Today’s guest is author, Susan Morgan!
Out of the Ordinary by Susan Morgan
Aislinn O’Connell’s ordinary life changes forever when she is taken hostage during a brutal attack by a well-armed group of rebels bent on revolution. Caught with her, undercover government agent John Starke must use every skill at his command to help them both survive the terrible dangers lurking at every turn.
Held as prisoners of the fleeing rebels, Aislinn and John are taken to an isolated stronghold and must struggle to survive a brutal, unforgiving camp at the mercy of the bloodthirsty rebels. Without help or hope of rescue, the pair is all that stand between a leader bent on revolution and his ultimate plan of destruction and devastation.
Now for my interview with Susan…
Please tell us about your book.
Out of the Ordinary is really the second novel I’ve finished (i’m doing a final edit on the first) and it comes from a lifetime love of storytelling. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve written stories (today it’s call fan fiction), mostly shared with friends at the middle school lunch table. But those days lit a fire and love of writing that’s stayed burning ever since.
This story follows the journey of one woman, an ordinary suburban housewife, who finds herself in circumstances she can’t control and doesn’t expect to survive. Like many of us, she’s lived a comfortable, plentiful life and has never though that would change… that she’d have to fight to survive. At first, her survival is almost completely dependent on the unexpected intercession of a stranger… a lonely soul as different from her and her life as night and day. Once bonded together, the two recognize something in each other, and it lends them the strength to fight to survive.
Out of the Ordinary is one of those stories that told itself to me, and I hope conveys some things that make people stop and think. Not just about violence and terrorism… not just about prejudice or generations of frustration, but about how in the end we’re all human, living on this one world together. Somehow we’d better manage to get along.
What inspired the story?
As I said, it was a story that sort of told itself to me. Just bam — out of the blue. There it was and it simply had to be put to paper.
Because of the overtones of terrorism I nearly deleted the entire manuscript (about half finished at that point) on that awful morning of 9/11. I couldn’t touch the manuscript for nine months. Though my terrorists might be home-grown, and the methods were different, the result was the same. It cut way too close.
When I did finally reopen the document and start again I was able to bring all the pain and anguish of that experience to the work… a sort of humility and respect I didn’t have when I started it back in June of 2000, when my third child was 6 months old.
Where can readers find your book?
The book is available online right now at booklocker.com (my publisher’s site) or at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com as well. You can order from any of the three, and expect to receive your professionally printed book in about a week, depending on where you live. That’s the best of print on demand publishing — the reader gets something they can hold in their hand, without going to a bookstore.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Least favorite?
My favorite part of writing is the chance to share something with others… a message, a truth, a laugh… whatever that might be, You can do things with the written word that you can’t when speaking… and it has an impact that lasts and lingers. To me, there is no greater satisfaction than getting the words you want, just right, and reading it over to see that you’ve exactly captured what you wanted to say.
The internet has made sharing our work so much easier than ever before, and I often wonder what the great authors would have been able to do had they access to the keyboard, the computer and the internet.
My least favorite part of writing is that I need to be off by myself… away from my family while I’m working. I need to concentrate and focus, and that sometimes makes me short and cross with interruptions, of which there are many in my kid-ruled household. I need to get better at dealing with those.
What would you like to tell aspiring writers?
Keep writing and write what you love, whether there’s a market for it or not. Read authors above you (in skill and experience) and try to take something from everything (the good and the bad) that you come across. Don’t think that just because people say “It can’t be done.” that it can’t.
Who has inspired you as a writer?
My favorite writer of all time is Victor Hugo… that man could do more with three words than any writer I’ve ever read. The pictures he paints, the characters he shows us and way his stories unfold is beyond brilliant. That’s the kind writer I dream to be.
What do you like to read?
I absolutely love, always have, historical fiction, the more fact based the better. Lately I’ve been reading a whole lot of Philippa Gregory (I’m a fan from way back) and Anya Seton. I’ve also rediscovered some of the classics I’ve always loved, Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, Gone With The Wind. I just finished To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and was in awe of the way she had me loving these characters by the end of the first chapter. Now that’s genius.
If you had a time capsule to be opened 50 years in the future, what would you put in it?
An iPod, A Bible, A family photo album. A local newspaper. A grocery receipt. A current Atlas, a few popular magazines like Discover, TV Guide and Time, maybe the Star and National Enquirer for comic relief.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Passionate. Aware. Sensitive.
What is next for you?
I’m going to be putting a lot of time into promoting Out of the Ordinary. Here I was thinking that writing it would be the hard part… but that was just the beginning! Getting the word out does not come naturally to me, and I’m going to have to step outside that comfort zone if I want people to know about the book.
I’m also going to polish up that first novel, and submit it to publishers. It’s a story I’ve always loved and recently returned to, hoping there was something there. I guess I’m still hoping that.
I’ll also be working on some more short stories, entering a few well chosen contests and basically trying to bring my work to a wider audience than my husband, friends and family.
Is there anything you’d like to ask readers?
I’d like to ask for some of your precious reading time… of which all of us are in short supply these days. I never have enough time to read all I want, and the time, when I do get it, goes too fast. I can promise you that if you choose to invest some of your valuable time in my book, you’ll get a story with that will keep your interest, keep you guessing and keep you entertained.
I’m always open to feedback and suggestions, and would love to hear any thoughts or questions you might have.
Thank you Susan so much for that interview!
Readers, you can learn more about Susan and her work at http://www.susanmorganonline.com/
And check back later this month for my review of Out of the Ordinary!