Interview with Page Morgan, author of <em>THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED</em>
I'm so excited to host this interview with Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful and the Cursed (which I adored), because she has an exclusive digital-only novella releasing today. But more on that later.
Page is a New Hampshire author—like me—and I had the pleasure of attending a signing with her recently. She's charming and approachable, and I tried not to fangirl over her when we met. Because guys—her book!
Gargoyles! In 1899 Paris! Who are actually shape-shifting humans tasked with protecting the people living within their buildings! (Tell me you don't want to read that. ;) )
Page was kind enough to answer a few questions about her novel, writing process, and then some... So, Page. I hear there's a certain picture that sparked the entire premise of The Beautiful and the Cursed. Can you tell us about that, and how the story idea developed?
Yes, a photograph of a Notre Dame gargoyle was my inspiration for the series. [see right] It’s a brooding black and white shot, which instantly put me in a gothic mood. The gargoyle’s hunched back made me think that this creature had a heavy burden, and I wanted to know what it was. So I did a little research and found that gargoyles are symbols of protection, used to scare off evil spirits. When I thought back to that Notre Dame gargoyle, I realized I wanted to give it a story. I started playing the “what if” game: What if they aren’t just stone statues, but shape shifting humans? What if they have individual territories to protect? What if they don’t like protecting humans but have to do it anyway? The book took off from there.
One of my favorite aspects of the novel itself is how your gargoyle mythology is woven into existing angel-demon folklore. It felt both familiar and unique at once. Can you talk a little about your world-building process and how the Dispossessed came to be?
Thank you! My favorite part of writing the novel was developing the gargoyle mythology. There really wasn’t a solid mythology for gargoyles like there was for vampires, werewolves, mermaids, and other creatures, so I had all this freedom to create one—which was both awesome and completely scary! I wanted to be sure my gargoyles and the reason for their existence were grounded in something that readers would already be somewhat familiar with (angels and demons) and then I wanted the gargoyles to be as complex as possible. It took a few years for me to figure out all the details, large and small, regarding their lives, their history, and the rules they have to live by. I had a finished draft and I was still adding stuff to the mythology! It was a challenge, but a fun one!
Sounds like it! Now, how do you go about the actual writing? Do you have a process?
I wish I could say I make a cup of coffee in the morning, sit down, and then write until lunch but that is just my “dream” schedule. I probably grab either three of four serious writing sessions per week, each one lasting a few hours. I need uninterrupted quiet to write and my three girls (ages 2, 7, and 9) don’t give it to me often! Thankfully, my husband renovated a little cabin on our property and I’ve made it my writing sanctuary.
Um, I am completely jealous of your cabin. Once you finish a manuscript in that sanctuary, do you use critique partners and/or beta readers? How do you decide your book is ready for your agent's/editor's eyes?
I have three critique partners (also YA authors) whose opinions I trust. I don’t send manuscripts to them until they are complete and only after I’ve gone through a few times on my own. They read and then report back on “big picture” suggestions and smaller inconsistencies or questions that popped up for them. I’ve just learned to trust my gut about deciding when it’s ready for my agent’s eyes. He’s also my critique partner, so we go back and forth with revisions as well.
I think the "gut check" is an important tool for any writer. So tell us: What have you read and loved recently?
Right now I’m slowly making my way through Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. This is my first time reading a book that equally terrifies and impresses me so much that I’m finding it difficult to sit and read consistently. It’s strangely overwhelming just how perfect it is. I know that this is going to be one of my favorite novels of all time—you know, whenever I finish it.
I've heard so many good things about that book! I really need to get my hands on a copy. Switching gears entirely: Do you have any words of advice or inspiration for aspiring writers?
There is no single, successful way to attain publication. Every writer has to find his or her own way. Advice like “always be writing your next book” and “don’t let rejection stop you from querying” are great and true, but I also think shirking all the advice and stubbornly making your own game plan is just as important and effective.Oh my goodness, YES. I completely agree. And now I have to break out the Pub-themed questions. Quick—there's a creeper in the pub! What are you reading to avoid him?Ewww, pub creepers are the worst! I’d bury my nose in an Avon romance by Sarah MacLean so I could pretend I was surrounded by lovable rakes instead.
But what if a pub brawl breaks out?! What weapon do you yield?
Why, a blessed silver sword, of course! I never leave home without one. There are demons everywhere, especially in pubs where silly humans are busy dulling their senses.
I like your thinking! :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Page!
And now, to celebrate the release of Page's e-novella, Marco's Story, I'm giving away a copy to one lucky winner! It follows one of the secondary gargoyles in The Beautiful and the Cursed, and I am so very excited to dig in.
To enter to win, just use the handy form below. We'll announce a winner a week from today. Giveaway is international, but you'll need an e-reader, since the novella is digital-only.