She wears so many hats that I don’t even know where to begin.
But I guess that explains her poetry since it too has a million different perspectives. I suppose it’s because T. Haven Morse perfected the craft of performance before she delved into the art of the written word.
When she’s not enjoying time on her ranch with her husband and children, she’s the girl Friday for Spider Road Press.
I’m so glad to have her on my side, so without further adieu may I introduce you to T. Haven Morse.
Twenty Questions With…T. Haven Morse
- Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
When I was eight, I took a small, thin book from my grandmother’s shelf: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. The tale is written in first person, from the point of view of Dale’s sick daughter. Robin talks to God, sharing the story of her brief time on Earth. That was the first time a book brought me to tears. As Maya Angelou says—make them feel and they will remember. I’ve never forgotten.
- How old where you when you started writing?
In 1987, at the age of eleven, I published my first article for the Jones Gazette (our family newsletter). Titled “Grandparents Coming,” the piece was short but informative. My first paid gig was to write a script for a Six Flags Astroworld show in my early twenties. However, I didn’t actually go “pro” until my late thirties.
- Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
- Paulo Coelho—although we might need a translator
- Elizabeth Gilbert—she’s a writing idol of mine
- Maya Angelou—though we’d require a medium
- Holly Lyn Walrath—she’s local and we have lunch every Tuesday, so she’d be an easy one to arrange and I love talking writing-shop with her
- What would you eat?
Would it matter? No, but for the sake of this questionnaire and my longtime vegetarianism, let’s say veggie sushi and tempura with Boston Cream Pie for dessert (it’s my favorite).
- How do you plot out your work?
Each piece is different. Sometimes the story or poem just spills out like an uncontrollable gush of words, characters, and plot. Other times I actually outline the story with a set beginning, middle, end, theme, twists, and beats. However, even with those more structured creations, I always stay flexible for the unknown, alert to unexpected yet ever-present input from the characters or my muse.
- Do you write in the morning or evening?
Every day is my life is different. On certain days, I write first thing in the morning—before the sun is up. Other days, the writing happens in a hammock at high noon. And some days, words meet page after dinner or dark.
- Is there music on?
Almost always. Either the Hans Zimmer channel on Pandora or the DirectTV Movie Soundtrack channels usually. I’m not a fan of lyrics when I write but love emotion-filled music.
- What inspired your last story?
For the first time, I’m actually working with a Story Guide on a fantasy yarn based on a true experience in my life. My guide is the Amazing Alysia Seymour and the story is a metaphorical novelette about my daughter’s birth and the heart-wrenching trials of spending a week in the NICU. Leyna, my counterpart, deals with some nasty demons—inside and outside—as well as meets some extraordinary spirit guides along the way. It’s, by far, the most cathartic and honest work I’ve ever written.
- Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
- “By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” by Paulo Coelho
- “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
- “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
- What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
There are many! Currently on TV, I’m loving “The Alchemist” and “The Good Doctor.” In films, one of my favorites that I can’t believe wasn’t a book first is “The Age of Adeline.” I’m pretty much a fan of any screenplay by Darren Aronofsky (my first love of his work was “The Fountain”—still a regular go-to film for me) and Guillermo Del Torro. As for music, having work with Houston Grand Opera for six seasons, I’m a huge opera fan—especially of Iain Bell’s work. He’s incredible, as a writer and a human being.
- Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
I have a number of pieces in progress at the moment, and at all times. Cressida, my romantic fantasy lead for book one of the Feathers of the Phoenix series, would be played by India Eisley or an undiscovered talent with dark-hair and green-eyes. Leyna, fantasy protag in my based-on-true-life novelette, would be played well by Natalie Dormer from Games of Thrones/Hunger Games. Finding the lead for my historical fantasy WIP, “Tales of Tuttleman” might be tougher—Tuttleman is a two hundred year old talking pug. Not sure how we’d manage that one on screen!?! If animation or not, Paul Bettany would do his voice. No question!
- Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
“Cressida”, book one of a romantic fantasy, has been the hardest because she and I started together before I had a clue what I was doing. She went from hardcore romance (verging on erotica) to straight fantasy and has now pendulumed back to somewhere in the middle. But once we’ve figured out the right balance of sexy and fantastical, she’ll be amazing—as will her offspring in the Feathers of the Phoenix series.
- Which was the easiest?
My first poetry collection published, “Flooded By”, simply poured out in about 45 days. That collection is way more muse than me. The persona poet in me took over and ran for the finish line, dragging me behind.
- Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
I just finished a flash piece called “More Than a Pigg” for a contest. With the exception of one beta reader, everyone else who has read her, has absolutely loved the story. They were engrossed, sad to see the end, and were still reeling days later. Hopefully, she’ll win the contest and be published later this year. If not, I will definitely shop her around more. People need to hear this story.
- What are you working on now?
Lots of things! See above. 🙂 In a nutshell, book one of a romantic fantasy series, a free-standing fantasy novelette based on a true event in my life, a novella about a two hundred year old talking pug (think Forrest Gump meets Frank from Men in Black), and a series of chapbooks based on writing prompts called “Splintered Musings.” No, I don’t sleep. And when I do, I dream in epic storylines!?!
- What story do you have to write before you die?
All of them. I will write until my last day, I have no doubt. My muse is faithful and will guide me to the stories I need to share.
- What’s your best fan story?
One of the poems in “Flooded By” is a glimpse into the love between a ghost-woman named Melody and a Catholic priest. It’s pure and complicated and lovely. I’ve had many readers, including some esteemed writer colleagues, tell me how much they love that poem. I love it too.
- What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
This is hard for a multi-genre writer like me, whose style is all over the place. But let’s go with this one from “The Tales of Tuttleman”:
“Although we were about the same age when we first met, I matured much faster than he did and achieved an adult perspective while he was still foundering with pimples and discovering what to do with his Wee Willy Winky.”
- Have you ever based characters off of real people?
Sure. In one of my current works-in-progress, there are three fantastical bird-women that are based loosely on my great-grandmothers (the three I knew). I’ve loved spending time with them while writing the story.
- Who’s your favorite character?
Wow! That’s a wide-open question!?! In my own work, I have a serious writer-crush on Tuttleman—the two hundred year old talking pug—right now. He’s funny and charming and British with a wealth of knowledge and life-experience. Plus, he’s introduced me to Mary Shelley, Jack the Ripper, Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, and a number of other famous and infamous people from history.
As for characters that aren’t mine, I absolutely love Odd Thomas—created by Dean Koontz. He’s young but wise, funny but poignant, and laidback but polite. A well-rounded twenty-something who sees ghosts and helps solve murder mysteries. What’s not to like?
You can find out more about the author on their blog “The Bountiful Balcony Buzz” (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/blog) and purchase their work from the Bountiful Balcony Bookstore (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/bookstore) and Amazon.