The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Alathia Paris Morgan
Alyson – Hi Alathia and welcome to the Horror Tree.Can you tell us something about your roots and upbringing?
Alathia – I was raised in a very religious home environment and was home-schooled until college. My love of books grew from all of the places that I could read about without having to leave home. I was always curious about how each story would end and even did intensive research because of several historical fiction series I found. Moving 35 times by the time I finished college, it was becoming difficult to move my growing collection. Until college I had mostly read only Christian fiction or historical biographies, so when I branched into fantasy and then thrillers – my collection grew again.
Alyson – Growing up what books did you read? And love?
Alathia – The Hardy Boys was my favourite series and I still have them today. Bodie Thoene’s Zion series led me to other books about WWII and fed my love of history.
Alyson – How did you get started writing? Is it something you’ve always done? Or wanted to do?
Alathia – I started writing in Junior H igh and High School and I had two different stories started, but then I went to college and got busy writing papers. With my love of reading, a logical step would have been to become a writer, but I didn’t think I could ever be published, because it was such a long process. When my brother got cancer and passed away, I knew then that life was way too short to wait around so I did NaNoWriMo and looked into self-publishing. I’m in the process of transitioning from my writing being a part-time hobby to a full-time writer.
Alyson – What drew you to writing horror?
Alathia – To be perfectly honest, I hate horror and scary books or movies. I didn’t like Stephen King and zombies are just so gross. I didn’t even watch ‘The Walking Dead’ T.V. show, but my husband and oldest daughter did. I happen to be going by whilst they watched and got sucked into the story. There weren’t even that many zombies (!) and so I ventured in, cautiously. Four days and four seasons later, I was a super fan. They didn’t do things the way I wanted, so I started writing my own series with zombies. Now, I manage to write, without cringing nearly as much.
Alyson – Do you have a writing routine? Daily? On the go? Pen or pc or ipad? Study or corner of a sofa?
Alathia – I’m working on a routine, but it’s more like fast and furious for about two weeks and then I take a break to clean the house and promote things, (such as do interviews- I planned on doing much earlier) and catch up on my reading. I have started using dictation when I’m out of the house and waiting around for the kids, but the computer is my go to and it is in the middle of the living room so I can keep an eye on everything.
Alyson – You mention online participating in a NANOWRIMO Camp – which is also a big writing event in the UK- during November. Was this an important step for you as a developing writer? And did what you write become a novel?
Alathia – NaNoWriMo was the first time I knew there were people out there who wrote that fast. I honestly had no idea how to do it, but since my brother had passed away only weeks before, I decided that the camp would be my best bet to finish a story. It actually took two camps, but it got finished and I pushed the button in 2015.
Alyson – Can you tell us about your publishing experiences? Both the good and the bad? Any advice for writers?
Alathia – The bad thing was I had no idea what I was doing when I was trying to publish my first book. I even changed one character’s name mid-book. Yep, it was horrible! I didn’t have a good editor and after two tries and three books, I finally found one that not only does an amazing job, but could fix the mistakes I’d done. The good thing about writing is that the stories keep coming and I can’t write fast enough to get them all out of my head. I write a summary down and then keep working on my current work in progress. My advice would be- write and worry about the editing when you are finished with it, but do keep writing. You can always go back and correct something later, but it won’t write itself. Do your research because there are a lot of amazing writers out there who are willing to help.
Alyson – You mention having a mammoth book collection (over 6000 books!), so who are your favourite authors – currently? And do you read many horror books?
Alathia – I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nora Roberts, Laurell K. Hamilton, Lisa Jackson, S. M. Shade, Bianca Sommerland, Ellie Midwood and many more. I switched to e-readers about the time I started writing and didn’t realize I’d been missing out on so many amazing authors just because they weren’t available to buy in book stores. I now read a mix of both paperbacks and kindle books, since I read at least a book a week and sometimes more.
Alyson – How much does music and/or film inspire or influence your writing or even your mood as you write? (One of my favourite films was World War Z- what did you think?)
Alathia – I love listening to music, while I write, but it doesn’t really do much to influence me except for providing background noise. I do like to watch movies that I’ve seen before and don’t have to pay attention to also while I write. When writing ‘Infected Waters: A Titanic Disaster’, I watched the Titanic movie about 50 times just for atmosphere and have started watching ‘World War Z’ for this latest zombie book.
Alyson – How much research do you do for your novels?
(You have the very successful Nova Ladies Series- is Nova by any chance an anagram of Avon? Just a wild guess- and the Zombies series-the latest of which is the third book- ‘Co-Eds Against Zombies’ (available on Amazon)
Alathia – Yes, the Nova ladies is Avon spelled backwards. 🙂 I do some research, but it really just depends on which book I’m working on and how much I know about the subject.
Alyson – Writing is a solitary business- do you network in person or online with other writers? Do you go
Alathia – I do lots of networking, but I don’t really have anyone look at my writing until it goes to the editor. I spend hours on Facebook talking and posting, when I should be writing! I have a love/hate relationship with people. I need to be around people, but then I can hide away for a weekend just reading with no problem.
Alyson – How important has social media been to your career as a writer? (You have an impressive number of followers on twitter @alathiamg)
Alathia – Social media has been a huge source of inspiration and help to me, learning from other writers from their ideas, motivation and promotion. There are still things I’m learning about social media, but you have to be engaged with other people to gain a following. Just promotion interaction solely doesn’t bring people in to read your books.
Alyson – How long does each novel take for you to write? Are you a planner with a spreadsheet for plot or more of a let’s plunge in and do this?
Alathia – My first books took about 6 months each, but I’ve finally gotten it down to just a month or so. I hope to get a little faster as I get better at it. I’ve been a pantser—writing by the seat of my pants from the beginning, but I’m slowly learning how to make an outline and it makes my binge writing much easier so that I don’t have to stop nearly as often because I get stuck. I take an idea and do a summary. I think over the idea for a few days or weeks adding to it until I’m ready to jump into it.
Alyson – What advice would you give aspiring (horror) writers? Any top tips?
Alathia – Write, write, write. Find your tribe—genre and stick with them and just write. Every day for ten minutes or two hours, whatever you can spare until you type The End.
Alyson – What are your future writing plans? What’s your next book?
Alathia – ‘Churches Against Zombies’ will be out later this fall, along with a short story in ‘The Undead World Anthology’. I am also working on a pen name to write romance novels with a little spice. There might be a superhero-zombie novel in the works as well.
Alyson – Where can readers follow you on line and contact you?
Alathia Paris Morgan Stalker Links:
Author page: www.facebook.com/apmorganbooks
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1442476186066361/
Website & Newsletter signup: www.alathiamg.wix.com/books
Pepper Paris https://www.facebook.com/PepperParisAuthor