Earlier today my review about The Promised One by Morgan G. Farris came online. After I read the book, I had some questions, so I decided to contact the author and see if she was interested in answering some questions. I sent her ten questions and these are her answers.
1) What inspired you to write this book?
This is probably going to cue the gag reflex for some of you (you’re welcome, by the way), but truly I think my own love story played a huge role in influencing this book. I wanted to write a story about what happens after that first kiss. Hollywood and so many books glamorize the beginning of love—we idolize those first stages of romance and butterflies and ooey-gooey. I wanted to read the story of what happens next. Because in my own marriage I have learned that love is choosing someone over and over, through the good, the bad, and the ugly. So I went in with the idea that I would write the book I wanted to read—the story of a lifelong love. The story of two people who keep choosing each other, even when it’s hard. The story of what happens after the first kiss—the real love story.
2) I know we’re getting a second book, is there anything you can tell us about it?
Oh yes, you’re getting a second book. *grins maniacally* I can tell you that the story of Elizabeth and Ferryl continues right where book one left off—the questions left unanswered will be explored. Who is Elizabeth? What is her true heritage? And who is cursing the king and Prince Ferryl? Those questions and more get answered in book two. But you’re also going to see a lot more of Delaney and Michael who have become a pet project of mine. I just love their story. It was not part of the original plan; it just sort of blossomed before my eyes and I have loved every minute of discovering their own stories.
3) How many books will there be in this series?
Right now the plan is for seven books. I have written the first four and I am working on book five right now. But there could be more… this series has surprised me. It cannot be contained!
4) Who is your favorite character in The Promised One and why?
Oh man, I have so many. But if you’re going to make me pick just one, I would have to say it’s Titus. You don’t see much of him in book one, but he becomes tantamount to the story in the subsequent books. He surprised me, too. Much like Michael and Delaney’s story, I didn’t have him in my original plan. But he came alive for me on those pages and his story is so beautiful that I still cry when I read it. He’s a conflicted man, to be sure. He wants to be good, but he doesn’t believe in himself enough sometimes. I think we can all relate to Titus in some way. He has some tough decisions ahead of him, and he doesn’t even realize that pretty much everyone’s fate is going to depend on those decisions. Plus, I like the fact that an older character is represented in my book. He’s in his early forties, which is not quite as common in the YA fantasy genre—at least for a primary story arc. I liked showing the world from his perspective.
5) Do you have a writing process? Do you plan everything out or do you let the characters take you for a ride?
My process has evolved over the years. The first three novels I wrote (which are not a part of this series, and which not even God himself is allowed to read….) were completely off the cuff. The stories just erupted from me and I had no plan, no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even really know why I was writing them. Looking back, I see that they were more like training wheels, getting me ready to write The Promised One (TPO is the fourth novel I wrote, even though it’s the first to be published). I took the training wheels off when I started these books, having learned so much from those early works. Now, I go in with a plan, I go in with my characters developed and the storyline worked out in an outline. Even so, my characters surprise me, plots take twists even I didn’t see coming, and the novel never really ends up where I thought it would. So yes, I make a plan. And then I allow myself the freedom to scrap it all and let the characters take me where they want to go. It’s a beautifully liberating process that I absolutely love.
6) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Or was there a certain moment in your life the made you start writing?
I started writing songs when I was nine years old. Sometimes two or three songs a day. To this day I’ve penned hundreds of songs over years. But I never really considered myself a writer. Then in college, I used to joke that the only reason I passed some of my classes was because I could BS my way through the papers. But I still didn’t consider myself a writer. And then one day, in the craziest way possible, I sat down and started writing in my phone a random scene that had been in my head. I had no idea why I was writing it down. None at all. I just wrote it. Literally about four hours later, in a church meeting, my pastor started to pray and the very first words out of his mouth were, “Lord if there is a book that needs to be written, let it be written.” The hairs on my arm stood on end. I looked up at the pastor, half expecting him to be looking right at me. He wasn’t. He had no clue. But I believe in my heart that he was meant to pray that prayer that day. And he was meant to pray it over me. I went home that afternoon and started my first novel, which I finished about six weeks later. Within about three months, I had written three full-length novels. I haven’t been able to stop since.
7) What was the last book you read that you think everybody needs to read?
Okay listen, I grew up on the movie The Princess Bride. My sister and I would rent it every weekend (why we never bought it, I’ll never understand, but I digress…). I could quote the whole thing. Why it never occurred to me to actually read the novel until just a few months ago is yet another mystery I’ll never understand. But I did… and oh my gosh it is hands down the best novel I’ve ever read. Hilarious. Romantic. Adventurous. Thrilling. Sarcastic (which happens to be my love language). If you have not read The Princess Bride, stop what you are doing and read it RIGHT NOW.
Side note: upon reading the novel, and subsequently re-watching the movie for the first time in years, I realized that I think subconsciously I wrote Prince Ferryl to be a lot like Westley, right down to his looks and his “smile that could melt chocolate.” My abiding love for The Princess Bride influenced me more than I realized…
8) If you had to choose only one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
See question seven. 😉
9) What would you say is the hardest thing about being an author?
I think one of the hardest things about being an author is that moment you release the work into the world. It’s no longer yours. And people can criticize it. They can obliterate it if they’re so inclined. In the age of the internet, there is no telling what people could say about your work. There is something both thrilling and terrifying about the prospect of hearing/reading what people think. But I think it’s important to remember that not every work of art will speak the same way to every soul—and that in and of itself is what makes art so beautiful.
10) What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book?
Write it. Pick up your pen or your computer (or your phone—see question six) and just start writing. You don’t have to have a plan. It will come together if you just keep writing. I’ve been writing long enough to know that you will have seasons where the words pour out of you and you will have seasons where you can hardly type one word. That’s okay. Don’t give up on yourself. You have a story to tell that only you can write. So don’t stop writing. And whether it takes you six weeks or six years, it will come together. Just. Keep. Writing.
First I would like to thank Morgan for taking her time to answer these questions for today. When I read books, I’m always curious to know what authors think about a story or how it comes to life. These answers are amazing and are getting me very excited for the rest of the books in this series! I need it now, haha!