Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with Angela Morrison

1) Do you cry when you read a sad book? 
Always, always, always. I'm the biggest cry baby around.

2) Who inspired you to use words to create a story?
I stink at telling stories with pictures. I fell in love with writing as soon as I learned how to draw my letters, combine them into words and sentences.  I've been trying the tell stories with them ever since. I'm stronger at creating beautiful sentences than telling compelling stories. It's important to be good at both.

3) Who is your favorite author at the moment
My favorite current YA author has got to be Markus Zusak. Whenever I feel like I need an artistic tune-up, I reread THE BOOK THIEF. A workshop with him changed the way I write!

4) Did you cry when you were creating your story of Sing Me to Sleep? 
I cried so much I kept having to stop and dry off the keyboard. I still cry when I reread it. It means a lot to me. I'm touched when I hear from so many readers who've taken it in to their hearts.

5) Did you have a favorite moment in school?
In school? I mostly remember the awful things that happened. I jammed so many of those into the beginning of TAKEN BY STORM that I wrecked what was a promising beginning. I had a tough mentor who told me to cut, cut, cut! Good thing. You have to be careful not to overwhelm the story's needs with your needs. I learned that the hard way. My favorite moments in high school were when I escaped! My best ever escape was my first ever fiction writing workshop. I rode across Washington state on a Grayhound bus, took a ferry across Puget Sound to Port Townsend (not far from TWILIGHT's setting), and then a big old taxi out to Fort Warden State Park for a Centrum fiction workshop. I was a junior in high school. I got to meet Peter S. Beagle who told me I was a writer and fell in love with a cute blonde guy. Ah, those romantic walks to the lighthouse!

6) What genre of books do you usually read ? 
I love the classics--guess that's why I love to write historical fiction. Of course, I read YA, too, and am a fantasy fan.

7) If you had to pick a character to meet from any of your books , who would it be? 
(( left blank..... o well )) 

8) What is your advice to the authors of the world? 
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Revise, revise, revise. Find professional mentors. And if you believe in your story, don't give up. It took three and a half years for me to sell TAKEN BY STORM. Countless rejections. I rewrote it from different points of view TWICE for one editor--who didn't end up buying it. But I refused to shelve it. I finally found the perfect way to tell Michael and Leesie's story when I let Leesie write in free verse poems, Michael narrate via his dive log entries, and fill in the gaps with their online chat transcripts. The collage made it work. And then I found the perfect editor at a SCBWI retreat.

For more writerly advice, check out my liv2writ feature on my website, or see how I wrote CAYMAN SUMMER on

9) Ask your self one question and fill it in here: What do you have to have to write?
Pale pink paper and Zebra black gel pens. No lines. I hate to write on paper with lines. And, yes, I write my rough drafts by hand. I get stuck staring at a blank white screen.

10) What can you tell me about the covers?
Razorbill had a hard time coming up with a cover for TAKEN BY STORM. The first design they sent I loathed. The second option was better but needed lots of tweaking. When they decided to go with that option for the hard cover, I begged them to find a better picture for it. I decided I liked the cover when they sent me the picture of the couple they ended up using. The guy looks so much like Michael should. I didn't want faces on the cover, but that picture worked.

I loved the cover of SING ME TO SLEEP, and readers love it, too. It fits the mood of the story so well. Marketing at Penguin asked Razorbill to come up with a paperback cover more like that for TAKEN BY STORM. I was so excited, and then they published it with the first cover design that I hated from the beginning. When you publish with a big publisher like Penguin, you have no control over your cover design.

My son designed the covers for UNBROKEN CONNECTION and CAYMAN SUMMER. He did a fantastic job. We wanted to keep the design similar to the paperback cover for TAKEN BY STORM (yah, the one I hate!), so the books look like a cohesive set. I love what he did. CAYMAN SUMMER is everyone's favorite now. It's so pretty.

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