Interview: Morgan L. Busse


1) It’s been said that writers must first be readers. Do you enjoy reading?

I love reading! I was first a reader before I was a writer. I read everything I could get my hands on when I was growing up: mysteries, adventures books, biographies, even encyclopedias. I am still a reader, averaging a book every 1-2 weeks in many different genres and ranging between fiction and nonfiction. Right now I am finishing the biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man who stood against Hitler and the Third Reich. Powerful and moving.

2) What genre do you usually write?

Fantasy, although I am also starting to work on a steam punk novel.

3) What made you choose that genre?

I have always loved the fantasy genre. It began when my dad introduced me to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a child, my imagination soared beyond this world. I would imagine I was a unicorn, or a lost princess, or some other fantastical thing.

When I became an adult, I began reading more science fiction and fantasy, but it never occurred to me to write. It was my husband who first encouraged me to write. I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I considered myself more of a science/math gal, not a writer.

Then I had an idea of a woman who—with a touch of her hand—could see inside the soul. It took eight years to write and find a publisher, but this past April my debut book released. It is an epic adult fantasy that follows a young woman named Rowen who possesses this terrifying power.

4) Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Like I said, Daughter of Light is the first book in a series about a young woman who can see inside the soul.

The story begins with Rowen finding a strange mark on her hand. When she touches a young man from her village, she sees the hatred he carries. Unfortunately, her power lets him see everything too, which terrifies him.

Rowen is branded a witch and exiled from her village. She is able to secure a position in the White City as a varor (bodyguard) and hides her mark beneath a leather gloves. But she lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again. And this time, it might not be exile, but death for her.

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What Rowen doesn’t know is the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.

5) What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning writer?

Read. Read both in your genre and outside your genre. Reading will help you know what is out in the market, spark ideas, and learn the flow of story. Not to mention it’s an enjoyable pastime.

6) Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes?

I love this quote by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables): “The book may or may not succeed. I wrote it for love, not money, but very often such books are the most successful, just as everything in the world that is born of true love has life in it, as nothing constructed for mercenary ends can ever have.”

7) What is your writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?

If you have a deadline, you do not have the luxury of waiting for inspiration. You have to write. When my children were little, I wrote during their naps and at night. Now that my children are in school, I write while they are at school.

However, I am always brainstorming: while doing the dishes, folding laundry, and commuting. I keep files on my computer for each book idea. Inside the folder, I put descriptions, dialogue, character information, pretty much anything that comes to me for that particular story. Then, when I am ready to start writing the story, I already have a lot of it figured out and can spend what time I have at my computer on writing.

8) Did your parents encourage your love for reading and/or writing? If not, where did encouragement come from?

My husband Dan is my biggest encouragement. He was the first one who encouraged me to write, has read every manuscript I have written (even the bad ones), gives me great feedback, and helps me with criticism and doubt. I couldn’t ask for a better partner!

9) How did you study the craft of writing?

I joined local writing chapters, read books on writing, and attended small writing conferences. As I grew as a writer, I expanded, joining a national writers group, attended national writing conferences, and read more books on writing.

But the biggest way to learn how to write is do it. Sit down and write. Put in the hours. If professional athletes and concert pianists needs to practice, then a writer does to.

10) Do you read books on the craft of writing? If so, what are your favorites and why?

I do, but I prefer conferences or online classes to books. I learn more by watching a person, rather than by reading. There are some great conferences out there and a beginning writer can start small, then work his or her way up. There are also some online classes where you can watch lectures and have a more hands on learning experience. One that just recently launched is www.bestsellersociety.com

11) Are you a plotter or a panster? Explain your writing process.

I am a writer who plots. My books begin with a character. I suddenly see this person in my mind and I start asking questions. Who is she (or he)? What is broken inside of her? How did she get to this place? And what is going to happen to her next? Slowly I start seeing the world my character lives in and take notes. Then I meet the other characters, then a plot starts to form.

I cannot write a book without knowing the beginning and how it’s going to end, along with all the climatic moments. I see my outline as a map through a forest. I need to know where I am going. However, I don’t mind not knowing all details until I reach that particular curve in the road. I can still be surprised as I write the first draft.

12) What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

I am a mother to four kids, so that keeps me pretty busy, even if they are in school now. I also enjoy reading and playing games, both board and video, with my family.

13) How did you get your first book published? How long did it take? Was this the first book you had written?

I wrote for eight years before I was finally published. Most of that time was spent learning the craft of writing and writing when my children were napping or after they went to bed. Then it was spent searching for a publishing company that would accept Christian fantasy. I was constantly told there was no market for my kind of book.

Two years into searching for a publisher or agent who would take my manuscript, my husband lost his job. At that point, I knew I needed to stop writing and help my family by going back to work fulltime. That was hard! But it was the right thing to do. So I walked away and started working.

A couple weeks later I was contacted and offered my first contract J. I continued to work fulltime while preparing my manuscript for publication until my husband found employment. Juggling family, writing, and a fulltime job is difficult. Kudos to those who do that on a daily basis. I am thankful that I only had to do that for a short period of time.


Daughter of Light is my first book, with two more to follow.

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Morgan L. Busse writes stories about hope. She believes that in the dark times of life, there is light and draws on her own life’s experiences. From the moment she first read The Hobbit, Morgan has loved the fantasy genre. Both J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks are the inspirations behind her writing. She is the author of Daughter of Light, the first in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find about more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com