Thursday, September 11, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Alexis Morgan

The Write Way Café welcomes author Alexis Morgan, who explains why writing is like walking through fog.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?

I met my first published writer, Janice Kay Johnson, about twenty-five years ago and became fascinated by what she was doing. She introduced me to the wonderful world of romance novels of all kinds. Eventually, because of my intense interest, she encouraged me to try my own hand at writing a romance and mentored me through the whole process. Most people can’t point to the one person who dramatically changed their lives, but Janice did that for me. We still brainstorm ideas and support each other in our writing.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy romance trilogy, and when this idea started to come together for me, I had several long talks with my agent and with my friend Janice to flesh out the concept and how the trilogy should be structured. Once I had that figured out, I researched a bunch of different topics.  I started off by reading a lot about life in medieval castles and towns. Then I studied the clothing of different eras to decide how my people would dress. I read up on scrying and on swords. I studied pictures of gargoyles and read about Irish wolfhounds. I also spent hours looking at pictures of horses, deciding which kind of horse would choose each of the five warriors. As the most chivalrous of the warriors, Duncan was chosen by a lovely, well-mannered mare. On the other hand, Kane’s horse, like him, wasn’t classically beautiful, but Rogue is strong, loyal, and fierce in battle. By the way, the book I liked best on horses was called The Beautiful Horse by Bob Langrish & Nicola Jane Swinney. It has the most amazing photographs of horses.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I was watching the Lord of the Rings movies and became intrigued by the warriors Frodo saw sleeping in the waters of the swamp. I kept wondering what circumstances would have brought them there and what, if anything, would ever bring them back to life. That’s when I first imagined my own set of five warriors who have been resting for centuries beneath the river as they waited to be called forth by their gods to defend their world.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I’m a huge fan of fantasy stories with fierce warriors and strong women banding together to fight evil. There’s something so compelling about knights on horses and mages who wield powerful magic of different kinds. I also love including animals in my books, and this kind of world allowed me to have magical horses that choose their own riders. I also had great fun picking out the animal avatars for each of the warriors. Only Lord Kane would have a pet gargoyle!

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Although I always know who the hero and heroine are when I sit down to begin a new book, it’s often the secondary characters who manage to surprise me. Sometimes they are people I planned to include in the story, but often others sneak “on stage” and demand my attention. In this series, Sigil was originally just one of the Duke Keirthan’s captains, and I meant for him to die in the first book. However, Sigil refused to play that part and instead developed into a complex character who was so much more than a spear carrier for the villain. The other character who surprised me was Sarra, the young girl whose parents were killed by the duke. I expected her to be just another victim of Keirthan’s hunger for power. As it turns out, Sarra has her own powerful magical gifts, ones that play an important role in the stories. I love it when a book is unexpectedly enriched by characters that take on a life of their own!

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My office is a bit cluttered, and I share it with two parakeets, who keep me company as I write.  I listen to music as I write, so it’s a good thing Nimbus and Jubal share my taste in music. As far as I can tell, their favorite song is Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler, which is only appropriate for a romance writer’s boon companions. It probably comes as no surprise that I have shelves stuffed full of books, both fiction and nonfiction. I’m also surrounded by stuffed dragons, hedgehogs, a dinosaur or two, and my collection of gargoyles. I like having my favorite books close at hand, and the critters (both real and not) make me feel as if I’m in my own little world when I sit down to write.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard will always be a favorite because the hero, Grant Sullivan, pretty much defined for me the kind of hero I love in a book. It came out just as I got really interested in writing, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about heroes with a powerful sense of honor and fought to protect those who couldn’t defend themselves.

Most recently, I read The Haunting of Maddy Claire by Simone St. James and really loved it. It’s set in England right after World War I. Her choices in language and description were really amazing and really brought that world to life for me. I’ve read all three of her published books now and loved them all for the same reasons.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a paranormal novella and polishing the synopses for three more contemporary stories.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Plotting in any great detail before I actually write the book can be troublesome for me. I usually have a good idea of where the book is going to start and where it needs to end up, but the middle is pretty hazy until I actually write it. Someone once said writing a book is like walking through the fog. You can’t see very far behind you, and you can’t see very far ahead. The only place that is really clear is the page you’re writing at the moment. I’ve had to learn to trust my process and know that once I take that first step into the fog that I will reach “The End” safely.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Ooooh, there are so many!  As I already mentioned, Grant Sullivan has been a favorite for a long time. Zsadist in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series about broke my heart. I also love Curran, the Beast Lord in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel’s series.  Lord Ian Mackenzie in Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is an amazingly complex hero.

I love a really strong heroine, too. Mercy Thompson in Patricia Briggs’ series comes to mind, and Kate Daniels is the perfect match for Curran in the world Ilona Andrews has created.  And in Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series, I love how Kim Fraser fights to defend not just her client, but all of the shifters.

About Alexis: USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of more than thirty books, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and most recently, contemporary romance. Alexis has been nominated for numerous industry awards, including the RITA© from the Romance Writers of America, the top award in the romance genre.      Twitter: @Alexis_Morgan      Facebook

Buy links for Honor's Price:  Amazon          B & N  

Alexis is giving away a signed copy of Honor's Price and a custom designed book thong for the Warriors of the Mist series. 


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HiDee said...

Thanks for being with us today, Alexis!

Alexis Morgan said...

Thanks for having me today!

julie beasley said...

I love Alexi's books l fell in love with all the heroes from her Paladin's and Talion's series. I have read the lastest series and im enjoying them too.

Alexis Morgan said...

Hi, Julie! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you've enjoyed my stories!

CJ Burright said...

Lovely interview - I love your idea of the horses belonging to each warrior, and how they are beneath the water, waiting to be called up. Sounds like awesome stories!

Alexis Morgan said...

Hi, CJ--
I did have a great time letting the horses decide! Turns out they're pretty picky about who they carry into battle. Who knew?


Raonaid Luckwell said...

Hrm not sure if my first comment took. I love fantasy that is why I love this series of yours because it feeds my need for fantasy and romance.

Sad to hear this is the last. Really do not see too many fantasy romances out there (and that's what I like to write)

Shame there was not a warrior like Tamra (Mercedes Lackey). That would be awesome

Alexis Morgan said...

I love Mercedes Lackey's books, too! I think her stories about Valdemar are absolutely brilliant! Her stories as well as Elizabeth Moon's, are among my favorites! I also enjoy Elizabeth Vaughan's books, too. Thanks for stopping by today!