Thursday, November 9, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Ana Morgan

Today The Write Way Café welcomes Ana Morgan, an author who proves when a story keeps insisting to be written, listen.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
I had just read the last chapters of a western historical romance written by a multi-pubbed author and was hugely disappointed by the contrived ending. “I could do better than that,” I thought. “How hard could it be?”

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
I enrolled in a creative writing class, poured my heart into a first draft, and was encouraged to send it to agents. After receiving scathing rejection letters, I wrote a time travel and sent it off. More rejections. For six years, late at night, I studied conflict, plotting and point-of-view. Then I found an online critique group. In 2016, Stormy Hawkins took first place in the Pages of the Heart contest. Two editors requested full reads. I signed with SoulMate Publishing last spring and Stormy Hawkins was published in September. As for research, I did lots, from snagging submerged trees on the Missouri River to when barbed wire was invented. I wanted every detail to be historically accurate.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
The opening concept—lonely heroine meets hustler hero—popped into my head as I was doing the first creative writing class assignment.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
A year after we were married, my husband and I homesteaded our farm in northern Minnesota. Two city kids, we taught ourselves to milk cows, chop stovewood, and fix barbed wire fences. It wasn’t hard to transfer the setting of my life to a story.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Stormy Hawkins is a lot like me. She’s shy and determined. Blade Masters is a Hollywood-ized version of my husband. The secondary characters are completely fictional, though they have qualities drawn from real life experiences.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
Confidence was a huge hurdle. I wasn’t sure I’d ever become a published author. But the story kept insisting that I keep trying, and when a contest judge commented that it was obvious I didn’t know anything about living on a ranch, I got mad enough to write a fourth draft. That draft sold.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
I wasn’t sure any publisher would buy a story set in 1888 South Dakota. Western historicals, I was told, were not selling, so my first big surprise was encountering an editor who “got” the South Dakota setting and offered a contract. The next surprise was discovering that there ARE readers who love the genre.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about ranching and the Dakota Territory?
I’ve learned that romance writers are the most supportive group of people.

I'm still learning to turn off my internal editor. The adage that one can't edit a blank page should be tattooed across my forehead.

I knew a lot about homesteading and ranching. My husband and I were raised in cities, and we moved to a rundown Minnesota farm in 1972 to farm organically (when organic wasn't cool). We learned to build fences and milk cows by hand. The second summer, we borrowed a neighbor's scrawny Jersey bull to breed our cows. One evening when I went to bring the cows up for milking, the bull decided he didn't want them to go. He (and his rather long horns) chased me off the pasture. So what happens to Stormy in the story is based on a true story.

I did do lots of research. Like when barbed wire was invented and how Dakota Territory became North and South Dakota. Most of all, I researched river boats that plied the Missouri River. Snag boats, like the one Stormy and Blade ride, were real. The Missouri River is muddy, winding, and when I crossed it in Yankton last August (taking granddaughters to watch the solar eclipse) I saw two trees half submerged in the water.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
Legs up on the couch in my log cabin living room with my laptop on my lap. Pirate, the cat, purrs beside me. It’s super early in the morning. The house is quiet save for the whir of the ceiling fan and the musical trills of the wind chimes, suspended on the overhang of the deck.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
The first romance book I read was a Bertrice Small historical. I was hooked. Lately, I’ve envied short story writers; their ability to distill a plot arc to its essence is amazing.

What are you working on now? 
I’m writing the sequel to Stormy Hawkins. I want to do a final draft of my time travel romance, and I’ve written half of a contemporary suspense story.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
Mysteries fascinate me. The plotting would be intricately fun. Someday.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?  
Pastry chef. I would love to be able to create exotic cakes and pastries.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Time to write. I own a specialty food business and work full time. I grow a big vegetable garden in the summer, and attend my grandkids’ sporting events.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
The characters in the story I’m working on. I fall in love with the hero every time.

by Ana Morgan
Blade Masters has finally spotted his ideal Dakota Territory ranch, where he can live alone, forget his cheating ex-fiancée, and bury the shards of his shattered heart. All he needs to do is sweet-talk the ailing owner, and his spitfire daughter, into retiring.
If she weren’t desperate, Stormy would never hire a cowhand. She’s learned the hard way that she’s happier working her family’s ranch alone. But, the greedy banker who holds their mortgage just demanded payment in full—or her hand in marriage.
Will this handsome drifter protect her?  Or does he have designs of his own?

Amazon    (Free read on Kindle Unlimited)

About Ana: 
     When she was small, Ana Morgan’s dream was to know something about everything. She has studiously waitressed, driven a school bus, run craft service on indie film sets, wandered through European castles, wired a house, married a Marine, canned vegetables, and studied the stars. She knows how to change a flat tire but prefers a gallant, handsome stranger who strips off his jacket and spins the lug nuts for her.
     Ana embarked on her writing career by crafting succinct cooking directions for her Secret Garden soup mixes—and graduated to lyrical essays about living on a small organic farm for her CSA’s weekly newsletter. Eventually she realized she wanted to write what she loved to read—steamy romance novels.
     She and her husband eloped six weeks after they met and moved from southern California to northern Minnesota. They taught themselves how to milk cows (at first by hand), and raised three go-getter children. One is an award-winning woodworker. Another is IT super-smart. The third is an actor-director-producer.

Website     Facebook


HiDee said...

Stormy Hawkins sounds like a good read! Thank you for joining us today and sharing your story!

Ana Morgan said...

Thank you for having me!

Jennifer lucas said...

Sounds good Ana:)

Renee Ann Miller said...

Great post! I'm a fan of this book!

Evelyn said...

Inspiring story of success!

Angela Adams said...

Ana, I think all authors put a little bit of themselves in their characters. Best wishes with your book.

Wendi said...

Great interview! Love this book! Best of luck with it :-)