Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a former priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church and have written 4 novels and one nonfiction academic text. The novels are all inspired by local history, legends, and folklore about witches, ghosts, vampires, and other creatures that go “BUMP!” in the night. The magical and fantastic elements in my books are all based on authentic medieval and Renaissance occult beliefs and practices so they can be used as recipe books if you want to try to accomplish any of these activities, using traditional methods!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent novel is STORM WOLF. Alexei, in 1880s Estonia, inherits a magic wolf pelt from his grandfather and becomes the local “libahunt” (the village werewolf that can fly and drive away the storms that would others devastate the crops and result in starvation when the food supply ran out). He was originally a member of the supporting cast in another novel but my editor said that e was too good a character to be kept in a supporting role; he deserved a book of his own! So now he does!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I know that I should write every day but I at least try to keep up with writing-related activities every day — research, reading other books in my genre, READING other books of every sort! I usually write in phases — the need to write builds up until I can’t NOT write and then it all spills out until that chapter is complete. It then takes a few days or weeks for that need to write to build up again.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I truly love the books of Jim Butcher (DRESDEN FILES series) and Kate Griffen (both the MIDNIGHT MAYOR and the MAGICALS ANONYMOUS series). Mike Carey’s novels about FELIX CASTOR are also beacons toward which I aim. All these authors paint such amazing word pictures and are so inventive in how they use and rework traditional folklore that I stand in awe of them.
What are you working on now?
I am working on both a nonfiction project and a novel. The novel is set in Ireland and involves the dearg-due, a traditional Irish female vampire figure who appears in the folklore around Waterford. She and the witch-woman who turned the corpse of an abused woman into the terrifying vampire are seeking revenge against a folklore professor and his family for his attempts to rescue his nephews from their clutches.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I rely on Facebook and Amazon to spread the news about my books. I also use my own website (www.stephenmorrisauthor.com) to share news with readers. Customer Reviews and word-of-mouth are the most important, of course!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read. READ. And READ some more!! And write. Keep writing. Keep writing some more. Work with a good editor who explains why the suggested changes in your writing are necessary. Read some articles and books about writing as a craft. But just keep reading books of all sorts and putting your own words down.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Not only in your daily life but in your writing as well. Don’t create give the reader an impression of who a character is or where the story is going if that is not accurate. A reader will never be disappointed in your storytelling unless you promised something and then failed to deliver.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading a biography of Dr. John Dee, who was an astrologer and scientist for Queen Elizabeth in the 1550s. He also worked in Prague for Rudolf II and attempted to contact the angels. I am reading this both for fun and for research.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I want to keep telling stories and learning more about the wonders of the world. I hope to keep discovering more about the past that I am able to share with my readers and to help them see the world through other eyes, discovering that there is so much more than any of us have ever dreamed about!
What is your favorite book of all time?
I think THE HIGH KING, which is the last of Lloyd Alexander’s series about Taran the assistant pig-keeper in Prydain is my all-time favorite. It has everything: knights and wizards and the dwarves and Fair Folk and the ongoing struggle of good and evil in the hearts of each of us. When I read it in jr. high, I thought it had accomplished everything a writer could hope to give a reader!