Today we have a special Wednesday edition of For Your Reading Pleasure. Dara Morris is one of my very first author friends, and a fellow Louisiana girl. Last month, she released her first book, “Only the Scars Remain” with Cool Beans Publishing. Lets see what Dara has to say about her writing process.
1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)
I have always loved to read since I was a little girl. I would lose myself in the pages of another world, one that always seemed more interesting and fun than mine! I excelled in writing in school but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to write a book. And once I did…I became hooked. I can’t imagine not writing now. It’s like breathing to me, a must. I love to write romance and in the magic of true love.
I live in West Monroe, Louisiana with my three beautiful children, two teenagers and a seven year old. I also work full time so I stay pretty busy. Once I get home and everything is settled, I pop my earbuds in and it’s just me, music, and my book. Writing brings so much happiness to my life and I hope my readers feel it too!
Author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cypress-Bayou-Series/725579504185537
2. How do you choose names for your characters?
In my novel, the main characters names are Alyssa and Ryan. I’ve always loved names that start with the letter A, and I thought Alyssa had a pretty, feminine sound. Handsome Ryan Gosselin is one of my all-time favorite actors, so I picked his name for my hero’s. My other character’s names were chosen pretty randomly, some after people I know.
3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?
I do! Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy. But in my head they are real, and I have to get their story out so that others can share in their lives.
4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?
I listen mostly to rock and alternative. John Mayer is a favorite.
5. How long have you been writing?
I started writing last summer. We were on a family vacation, and it popped in my head to write a book. I’d always been a good writer and loved to read, and I felt like I could really do this. It took me six months to finish my book, and another three to edit all my mistakes. I was pretty clueless!
6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.
I would say it was when I was about halfway done with my first book. What I had wanted to accomplish was right in front of me, and all I had to do was finish it. I knew that I could do it again.
7. Do you have a muse?
My muse would be music. It helps me focus and places me in my own little world.
8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)
I do research online. I’m hoping to attend some workshops and conferences in the near future.
9. Writing quirks or superstitions?
I like to have a candle going and music up. That sets me in a great mood for a productive writing session
10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
Right now I’m working on the second book in the Cypress Bayou Series. It’s the story of Fran, Alyssa’s sister. She struggles with drug and alcohol problems, but meets Lucas and he helps to turn her life around. He is a world famous musician who has issues of his own. But with the power of true love, happiness is found with the other.
11. What book are you reading now?
I wish I had time to read a book! Between work, kids, and writing, I haven’t had much time for reading but plan to squeeze some reading time in because I miss it.
12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?
I write romances with a bit of magic thrown in. It makes me so happy to create a story where true love is found and there is a happy ending. I write from third person POV.
13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?
I have a spiral notebook that I keep for each book. I like to write each character’s looks and personality down for future reference. I write the outline for the book initially, and as each chapter emerges, I map out what I want to accomplish in that chapter.
14. Do you know how your stories will end?
Yes. The middle part is the hardest to write!
15. Do you books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?
I would say mostly for entertainment. But I hope my books inspire someone to believe in true love, and if it’s real, it will always find its way back.
16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?
Diet dr pepper and dill pickle chips
17. Tell us about your other passions.
I love to shop with my seventeen year old, and spend time with my boys. The only thing I watch on TV is sports; I’m a huge football and basketball fan. I also love to go fishing, and plan vacations.
18. What’s something interesting about you?
I love roller coasters! Busch Gardens was an awesome theme park to visit last summer because of all the rides, I was thrilled.
19. Share a small sample(limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.
From Only the Scars Remain:
Ryan was gone, he hadn’t returned home since that summer ten years past. Alyssa wrapped her arms around her waist, anguish filling her soul for all that had been, and all that was lost. As she stared painfully upon their initials forever inscribed, she shivered as she was catapulted back to when their friendship had led to a fierce, sweet hell of an extraordinary love.
20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?
I would just like to say thank you for giving my work a chance. I’ve worked hard to realize my dream, and I hope all the care and dedication shine through to the reader.
Thanks Dara! Good luck to you and the Cypress Bayou Series!