Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Todd Morr, 50.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Colorado, and grew up in Colorado Springs.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa Colorado with a degree in fine art, which I have not used very often. After college I moved to California and have lived all over the state since. I am currently up north in Marina, which is just outside Monterey. I’ve been married for nearly three decades and have three kids, two girls. They are all more or less grown ups, two have graduated from college and the youngest is a senior in high school.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
When 280 Steps went out of business I was a little worried it might be tough to find a new publisher, but Fahrenheit Press was kind enough to take on publishing If You’re Not One Percent, so it should be back in circulation soon.
I recently put out the long in publishing limbo Captain Cooker (originally on also defunct Snub Nose Press and was to be re-released with 280 Steps) on my own ‘label’ 10th Rule Books. The even longer in publishing limbo sequel Best Laid Plans of Idiots and Fuck Ups will be following in June.
I’ve also been putting together the 10th Rule Podcast, which is set up like an old radio serial with each week being a short (about 10 minutes ) part of a longer story.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I drew comics and wrote stories when I was grade school. I liked making stuff up and creating my own worlds when I was a kid and still do. After I graduated college I set out to write a sci-fi novel off an idea I had, and succeeded in writing it, though it was never published. In the 90’s Inspired by film-makers like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and John Woo and writers such as Elmore Leonard, Richard Stark, and Robert Parker I started writing crime fiction. A decade or so later I found someone willing to publish something.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I was published. I did not tell anyone I wrote, except immediate family, even though I had been doing it on and off for over twenty years. People were shocked when I told them I had a novel published.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
An idea I thought would make a cool story, which is how they all start. The first books I wrote were never published probably for good reason, the first one published was Captain Cooker, which started with the idea of the character of Cooke, a man sent to prison for a crime he did not commit who had to become what he was accused of to survive, trying to find his way in the world after he was released. When I was writing that book I pictured it being a series where I wrote a bunch of books about this character, but it has not worked out that way, at least not yet.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Like all my books I never find the right title until the book is either finished or nearing the end. I was listening to The Joe Rogan podcast and they were talking about how domesticated pigs who escape to the wild transform to the point they are no longer recognizable. I did a little research and found there are wild pigs in Hawaii called Captain Cookers, pigs belonging to the explorer who ended up in the wild who grew tusks and became wild boars. This seemed to fit with the theme of the book and the character, while sounding kind of cool. The character was not Cooke until then, but I changed to make it fit, which looking back seems unnecessary.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Maybe? I think so, I have definite ideas what books I write should be like, I’m not sure if I succeed, but I’m trying. I don’t know if the genre makes it more challenging, I only write in genres I really like so if anything it is a crutch rather than a challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Inspired by reality and then taken somewhere else might be the right way to phrase it. While there are things based on experience and people I take it to an extreme place so far away from reality no one would recognize it. I’m not really worried about being ‘real’, things happen in my books that are at best unlikely. I always use semi real locations, though I take a lot of liberties to make the stories work, and the things taking place are completely made up Names are always changed, or left out, because in my books nothing good happens to either people or places.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. I often write about where I’m living at the time. My story in Double Tap takes place in Salinas, Captain Cooker and Jesus Saves, Satan Invests are both in Oceanside, which is where I was living at the time. The location of If You’re not One Percent is never named but is based on a real place I have visited a lot, so I suppose I travelled for that one, though I did not go there for the specific purpose of writing about it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Some I’ve done myself (Mr, Chips Must Die, all the 10th Rule Books stuff) trying to get something out of that art major I guess. Mostly, I leave it to the publishers, before 280 Steps went out of business they had a particular style of design I liked a lot and when Captain Cooker was first published by Snub Nose Press, writer Eric Beetner designed the cover.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Maybe, but mostly I’m just looking to entertain.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Plenty, there are a lot of people doing great work in crime fiction right now. Honestly it is hard to name one as the favorite. Greg Barth’s Selena series is awesome. The previously mentioned Eric Beetner is consistently great. Mike Monson, Mike McReady, Art Howe, Rob Pierce and Anthony Neil Smith are guys who come to mind. Dude I teamed up with on Double Tap, Chris Davis, is putting out great stuff. I’m sure I’m leaving a bunch out, there is a lot of great fiction out there.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I was teaching guitar and one of my students was a published writer. I offered to trade some lessons for him reading something I had written (a novella with the character who would become Cooke). He was resistant, thinking it would ruin our relationship (we got along well and often ending up hanging out and talking after his lesson was over) if he gave me an honest evaluation. I convinced him I had thick skin, being an art major and a musician exposes a person to a lot of criticism, and he agreed.
His evaluation was kind of brutal, but he was being honest and all his advice was on the money. He feared I would argue with him, but I listened and took his advice and my writing improved. I can honestly say without his help I would not have been published (or it would have taken quite a bit longer, and it already took twenty some years).
He moved on before I became published. I don’t think he has any idea how much he helped me.
Here is a link to my amazon page:
A Link to Captain Cooker
A Link to Double Tap
A link to the 10th Rule Podcast