Today I would like to welcome cross-genre author TJ Morris to the Desu Beast Blog. Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me tonight.
- Have you always wanted to be an author?
I have. I have been writing since I was in high school. I started my novel in the 90’s and recently found new inspiration and have not looked back!
- What inspired you to write your first book?
I was researching schizophrenia and Cromwellian history. I wrote a sentence and followed the character from there. I let some people read it, great trepidation there; when they said it was really good I finished it.
- What genre(s) do you write?
I have written a bit of poetry, a few short stories (character sketches), and science fiction. Science fiction is my true love.
- What is the name of your latest novel?
- How did you come up with the concept for your novel?
Through my research into topics that interested me, a background in gaming, and a fertile imagination, I envisioned my characters and followed them through their stories. I am an organic writer and truly believe the characters drive the story line and not the opposite.
- Who is your favorite character and why?
His given name is But for the Love of Jesus Christ We would all be Damned Smith, the III: BC for short. He is a conflicted fellow and you really cannot tell what his disposition is … good or evil. He has a path to travel and it is difficult and full of emotional turmoil, conflicted characters draw me.
- Who is your least favorite character and why?
It is hard for me to name a least favorite. Even my antagonists draw me. The point of a good foil is to make the interaction dynamic. I believe I accomplish this and my story is buoyed as such. The characters drive the storyline both antagonist and protagonist.
- Which character do you relate to the most and why?
I actually think I relate most to a secondary character in my second novel, “Heaven’s Gate.” He has had a number of struggles in life including alcohol abuse and contempt for the organizations in which he is engaged. He refuses to toe the line if it is not a correct one to toe. His name is Popatus. As a person he has motivated and inspired many, as a human he struggles. He represents to me the plight of most of us.
- Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?
Life is a journey. We all have to travel it and no one is guaranteed an easy walk. Life is about the trials and your success/failure. What do you learn? How do you improve? How do you triumph?
- What books have influenced you the most? Why?
I would have to say first is “Foundation and Empire” by Isaac Asimov. His antagonist, the Mule. is an intricate character who would not be considered a power in most circles. The disruption to the Seldon Plan he causes defies everything the great minds predicted. Next is Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse,” the visceral nature of the main characters pain and path really quantifies the struggle between good and evil and the knife’s edge one walks when taking justice into one’s own hands. I would be remiss if I did not include “The Hobbit,” and “The Lord of the Rings.” This book really sparked my interest in reading in high school.
- Who are a few of your favorite authors?
The aforementioned Asimov, Clancy and Tolkien. I think in terms of my emotional content I would have to include Nathaniel Hawthorne … the darkness of his works with the overall message is compelling. Johnathan Edwards … never has anyone portrayed vitriol in terms of our destiny to try and do good as he did. Finally Walt Whitman … his style and relentless pursuit of topics that were pariah was inspiring.
- With what author would you love to have a conversation?
I think I would have to say Nathaniel Hawthorne. How does a customs clerk write stories that encapsulate the struggle between good and evil in such a human setting? His societal commentaries were potent, accurate and strong. The best summation of this is the sexton’s last words in “The Minister’s Black Veil:” “ … when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!”
- Any future projects you would like to talk about?
I am in the process of publishing my second novel, “Heaven’s Gate.” I am really excited to be starting a steam punk novel, “The Cogsworth Conundrum,” which will use the imagery of steam punk one sees at conventions. I want to bring the steam punk aura into the forefront by writing imagery about the Waldos (Heinlein), actuators, articulated steam driven mechanisms to bring the background of our conventions to the forefront. I also have another novelette coming out, “Star Walker,” which will have a story about an African Queen who leads her people from oppression, to freedom and strength.
- If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?
I would change my prologue. In hindsight I have worried the juxtaposition of time could confuse readers. I still believe it was important for continuity in the book but some of my younger readers have said the time shift threw them of; not so with more advanced readers.
- Is there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?
BC wiped his tears and looked deeply into Raysa’s eyes. “Life has a value above any other thing in this galaxy. I detest its taking. Had I not taken these lives, my life and yours would have been forfeit. I could not lose you any more than I could lose myself.”
“But you don’t even know me,” she said.
“I know,” he replied, “but I know the purity that I see when I looked into your pathways … and that innocence is worth the world.”
- Do you have a favorite quote from one of your novels?
“You are adjudicated!”
- Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?
Hammer the keys. If it isn’t what you want continue. If you are afraid someone will critique you, continue. Follow your characters and see what is around them and in their minds. You will be amazed at where they take you. Find someone you can talk to about your work; it will inspire you and keep you going.
- Are there any future events you would like to announce?
- Do you have any links that you would like to share?
Thank you for taking the time to visit the Desu Beast Blog. I am looking forward to reading The Cathedral and your other future works.
It was also a pleasure meeting you at the SciFi and Fantasy Expo this month. You are a fantastic new talent!
Read long and prosper!