Friday, April 6, 2012

An Interview with Author Boyd Morrison

Boyd Morrison is the author of two action-packed thrillers: The Ark and The Vault. He also has a pretty impressive resume outside of writing. His jobs have included working on the Space Station Freedom project at the Johnson Space Center, working for Microsoft on Xbox games, and in 2003 he was a Jeopardy! champion. He also enjoys acting and has appeared in commercials, films, and various stage plays.

Me - I've read several Artifact Thrillers starting with The Da Vinci Code of course and am always surprised when I do my own research to find out how much of the story is based on facts that seem to have been forgotten for so long. What's involved in the research you undertake in order to find an idea that you can base a book on?

BM - So far I've taken on very well-known mysteries or legends: Noah's Ark in The Ark, the Midas touch in The Vault, and the Roswell incident in The Roswell Conspiracy. When I start thinking about the plot, I do a lot of Googling to find out what books and sites can give me information about the subject, and that usually leads to some interesting serendipity that I can then use in the books. For instance, when researching The Vault I found fascinating information about ancient engineer Archimedes and the puzzling Antikythera Mechanism, both real subjects that I was able to tie to Midas. My research also led me to incredible real-life locations like the British Museum, the Parthenon, and the extensive tunnel system under Naples, Italy.

Me- You were able to land a publishing deal through a pretty non-traditional route. You posted The Ark on Amazon's Kindle Store and it really took off, becoming more popular than the books of some well-established authors. Do you think your success is indicative of where the publishing industry is headed?

BM - I think many careers will take off from the self-publishing and e-publishing world like mine did. In fact many authors have already done so. Look at Amanda Hocking and Bella Andre, both incredibly successful self-published authors. Amanda Hocking started off by self-pubbing and then inked a two-million-dollar deal with St. Martin's Press, while Bella Andre went the other direction, from a traditional publishing gig with Bantam to now enjoying tremendous sales as a self-published author. It's an exciting world, where authors have more options and negotiating leverage than they used to, and I think that will only grow.

Me - Your books are the type that I have a tough time putting down because they're moving so fast and the action is intense. Do you experience the same thing when you're writing them? Or are you pretty regimented in your writing schedule?

BM - I don't have a strict writing schedule. I tend to be more goal-oriented than time-oriented. I spend a lot of pre-writing time on the research so that when I get down to the novel, I have a good idea where it's headed. Then when I'm actually writing that novel, I try to finish a chapter a day (5-6 pages), and I put a cliffhanger at the end of the chapter, which makes it exciting for me to get started the next day. However, even though I do much of my research ahead of time, there's always room for those story epiphanies during the writing process that are like jolts of adrenaline. Sometimes those require rewriting earlier chapters, but they're definitely worth it.

Me - What do you consider your greatest strength as a writer and conversely, your biggest weakness?

BM - I think I'm best at the action, pacing, and cliffhangers that keep you wanting to stay up reading just one more chapter. As a tradeoff to keep the story moving, I don't spend a lot of time on scene description, just enough to give the reader a sense of place. I want readers to bring their own imaginations into the equation, which means I won't win any awards for a lavish chronicle of the unique settings in my books.

Me - What can you tell me about your upcoming book The Roswell Conspiracy? Any other books in the works?

BM - The Roswell Conspiracy is the third book in the Tyler Locke series after The Ark and The Vault. In this latest adventure, coming out this summer, Tyler must prevent a world-changing catastrophe by deciphering the link between the Roswell incident, the 1908 Tunguska blast in Siberia, and the mysterious Nazca lines of Peru.

Now that The Roswell Conspiracy is off to the printer, I'm hard at work on Tyler Locke 4. And you will definitely know the legend he's investigating in the next book.

Thanks so much for your time. I’m looking forward to The Roswell Conspiracy.

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