Author Interview - Vanessa Morgan

Posted on Friday, April 4, 2014 10:04 AM
Hello Everyone!
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Vanessa Morgan author of Drowned Sorrow, The Strangers Outside, A Good Man and GPS With Benefits.
Hi Vanessa, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a horror girl with a big heart for animals. My books and screenplays represent the horror part of me; my blog Traveling Cats is all about the animal part, cats in particular.
What were you like at school?
Shy and uncertain, mainly. For a long time, my imaginary world was more real than the physical one. I’d like to say that writing got me out of that bubble, but that’s not true. It was a cat. I’m currently working on a book about him, and how we both healed each other’s trauma’s. It will be released in July, 2014.
Were you good at English?
Yes, I even was the best in my class. But though I write in English, I’m not a native speaker. I grew up speaking Dutch and French. Compared to native speakers, I still have a long way to go though. I can’t survive without a good editor.
So, what have you written?
My first novel is Drowned Sorrow, a supernatural thriller about a remote town where water has become an element that can think, move and kill.
Then came The Strangers Outside, a creepy short story about two girls who are being surrounded by dark figures in monk robes. The Strangers Outside has been turned into a film, and marked the start of my cat Avalon’s acting career.
Thanks to the success of the film that was based on The Strangers Outside, I was asked to write a feature length screenplay about a vampire, A Good Man. As I didn’t want to write the usual vampire story, I chose a vampire that was wrinkled, arthritic, uncertain, weak, and vegetarian. The film is currently touring festivals. And, of course, I wrote an important part for Avalon in the script.
The last story I wrote is the short film script GPS With Benefits. It’s about a man who tries out a new GPS device that punishes and rewards him for his behavior on the road. No supernatural thriller this time. It’s actually pretty funny.
Last but not least, I’m the owner of Traveling Cats – – the blog where I collect cat photos I made during my travels around the world. Traveling Cats started as a little side project, but it has since become the world’s biggest collection of travel photos with cats and I just got nominated for the prestigious BlogPaws Nose-To-Nose awards.

Where can we buy or see them?
Drowned Sorrow
The Strangers Outside
A Good Man
GPS With Benefits
What inspired you to write your first book?
The first time I ever seriously thought about writing fiction was when I saw Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying on stage in London. That day, I knew my life would never be complete without being able to create something that beautiful myself. I’ve never looked back since.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Definitely the rewriting stage. Coming up with a story and getting everything down on paper is pretty easy. But once that stage is over, you’re confronted with your own weaknesses and the initial inability to overcome them. I always push myself as far as I can, no matter how difficult it is sometimes.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I think every writer has a specific writing style, and the stronger the writer’s personality, the more original that writing style will be. Not sure how to describe my own writing style though. I’d say concise, atmospheric, and creepy.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I consider a message in a novel not half as important as its entertainment value, but I do try to make my stories as multi-layered and deep as possible. Drowned Sorrow works particularly well for that matter as it is packed with symbolism of loss, rebirth and cleansing. Sounds a bit pretentious, but I think it ties in really well with the creepiness of the story.
As for my other stories, The Strangers Outside is about how a positive/negative outlook can impact our lives, and A Good Man about how we can be our own worst enemy.
GPS With Benefits, on the other hand, is just a farce that tells you that if a GPS like the one in the story were to exist, you’d better listen to ‘her’ or you’ll be in big trouble.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m currently working on a memoir about my cat Avalon. Being a movie star and cartoon character, he had the most extraordinary feline life. I have numerous hilarious anecdotes about him – how he learned to speak a few words of French (I swear this is true), how he threw my boyfriend out by pulling his coat towards the front door and then dabbing his paws against the keys, how he made famous actors envious of his acting talents, and much more. But I also try to dig deep to find out why I got so attached to this cat, why I preferred him over the humans in my life, and how we brought out the best in each other.
What genre are your books?
Drowned Sorrow, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man were supernatural thrillers, and my short film script GPS With Benefits, a comedy with a fantasy twist. Though I still have ideas for supernatural stories, I’d like to concentrate on more personal, darker stories from now on, as well as on several movie reference works.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full-time if you count in blogging.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
Writing and blogging is my day job, so that means I get up around eight in the morning and work until at least five in the afternoon, sometimes longer. During weekends I allow myself to relax, but I almost always manage to get in a few hours of work.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Never, but I do set other goals for the day and week. Such as ‘publish x number of posts by the end of the week’, ‘finish edits on three chapters’ etc.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Since I got a Kindle for Christmas a year and a half ago, I’m obsessed. I read whenever I have a few spare minutes, such as in the train or when I’m waiting for someone. I get a lot more reading done since I have a Kindle.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
As I said before, I’m not a native speaker, so I definitely need a professional editor to polish what I’ve written.
Who designed your book cover/s?
My last two book covers have been designed by my boyfriend, Gilles Vranckx. He’s a professional illustrator, and he has made several award-winning movie posters (Amer, The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears, The Pit And The Pendulum, …).
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
Yes, my supernatural thriller Drowned Sorrow has a book trailer. Here’s the link:
How do you relax?
By reading blogs, going to horror film festivals, and drinking tea.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
That it’s okay to change dreams and goals.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Loren Mathis

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