Where did June go?
Last week it was, like, April. Wasn’t it?
Or maybe I just stepped into a time machine. Whoops. I knew there was something odd about that police box.
Anyways, this week I’m happy to introduce you to a new, powerful voice in horror and dystopian fiction: Morgan Wright!
Morgan Wright is the author of an exciting, upcoming fantasy series called “The Downdrifter’s Inheritance” (first book: The Traitor’s Gambit) and writer of a post-apocalyptic horror screenplay, “Come Closer”.
Graduating with honours with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing which she started at age 16, Morgan is the editor and contributor to the bestselling writing guide, ‘Calendar for Writers 2019 -2020’, reaching an audience in the USA, Canada, Germany, Spain and the UK. Her short story “Unchained” was Longlisted in the “Let’s Get Published Spring Writing Contest” and her dark fantasy short story “As Black Roses Bleed” was just published in The Common Tongue Magazine.
A celebrity in the twitter #WritingCommunity, Morgan Wright has achieved recognition for her outstanding contribution to writers in all genres, hitting over 100,000 followers.
She also launched her successful book cover animation service, “Morgan Wright Book Cover Animations”, in August 2019, having already brought over 5000 book cover designs to life through animation.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Well, I started writing when I was 6-7 years old. Before that, I was mostly enacting rather brutal scenes with my Barbie dolls (I regret to inform you that many a Barbie perished in my tales😂😜. Heads rolled… literally😳😂). But I truly started calling myself a writer around puberty. Writing was just… so natural to me that I didn’t see a need to define it for myself as a kid. And then when I hit puberty and the questions started coming of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, “What are your dreams?” etc, that’s when I really realized what I was. But, in a way, I think that I’ve always been a writer- because I was telling stories from the minute I could speak. Like my mother always says, I was “born with a pen in my hand”. There was never a moment for me where I realized that I “wanted” to be a writer- rather there was only a moment of realization where I knew that I was one.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Oh my. Erm, I was 7 when I wrote my first story, 7 and a half when I wrote my first short script, and 9 when I started writing my first book. I didn’t finish that book though. I stopped around 60K words in so I guess we could file that under “unfinished first book”😂. I wrote an entire first book when I was 11.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
My day job, actually. I’m a professional animator (mostly focused on animating book covers as a marketing tool for authors). I’m also pursuing a film career because, along with writing, screenwriting and film direction/production are my passions.
Other things I love are music (I was raised in a family of musicians and composers so music is an intricate part of my life- though, to be honest, I tend to write with music too so I suppose it’s not a 100% fitting answer to this question), reading, dancing, research (mythology, ancient languages, ancient history, ancient architecture, paleontology, etc), studying new languages (I cannot wait to get started with Esperanto) and bizarrely enough, I also have an interest in fashion😂. Yep, it’s true. I’m a dark fantasy and horror author but I like dressing up in pretty shiny things🤷♀️.
What does your family think of your writing?
I struck gold with my family. They’re extremely supportive of me. They’re artists themselves so they’ve always encouraged me to go after what I want, no matter how hard it can be. I’m really lucky that way. I know there are so many other authors who don’t receive any support from their loved ones and I can’t even imagine how much more difficult it makes the journey.
What do you think makes a good story?
I answered this in another interview when I was 19 so I’m sorry if this might seem repetitive to anyone who read my other interview back then but:
The most important components to a story in my opinion are the beginning and the ending. Your start has to be rock solid and so does your ending. A strong beginning sells your first book. A strong ending sells your second.
And another really important component to me is characterization. The depth of a character and the way they’re portrayed is sometimes even more important to me than the plot of the story. Usually, I think writers should consider plot and characterization equally important but if I read a book where the characterization is brilliant and the plot is lacking a little, I’ll still love the book. Whereas if you have a brilliant plot but the characterization is lacking which means I can’t truly feel the characters… I’ll most likely stop reading. Because I need the characters to keep me interested in the plot. So, characterization is key for me.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?
I do now *blushes and hides her face*🙈. I got published with my first short story in March of this year (2021) and I can’t believe how much reaction I’ve gotten. My story, As Black Roses Bleed, got +70 reviews in its first month. I got so much reaction that I actually started a sequel on the story due to popular request which is, quite frankly, an amazing feeling. I’ll be publishing that sequel along with Part 1 in book format in a few months- I’ll be giving more info on that on my website and my Twitter account as I get nearer to the date I’ve got in mind.
I got a few reviews that kind of brought me near tears. These are a few of them:
“Y’all, @byMorganWright’s first foray into publishing, “As Black Roses Bleed,” is a disturbing and chilling display of talent and grotesque imagination that reminded me of Poe in the best way. Highly recommend checking it out! I genuinely never compare artists, but to say her work reminds me of Poe or Camus is the highest praise I can give and well-deserved.”
– Andrew Lauck, Author of A Broken World
“Wow. Just wow. If you have a few mins, check out this dark, beautifully written story by @byMorganWright. This one stays with you for a little bit.”
– Carl F. Brothers, Author of Keepers & Destinies
“Dark, creepy, and beautifully told. If Morgan Wright can deliver this gem as her first published story, she is truly destined for greatness. Give us more, Morgan!”
– Ken Stark, Award-Winning Author
“So I have to say… @byMorganWright killed it. This story had me wanting to keep reading. It was dark and captivating. I want more, no… I need more.”
– @T3hBurm, Author
“Wow, just read “As Black Roses Bleed” by @byMorganWright. This is one amazing short story the #WritingCommunity must not miss! I love a story with a twist and this has a huge dark one. Please read it. Honestly, it’s brilliant.”
– Darren M. Edden, Author of The Mirror of Our Creation and The Future of The Present Past
“As Black Roses Bleed” is an exemplary work of dark fantasy. Filled with visceral descriptions and gruesome details, Morgan Wright’s story about death and betrayal is masterfully written and enthralling from beginning to end. It is one of the best short stories I’ve read this year.”
– Eric Avedissian, Editor/SFWA Member and Author of Gargoyles & Absinthe
“The depth of darkness swirling is outstanding! The story actually gave me goosebumps. The eerie setting combined with the devilish atmosphere was the perfect place for a town riddled with its own dreary secrets.”
– Siddhart Menon, Co-Author or Mixed Canvas
“A beautifully written horror story. A fantastic premise. And a horrific twist at the end you don’t see coming.”
– Elana McDougall, Author of Hidden Magic
“Reading this story is like opening Pandora’s box and being caught in the chaos. It is like screaming without making a sound. It feels like a prelude to an epic dark fantasy novel, rather than just a short story. There is enough intrigue and mystery to stay with you long after you read the final sentence. As Black Roses Bleed lingers on in your mind like a nightmare you can’t escape when you close your eyes.”
– Aisha Urooj, Blogger/Book review and Author of The Stone Mermaid
“Folks. You’ve gotta read this!! It has quickly slipped onto my list of favorite short stories! I can’t wait for the sequel by @byMorganWright!”
– Evan The Nerd, Author of Magical Apocalypse
“Just read @byMorganWright’s As Black Roses Bleed and I’d give it 5⭐️ for the dark and wicked mood portrayed, alone. A breathtaking short story that will make you feel a lot in just under 3k words. I need to know what happens to Darius!!”
– Daljit @Daljitje, Author
“The fantasy genre has not been a common find on my bookshelf but I always like to read something new. This has certainly captured my interest! The suspense in the tortured and abused soul makes you want to want him to survive his capture. Looking forward to what the next installment has to offer! As a novice to dark fantasy, this is a great introduction. For those that frequent the genre, this is a must!”
That’s quite the list! If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To submit and publish my work sooner, I think. When I was a teenager, I was terrified of publishing my work. Partially out of fear of others reading my work and judging it, but mostly because of the “teenage author” stigma. Authors who start out young never really manage to shake the stigma off and that held me back for a really long time because I wanted my writing to be taken seriously. I didn’t want it to be hated because people thought I was “too young” to write when I had little to no life experience (a lot of people tend to judge this in young writers… and even older ones, depending on the subject) and I didn’t want it to be praised as “Look. A teenager wrote this. Isn’t it great that someone so young published this?”. Either way, the focus was on age rather the work. And I’d seen it happen to other teenage authors and I didn’t want that. I wanted my work to be seen as is, on its own, without any further connotations. But now… honestly, I’d tell myself not to care about what others think and just do my thing. Because to the right people, your age doesn’t matter. Only your story does.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Ooh, hard question. I don’t think “ego” per se is a positive thing… but I do believe that “self-confidence” can be empowering. It’s a hard life and if you don’t believe in yourself, it only makes it harder. I mean, it’s a life filled with rejections and more nos than yesses so having a thick hide is a necessity. But we’re human. There are days that some things will get to us and there will be days where we can just brush things off easily and move on. So I think the thicker you make your skin and the more you believe in yourself (and the more you push back against “imposter-syndrome” which is a thing that comes a-knocking from time to time for most writers), the better.
It’s like Harper Lee once said: “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that… he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
What are other authors you ar friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m very honored to say that I’m friends with quite a lot of writers. They encourage me every day. I don’t think I’d be where I am without them. Especially my best friend, David Collins. We read all of each other’s works and we give our honest opinions to each other without having to be afraid of hurting each other’s feelings. I really think that it’s very important for writers to have fellow writers to rely on for honest feedback. They make us see things differently and, in some ways, more objectively (as strange as that sounds since we’re talking about something that’s more subjective than anything else) by guiding us to look at things from a different angle. An angle we might not have considered because we’re too close to our own work to be able to see it.
No one’s more loyal to a writer than a fellow writer.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Both actually. I have some works that stand on their own but many are still connected to the other series I’m working on. I have one world (my dark fantasy world- though I’m not yet revealing its name😁) where multiple standalone books and book series are set in so those will all have connections in one way or another.
And I also have works in progress that are completely unrelated to each other. One is a dystopian horror screenplay, the other is fantasy/crime hybrid etc. I have about 20 works in progress at the moment (I know😂 A lot of typey typey work for me😁😂).
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I’m finding that an immensely complex decision, to tell you the truth. For the sequel of As Black Roses Bleed, for example. I have some who are hoping on a happier ending, others on an equally horrific or maybe even more horrific ending than in Part 1. So I think that, as the writer, you just have to follow your own gut. Stick with how you want the story to go and hope that your readers like it as much as they did Part 1. I never realized how much pressure it was to ensure that readers would like the continuation of your work as much as the first piece until now😂. The sensation it gives half makes you want to spiral into a full-fledged panic attack full of “what ifs?” and the other half makes you go “Bwahaha, I hold the power”😂.
What do you have coming next and what are you working on now?
Besides the sequel of As Black Roses Bleed (which will either be a long short story or novella depending on the final word count), I’m primarily working on my debut novel, “The Traitor’s Gambit”, Book 1 of the Downdrifter’s Inheritance Series. I’ve almost finished it so I’m hoping to start edits by the end of this summer.
How can your fans connect with you?
I’m mostly active on Twitter here: @byMorganWright. This is the place to go if people want to talk to me (my DMs are open to everybody). I also recently joined Instagram under the same username here so that’s another avenue to contact me. And last but not least is my website: www.morganwrightbooks.com
For those who haven’t done so yet and would like to read As Black Roses Bleed (Part 1), it’s temporarily available to be read for free here: www.commontonguezine.com/article/as-black-roses-bleed/
Thank you so much for having me, Adam😍❤️
Absolutely my pleasure!