Welcome to Wednesday Writing Warriors! This is a new feature I’ll be doing every Wednesday. If you’d like to be featured, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, I’m happy to introduce T. Haven Morse, poetess and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan fiction author.
TSW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Morse: After a twenty-year career as a stage and improv actress, on a whim, my husband and I moved to an 18-acre farmstead in the middle of a national forest. Needless to say, I was no longer near a theater, so I retired from acting. After a few weeks, my husband noted that my eye was starting to twitch and I had better find a new creative outlet soon or I might explode. Over the years, I’d written some stage plays and sketched out a ton of characters, so writing seemed the natural choice. Something I could do from anywhere and fiction was a realm I already knew well.
TSW: In which genre do you classify your writing?
Morse: Poetry is my main category of work, but I also write flash fiction and am about to start the edits on the rough draft of book one of a fantasy novel series. Within poetry, I have one collection of persona poetry that came out in March and a science fiction/fantasy fan fiction book that comes out later this month called “Beam Me Up, Yoda.” My flash can be found in a handful of journals, mags, and anthologies.
TSW: What books/short stories/novellas/poetry have you published, or what projects are you working on?
Morse: Oops, guess I jumped the promote-my-work gun on the last question! You can purchase my persona poetry collection “Flooded By” on Amazon in Kindle or paperback. It’s a unique book that contains sixty individuals writing on topics they’ve been flooded by – sorrow, wonder, adrenaline, and more. I also have pieces published in “In Medias Res: Stories from the In Between”, two anthologies put out by the Woodlands Writing Guild, and a handful of poetry journals. “Beam Me Up, Yoda” is my latest literary baby and it’s a collection of poems written by and about one hundred of the most iconic science fiction and fantasy characters of all time like the Wicked Witch of the East, Han Solo, Captain Picard, Katniss Everdeen, and ninety-six others. It’s a fun poetry ride that will hit shelves and Amazon by mid-to-end of October.
TSW: What is your favorite writing resource, be it a book, website, program…?
Morse: I’m old school and love actual books in my hand. A few of my constant “go-to”s for craft tips and inspiration are “Steering the Craft” by Ursula Le Guin, classic Strunk/White “Elements of Style”, and “The Story Behind the Story” from Norton Press. However old school I may be, I’m also a podcast junkie. Some of my faves are the Write Now podcast with Sarah Rhea Werner, the Writership podcast, Story Shots with C. Steven Manley, and the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Check all of these out! They make my commutes into the city worth driving and my writing always improving.
TSW: Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you outline your stories, or do you write them as they come to you?
Morse: Being a former improv artist, I’m an observer and tend to get the spark of an idea from something or someone I encounter. Then it depends. Sometimes the story or poem outline hits me first and I develop it before the rough draft words are written. Other times, I just let the muse run and see where she/the characters lead then do the cleanup, organizing, and polishing after the fact. So, a bit of both, I guess.
TSW: Can you give us a glimpse into your writing routine?
Morse: I usually have, at least, four of five writing-project coals stoking in the creative fire at a time. When it’s the writing hour, I sit down, take a breath, and see what kind of mood I’m in. Given my current mindset, day’s events, or level of energy, I decide which project would be best. Sometimes I have deadlines to meet, so one will win due to time constraints. But usually, I pick based on the moment. I will note that location and music are also important for me in setting the tone of my writing time. The right Pandora station or playlist can alter my work for the day, as can being at home on my balcony at sunset or inside a coffee shop watching a summer storm rage outside.
TSW: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?
Morse: Knowing when to say, “It is finished.” Being the daughter of an editor, I could knit-pick a piece to death for eternity. Drawing that line of “good enough” is tough for me.
TSW: What’s the first book that made you cry (if there is one)?
Morse: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. Dale wrote the story as a way to deal with the pain of her infant daughter’s death. Written in first person from the perspective of Robin (the daughter), it’s a tiny book that made a huge impact on me – at nine-years-old. “Bridge to Terabithia” was the next one that got me!?!
TSW: What does success look like to you?
Morse: Connections achieved. My “why” for writing, and for living, is to connect with others. Whether we share a deep conversation over lunch, someone is moved to tears (or laughter) by one of my poems, or a complete stranger returns my smile in the grocery checkout line, these are my moments of success in life and in writing.
TSW: Are there any writers who inspire you?
Morse: Tons! I’m all over the board with writers I adore – Elizabeth Gilbert, Dean Koontz, Brene Brown, Ken Liu, Neil Gaiman, St. Catharine of Sienna, Maya Angelou, Thomas Merton, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Tracy K. Smith, and those are just a handful of the well-knowns. I also love to read and support my local writers and new, emerging writers like Holly Walrath, Diane Prokop, Curt Locklear, John Bernhard, Chantell Renee, Eloisa Perez-Lozano de Castelan, and Cassandra Rose Clarke.
TSW: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a writer?
Morse: Listen for the gauntlets to be thrown. That’s when I know a project is worthy of my efforts, skills, talents, and attention. When someone says, “Poetry can’t make money.” Gauntlet thrown. When I’m standing at a comic book convention and my muse says, “Sci-Fi/Fantasy people need more poetry.” Gauntlet thrown. When I hear people say, “Writing in first-person is bad.” Big time gauntlet thrown. I always listen and watch for the challenges then head to the war room and start strategizing.
About T. Haven Morse:
Character-driven, emotion-evoking stories and poems that brand a lasting impression on readers, these are the type of writings T. Haven Morse pens. Some are literary, some are genre, but they all aim at the amygdala with a balance of intrigue and entertainment. She has a persona poetry collection available, titled “Flooded By”, and other pieces published in numerous journals and anthologies. Find her on social media @THavenMorse and at http://www.BountifulBalconyBooks.com/thavenmorse. Also, coming out in October 2017, “Beam Me Up, Yoda” – a SFF collection of fan fiction fauxetry.
You can connect with Morse on: