under your writing belt?

54. Now I know why I’m tired!

Did you receive rejection letters during your journey to become published? If yes what is your best advice to someone who’s received their first one?

Rejection is part of the business. I received two rejections before I was published, but both contained detailed information on how I could improve. I buried my disappointment and listened to what those editors were saying.

My advice to others would be to treat rejections as part of the learning process. Don’t let it stop you writing. Its easy to be discouraged in this business but if you write because you love it, because telling stories is part of who you are, then rejection won’t stop you. If you’re lucky enough to be given specific feedback then turn off the natural desire to defend your work and listen.

If you had to pick one character in your books, who would be your favorite? And why. Or if you don’t want to pick a favorite… which one do you connect with the most? And why?

I have to connect with the characters I’m writing about and care about them, so my favourites tend to be the ones I’m writing about at the moment. Having said that I really enjoyed creating the character of Kelly, my heroine from One Night – Nine Month Scandal because she presents such a challenge to the hero. Watching her create utter confusion in the life of an otherwise confident, controlling alpha male was entertaining. Creating contrasting characters and seeing them interact can be tremendous fun. I also have a very soft spot for Evie, my heroine from my upcoming Christmas release The Twelve Nights of Christmas. She’s the sort of down-to-earth girl I’d welcome into my circle of friends anytime.

When I write I have to listen to music. Does music or anything else influence your writing? If so what do you like to listen to while you’re writing?

I frequently listen to music when I write. Music can definitely inspire me, but it can also distract so if I find myself listening to the music rather than working, I turn it off. I use it to set the scene, to create atmosphere. I want music to push me deeper into my imaginary world, not pull me out. I still have rainforest music on my iPod from the time I wrote a Presents set in the Brazilian rainforest (nothing more relaxing the sound of rain falling through trees) and I have music that transports me straight to the Arabian desert if I need inspiration for a romantic Sheikh story.

I use different songs for different scenes, depending on the mood. I use music to enhance the creative experience. What I listen to varies – everything from Paramour to Puccini. For my last book the playlist included The Fray, Lifehouse, Parachute, Mozart, Enya, Coldplay, Within Temptation and Chopin.

In terms of influence – music, books, films, plays, conversation and observing human behaviour all have an influence on my writing.

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s daily life.

To an observer it’s fairly boring. No feather boas, no lying in the sun dreaming (well, some of that but only when I’ve met a deadline), just long hours spent alone at a computer screen. Writing requires buckets of self-motivation and the willingness to work hard day after day (and sometimes night after night) no matter what obstacles life throws in your path. I set myself a minimum daily word count because that works for me. I know that providing I stick to the word count I don’t have to worry about the deadline and I can then fit the intrusions of real life around the writing without panicking. In reality I tend to write during ‘office hours’ and then again late evening. I do whatever the book needs. If a book is going well I’m going to have more weekends off than if it’s a struggle.

Of course a writer’s life isn’t all about the writing and a book isn’t produced in solitary confinement. It’s a team effort. I have a great editor who always challenges me to think about what I’m writing and pushes me to give my best. And the work doesn’t stop with the book. Writers have to balance writing with promotion. Updating the website, writing blogs and social networking are just some examples of the extra demands on time.

Then there are the ‘human’ parts to being a writer – the bit where you get to meet people. Going to conferences, meeting your editor, meeting up with other writers – all great fun. But a writer’s life is about writing. If you take too much time away from your desk you won’t have anything to promote!

Does writing ever get any easier?

It’s easy in the sense that there is no other job I’d rather be doing and I know how lucky I am to be published. But if you’re going to be professional and meet your deadlines, then you have to be self-motivated and work hard. As for the writing itself - some books flow and others bump along leaving you bruised and exhausted. It isn’t easy but I know how privileged I am to be able to earn my living this way and I love it.

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

Be determined.

Be resilient.

Be prepared to work hard and revise your manuscript.

Be nice to others J

Now tell us a little bit about Sarah Morgan. Who are you? What do you do when you’re not writing hunky heroes and romantic love stories?

Writing is sedentary and isolating, so when I’m not writing I tend to be active and sociable! I spend time with my friends and family, I spend time outdoors cycling or walking, I read, I go to the movies, I cook and just generally enjoy life. I find it’s often when I’m away from my computer that the best ideas come.

Thank you for sharing yourself with us here at Micole Writes Romance. Where can our readers find out more about you and where they can get your books?

Thanks for having me here Micole! The best place to find out more is my website and readers can buy my books in store and online at all the usual places!

Stop by next week for another great author interview!




Sherry D. said...

Hi Micole,

I love being able to gain some insights into other writers' lives. Thanks for asking Sarah the questions I'd ask. She seems like a very balanced person!

Sheri Humphreys said...

What a great interview! I especially loved Sarah's description of how she manages her time. I guess 54 books attests to it working. Sheri

Micole Black said...

Sherry D. & Sheri H. Thank you both for stoping by to read the interview. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

See you next time!



Sarah Morgan said...

Hi there Sherry – I’m endlessly fascinated by the way other authors work, too. I’m always hoping to learn some magic trick I’ve missed that will make it all so much easier .

Sheri – glad you enjoyed the interview. Somehow my working day seems to produce the goods although there are plenty of times when I have no idea how. Juggling family and a job is never easy as plenty of us know.

Micole, thanks again for the interview!
Love Sarah

Ginny M. Christensen said...

Hello Sarah,
Thanks for giving us some insight into your daily life. Wow-45 books, what an accomplishment. How many years has it taken to get to this point? What happened to the first two books you wrote, I think you said your third ms was published? Did you find an agent or submit directly to Harlequin and were they your target?

Micole, great interview, once again. Thanks for bringing us such an accomplished author. Keep 'em coming!


Sarah Morgan said...

Ginny, I've been published for almost ten years.

Those first two books? I confess that I ditched them. Although the comments from the editors who kindly read them were positive and helpful, I chose to start fresh with new characters and conflict. That worked for me at the time. Now, I rarely ditch anything. If something isn't working I just file it and sometimes I go back to it with a fresh perspective.

I didn't use an agent. I submitted directly to Harlequin and yes, they were my target.

Take care all!