Authors: Stories Behind the Books, Boyd Morrison
As I continue this project I have been very fortunate to have met authors of different genres. The next Author I am happy to include in my project is Boyd Morrison.
You have an incredible amount of work published. How do you keep the ideas rolling?
I really wish I knew how my brain worked (so does my wife). It would make things so much easier. But it works in a very haphazard way. It just throws story ideas at me whenever it wants, which is a lot of the time. When I read a news story or watch a TV show or when I'm simply walking around, my mind says, Hey! What would happen if...? Sometimes it becomes a story, but most of the time it just rattles around in there.
Can you talk about your collaboration with Clive Cussler. How did that creative relationship develop?
Clive has been incredible to work with. I’ve been a fan of his books for decades, and I’ve often said that Raise The Titanic! is the book that first got me interested in thriller novels. So it’s a real honor and privilege to be collaborating with him now. When he was looking for a new co-author on his Oregon Files series, he went to his local mystery bookstore and bought a couple of my books on the owner’s recommendation. He loved them and called my agent to ask if I’d be interested in writing with him. When she relayed the message to me, I was stunned to know he’d enjoyed my books and of course I jumped at the chance to work with him. Two weeks later we got together to plot out our first novel, Piranha.
Was there any one of your novels in particular you found difficult to write? You mentioned you have a tendency to be self-critical. Was that a factor?
I don’t know a single author who isn’t self-critical, so I can’t say I’m unusual. My wife will vehemently concur that about halfway through each book I write, I’ll come to her and say the story isn’t working and I don’t know how to fix it. She always talks me down from the ledge and I eventually figure it out, but it’s so painful at the time. When I wrote Rogue Wave, I had originally written much of the book in the first-person point of view, but when I finished the book, it just wasn’t working. So I had to go through the entire book and change every page to the third-person point of view. The end result was definitely worth it, but it was a real chore.
In 2011 you wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the timeline of eBooks and the unforeseeable future of print. If you were to write that article today, how do you think it would be different? What is your prediction in 2016?
That’s funny. I completely forgot I wrote that article! I agree with my 2011 self that it’s difficult to make predictions, so I don’t think I’d write it much differently except to note the major changes to the industry in the last five years. Since then Borders has gone out of business, ebooks are a large part of the market now but in no danger of decimating publishers or consigning hardcovers to the dustbin of history, and Fifty Shades of Grey and The Martian became massive hits after starting off as self-published books. I will say that it seems as if the huge technological and business changes to publishing have abated a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more Amazon brick and mortar bookstores in the coming year.
Speaking of that article, eBooks to pBooks, the rejection paragraph compares you to Dan Brown and your literary partner, Clive Cussler. Did this part in particular shock you? Were you offended or surprisingly flattered?
I’m very flattered to be compared to successful and beloved authors! Many of my online reviews from readers do exactly that, and I always appreciate it when I’m compared favorably. Given how readers find books, by getting recommendations from Amazon or their friends ("if you liked that, you’ll love this"), I can’t be too surprised when they make the explicit comparison. In fact, I think that’s why I'm such a good fit with Clive; many readers have said that if you like Clive Cussler, then you like my books, so writing with him seems like a natural progression.
You said after frustrations, you picked yourself up and started writing another story. Did you worry though about how to stand out from those authors or did you not worry?
I think all writers should spend some time thinking about why their story needs to be told. What makes this story different from the others out there? If it’s a slavish stylistic copy of a Clive Cussler or James Rollins novel, what’s the point? Those authors have scores of novels to read, so what are you adding to the genre? For my part, I hadn’t seen a story with an engineer who was an action-adventure hero, so as an engineer myself, I wanted to read that. And because I’m a scientist as well, I wanted my explanations to famous legends (Noah’s Ark, the Midas touch, the Loch Ness monster, the Roswell incident) to have a scientific, non-supernatural rationale while still retaining the air of mystery, which I thought would be unusual. But what I really think about now is that I want to write stories that only I can tell. If I do that, then I think I’ll be on the right track.
You can read more about Boyd Morrison and find his books at http://www.boydmorrison.com/ His books can also be found on store shelves at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. You can also follow Boyd on Twitter: @BoydMorrison
Thank you Boyd for being a part of this project!
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