Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi, Fiona. Thanks for the interview.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Chris Morton. 41.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Brighton, England. But I’ve been living in Hsinchu, Taiwan for the last ten years or so.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I wake up, run downstairs for a quick breakfast, watch the football news. Then make two bottles of milk. Wake up my twin daughters. Feed them, get them dressed. Stick on the TV while I cook up some lunch for the family. Then take the twins out to the park. Come back for lunch. Then go to a cafe to write or read for an hour before heading to my language school where I teach English.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, my big news is I’ve written a fantastic new sci-fi novel. Too good to self-publish. But I wanted to put something out after having worked so hard, so I sat down and wrote another one, which I finished in a month. It’s quite short but deliberately so. I was trying to write a full novel in as few words as possible. It’s called Paradox and concerns time travel. Early readers have compared it to Philip K. Dick.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
At school, as a kid. We all do that. But I used to continue my stories at home. Then while at university I started on a novel which would eventually become English Slacker, my first published work.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. When I’m working hard on a novel it becomes like a part time job, much more so than a hobby. I guess if and when I enjoy more success, then I’ll be able to honestly see myself as a proper writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been inspired by art but I can’t play music or draw and for my whole life I’ve been good at coming up with stories so I turned to writing. You have to write a lot before anything becomes readable, learn the craft, etc. So it’s hard work.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
So I guess this interview should be for my latest work, the novella called Paradox. It came from my brother. He is quite artistic and I liked the idea of writing a story based on an idea that came from somebody else so naturally I chose him. He surprised me however, by coming up with something quite short. He simply said, “Paradox – a time travel story that works.” So with this in mind, I got to it. It’s an interesting way to write and I’d recommend it. You can separate yourself emotionally from what you are working on. Plus there’s a blending of ideas that come from two different sources.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to challenge myself so my style changes with each book I write. This is also a form of motivation. I don’t get bored this way or become complacent. I also write using a different method each time. I’ve used notebooks, written in cafes, pubs, written in parks, at home on the laptop, I’ve tried the write-edit-write-edit way; I’ve tried the write until the whole thing is finished and then edit … Again, trying different things and keeping it fresh is something I’d recommend.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
With my earlier novels the events are fictional but the emotional tone comes from within. It’s like, even though none of the things concerned have happened to me, I’ve experienced similar trials and tribulations. And this is even true for my sci-fi stories. If you put a bit of heart into what you are writing, your subconscious feelings begin to emerge. Although with Paradox, because it was based on somebody else’s idea, this didn’t happen so much. It’s just fiction.
As for characters, I often start with people I’ve met, but as their role develops, they tend to take on a life of their own.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not so much, especially with my later ones. I began to realise after writing for many years that what a reader wants is a good story. They don’t want some sort of lecture. Only the top writers in the world can manage to pull that off well.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Well, to write a time travel story that works is actually pretty hard. You can’t go back to interact with your past self because that would be a paradox. Think about it. You can’t in fact be influenced by any future events because that would be a paradox. If you find out about something that is going to happen in the future, then that event will happen because otherwise it would be a paradox. If a part of your past is changed then you won’t remember it. It is impossible to change your own past because by doing so, you create a paradox. You can’t change the future, you can’t change the past. Fate comes into play. This is what my novella is mostly about. And I learnt that almost all time travel stories are theoretically impossible. That is, unless Basil Exposition turns up and suggests you simply don’t worry about it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Star Wars: A New Dawn, A Moveable Feast, and The Beekeeper. I’ve just finished The Old Man and the Sea and On Trial. Next I’m going to read The Drive and Trouble is my Business. I try to read one book at a time but always fail.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d read. When I recently finished the novel and two novellas I was working on, I needed to get out of the habit of writing every day so I replaced it with reading.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
R.I.P Chris Morton.
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?
My Dad, Alan Morton, wrote a fantastic book called The Night Shift which he self-published on Amazon and lulu. It reminded me that to get published properly it’s not just a question of writing a great novel, your manuscript has to land in the right place at the right time and be exactly what the publisher/agent is looking for. You have to be lucky, and more often than not you have to know someone in the industry too. There’s another author I know called Jonathan Last who is a top, top writer but so far unpublished.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You can check out my blog email@example.com. I usually put up a short story every month. You can find me on goodreads, facebook and I think I have a twitter account, but I never use it. Paradox is free on kindle for a while. You can find it on Amazon.