Today, as part of our publisher’s UNITY BOOK EVENT, I’m introducing you to fellow author McCallum J. Morgan, published by Little Bird Publishing House. We’re on a kind of Foreign Exchange project whereby we get to be hosted on each other’s blogs and get to hang out in their world with their readers for a day.
They’re going to tell you a little bit about themselves and then for a chance to be in with winning a copy of their book, just drop a comment below.
So hi. What’s your name and what do you write?
I’m McCallum. I write whatever the Muses dictate, which so far has been YA steampunk/myth fusion and horror-comedy.
When did you start writing and why?
I started my first book at age thirteen or so, but I’d been writing since long before that. I loved reading fantasy and it inspired me to want to create my own worlds, characters, and stories. I’ve always loved making things up and imagining that there is more to the world than meets the eye.
What were the biggest challenges about becoming a published author?
Trying to figure out the social media presence thing. I know a lot of people build up a presence and following before they get published, which is helpful, I think. But I was unsure of myself and didn’t want to tout myself as an ‘author’ when I wasn’t even published. But a writer’s a writer, published or not. Of course, it’s never easy to get an online presence and following going. But if you’ve started ahead, you have something to go off of to start your ‘published journey.’ I’m still working on it. I’m not a very outgoing person, so even behind the veil of social media, it’s hard to be big, brassy, and bold.
Shout out your publisher and tell us how they helped you on your creative journey.
Little Bird Publishing House has been a wonderful place to grow as a writer. With the network of authors that all reach out and help each other, giving advice and encouragement, it’s a very nurturing environment.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on book three of my Weather Casters Saga, A Hole in the Air. And several other half-formed projects: various fantasy and horror stories and novel ideas.
Who is your most favourite character you’ve written and why do they speak to you so much?
That’s like asking someone to pick their favourite child! Haha. Ok, if I have to choose just ONE, I pick Lady Vasille. I’ve had a fascination with villains since I was a kid (my favourite characters in Disney movies were the villains, Jafar, Maleficent, Cruella De Ville). Villains are cool and the ones that are complex and conflicted are even cooler. I’ve written three books with Lady Vasille now and I love how easy it is to slip back into her viewpoint and write her story. The same is true with Parsifal, but I’m proud of Vassilissa’s development and multifaceted villainy. So that’s why I choose her over Parsifal. She’s a villain and I’ve always loved those.
Do world events and politics influence your writing?
Not really. I think fiction is an escape, so if avoiding current events is being influenced, then it’s actually yes, I guess. Although if they do find their way in, I’m not going to expunge them on that basis. I really hate politics and prefer to avoid them at all costs. I refer to myself as a non-political monarchist. Which is really just a fancy way of saying I’m a desperate romantic who was born in the wrong century.
How important are places you have visited and where you live to your writing?
I think the scenery of North Idaho helps fuel my imagination. I grew up with woods all around my house and I played in them nearly every day. I think that was an important part of developing my rabid imagination. But the small number of places I’ve actually travelled to might influence my wandering imagination: wondering what it’s like out there, envisioning it, hungering for it. I think that is some influence on my writing about exotic and imaginary locations.
Share with us your favourite line from your most recent release.
Off the top of my head? Sir Crawft, a poet, in Ambulatory Cadavers responds to a question about his writing with ‘No Your Lordship, I write fiction.’ But there’s also this bit from Charles:
‘I put it over him with a chandelier and half a pint of whiskey,’ he wheezed.
Lyra: ‘You mean you set him on fire?’
Charles: ‘Accidentally, yes.’
Tell us five things that you love in life.
Coffee, Costumes, Vampires, Books, and Björk.
Tell us five things that you hate in life.
Adulting, Poor Grammar, mornings, politics, and country music (sorry, but I can’t stand it. Although I can appreciate the Romanticism of many of the lyrics).
What book started your love of reading?
Oh, gosh. I don’t know, Dr. Seuss? The Chronicles of Narnia? I read the Lord of the Rings in fifth grade. I loved Hank the Cowdog, too. And there was A Series of Unfortunate Events. I started a fanfic of Lemony Snicket, the Horrible Highway. I used to listen to children’s classics on tape. Loved the nonsense poems. Lewis Carroll is an all-time favourite of mine.
Tell us about your most recent release.
Ambulatory Cadavers was released last Halloween. It’s horror-comedy that caught me by surprise. It takes place in an imaginary country I’ve made up stories about for some time: Monezuela. The era is Regency. 1820-ish and Lyra plans to help her father take over parliament and dethrone the queen…by raising an army of the undead. Her cousin, Alice is just trying to avoid getting married when she becomes entangled with Lyra’s plot, and a strange young man of questionable occupation. I never planned on writing this book. I’d heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and even read the first page. I was mildly amused but disdainful of the butchering of a classic. However, the idea of zombies in Jane Austen’s time did seem like a charming notion. I thought, they should just write an original tale. I didn’t think I would be the one to do it, but the two characters of Alice and Lyra, who had developed separately, just came together, fused by the addition of zombies. Add a little Frankenstein, slapstick, ridiculous dialogue and you have a romp of nonsense to shake your sensibilities (I had a lot of fun writing it, anyway).
Where can we buy it?
Thank you McCallum for joining me today, and thank you all for reading! Be sure to go check out his books, and while you’re here, see what else is going on in our UNITY TOUR on Facebook! There are a lot of opportunities to win prizes and to celebrate the way books connect us all across the world. 🙂
Until next time!