Interview with JB Morris

What do you read for pleasure?
My first question and already I'm at true confessions. I'm not reading except research for my books. There's simply no time. I spend eight hours a day writing, six days a week. It's like an eight to five job. I love it. But my life doesn't not stop there. I'm married so that's a time commitment that I truly enjoy. I live in a home so there's some more time. I finally farmed out most of the yard work but still, a home takes time to pick up, fuss about and take out the garbage. Then there's my exercises. I spend two hours a day exercising so there's more time. In fact, I exercise in the middle of the night because that is the only time available. Bottom line, there's no time left for reading. And now for the biggest confession. It is no contest to choose between reading and writing. Writing wins every time.
Describe your desk
My desk. More confessions. It's like the cockpit of an airplane. Everything is within arms reach. Just do a three sixty and the world is at my finger tips. We have a den in our home that is used for my office. Small but it gets the job done. It's my favorite room and serves multiple purposes. It has a window that looks out the front of the house so I know the world exists. It has a chair that my wife sits in to read the paper, eat her breakfast and lunch and visit. I'd go nuts if she wasn't close by for part of the day. Like my wife, my desk also serves as a breakfast and lunch counter. I finally move at the end of the day and we eat in the living room watching TV. I tell you, my life is grand. I have a bucket full of grandkids so their pictures are under glass on my desk. But most of all, my den is a replica of the D-Day invasion in WW II. I have notes on all four walls. Its a beautiful room. Don't get me wrong. My wife and I have an active social life and we travel. But the den is a magic place. It's where I spend time with some of my favorite people. The characters in my books. They've make me cry, put a lump in my throat and make me yell for joy.
When did you first start writing?
Interesting question. Best answer. When I was a young man working for my dad. I had these words in my head. They haunted me, so I wrote them down. And what was it? Poetry. I can remember one night getting up to write a poem. The words never changed. It is one of my favorites. Another time, it was sitting in a bar and still later, a warm afternoon on the beach. Again, two of my favorites. I wrote my first one in high school. It was an angry poem. I still have it. Bottom line, I decided to try and get them published. I met with an agent or publisher. I can't remember. Long story short. He wanted to publish my work. Fantastic. But he needed a hundred poems. A whole book. And I had only twenty-five. So the writing slipped away and was forgotten. My poetry is different than most. Much of It has an Elizabethan quality. Can't tell you why I write in that style. It's just natural for me. I told myself I could never write a book. I didn't know how or where to begin. But then Grace paid me a visit. Oh, I swear she wouldn't leave me and demanded I tell her story. And look where I am today. On my fourth book. And then there is Sarah. She is nagging me big time to tell her story. She's next. I can hardly wait.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I served in public office at the local and state level. I know first hand what goes on behind closed doors and the ugliness of politics today. Those experiences were the genesis of my book, The Rescue of Liddie MacArthur. I wanted to continue the political theme and write a second book, The Hungry Lions. Didn't work. The story conflicted with Liddie. So I kept the political theme but changed the stage to The Beijing Memorandum. I'm working on it now. Lots of political shenanigans. And my biggest surprise? The story itself has become the main character. Now how could that happen?. I have a room full of characters and some of them are truly fabulous. But the story is the boss. It dictates who does what and when. It's a great story. Love it too..
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have an ugly answer. Sorry. Tried going the traditional route. I lost all respect for literary agents. And I'm not going to waste my time on the "why." I have talent that has been reinforced with people who know a good story when they read it. So look out, Boston. We're going to take this puppy on the independent road and see if the reader agrees with me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Discovering the "kicker" and falling in love with my characters. What in the devil is a "kicker?" Simple. It's the phrase or sentence or two that jump-starts the scene and triggers all that follows. Let me give you an example (protected by copyright) from The Beijing Memorandum.
Two men.
Equal in all ways.
The best the People’s Republic had to offer.
Those few words kicked the horse out of the gate and took me for a wild ride as the two giants in character met for the first time. It was a blast to write.

Another love is some of the characters in the books. They become my friends and remain with me long after the book has been returned to the shelf. The elegance of Pamela and the heartache of Grace. The toughness of Drummond and the dedication of Cody. There are so many of them. Each special in their own way.
What are you working on next?
The Redemption of Sarah Jane Bartlett. Oh, she is going to take you and me for a ride around the block. Sarah is the kind of woman you love to hate. But what happens to her after "Handsome Jack" dumps her and marries the sweet flower girl? That's Sarah's story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Started with Louis L'Amour. He and I rode a lot of trails together. And we saved the "schoolmarm" a hundred times. Moved over to early Danielle Steel. Especially, Five Days in Paris. And then of course. there is Irish Born by Nora Roberts. I like Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Oh such an easy question. Live life and write. That's better than toast and jelly.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Hopefully, it's with my wife. Otherwise, its those doggone chores.
How do you approach cover design?
Another easy one. I want it to be simple so a quick glance can tell the reader everything they need to know. Hard charging red background is great. And most importantly, I want to knock the reader's socks off. An equally easy question is what I don't like. Having to take my entire lunch hour to understand all the nuances of the cover. Or even worse, a long haired beautiful woman struggling to keep her gown up while standing next to some bare chested clown holding a sword.
Published 2014-07-05.
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