1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I was inspired to write at a very young age, four or five. I grew up on fairy tales, tall tales, and fables. All of those were full of fantastical beings. I couldn’t get enough of those stories. They instilled in me a love of creating worlds and situations within me that has yet to wane. I think the seeds of wanting to write fantasy fiction were planted at that time, but the moment that I knew I just had to be a writer was in the fourth grade. We had to create nine to ten page “books,” bound by yarn and construction paper, and read them to the other fourth grade class. I loved the feeling of reading to other people, and having other people peruse my work. From that moment on, I was bitten by the bug.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger?
What books do you enjoy reading today? The list of authors that inspired me in my youth were Beverly Cleary, Lynne Reid Banks, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, and Meg Cabot. Nowadays, I love reading books by Sharon Shinn, Alan J. Garner, Dzintra Sullivan, James Patterson, Patti Roberts, Matthew Arkin, C.N. Crawford…the list goes on and on.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The 11th Percent?
The 11th Percent was inspired by an uninterrupted, seven-hour dream I had on February 19th, 2011. I had been thinking about ghost stories (one of my favorite stories during childhood) and was wondering about a story, a ghost story, where the ghosts weren’t haunting people? What if they were a part of the frame work of the whole plot? I was trying to figure out how to make that a reality, but not in the way of Ghost Whisperer or Odd Thomas or anything like that. I wondered at length about it, and that night, my mind answered the questions for me. The 11th Percent was conceived.
4. You say it's the first in a series. How many books do you plan on writing about Jonah?
The 11th Percent will be a series of seven books.
5. Do you, personally, believe in ghosts?
I believe that there are phenomena in this world that can’t sufficiently be explained away by science, logic, and reason. That includes paranormal phenomena. I would never say I’ve seen a slew of spirits or anything, but I believe that they exist in some way, shape or form.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
Many characters have aspects of my personality, but there is more of me in Jonah than anyone else. I have put many of my experiences into him. He struggles with self-worth, wonders what mark he is supposed to make on the world, has unresolved feelings concerning bullies and ignorance of his childhood, and he is a good person who simply wants the opportunity to show people that he actually has something to offer. And even though he is already a man in his twenties, he is still growing. That’s what a lot of people in this world do not seem to realize. Yes, coming of age is a very formative time as well as a formative experience. But life and growth don’t END when you reach eighteen. There are still so many things you learn about yourself, learn about your talents, and learn about your mind. And some things you experience can very well make you sit down and say, “Now what?” just like a child would. There is a lot of me in Jonah. I like to say that Jonah is me, just with the volume turned up just a little louder due to the fictional components of the story.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
Science Fiction, definitely!
8. What would you do if you were in Jonah's position?
If I were in Jonah’s position, I would bend over backwards and do all I could to learn everything possible about my new life. I hate being ignorant of facts and knowledge, and I hate being in situations where it seems like new information to me is obvious and mundane to everyone else. I would learn and learn, and learn some more. I’d also have fun with it. I feel like a normal life is boring; what exactly is “normal” anyway? It isn’t like anyone can give a clear consensus on it. I would enjoy learning the new details of my existence and drink up the fascination of it all.
9. Why make the story about an everyman who discovers the paranormal as opposed to a main character who already believed in ghosts?
It is my belief that to have that aspect of curiosity is always a plus. If my character had already been a believer, the mileage that I could get out of his learning new information would have been sorely limited. In my opinion, it’s always better to have someone who is learning something along the way. Since we, as a people, are always learning something new (and becoming better people because of that), I wanted the characters in my novels to be no different.
10. Would you like to see The 11th Percent as a film? Who do you want to see play your characters?
I would love to see The 11th Percent series as a film collection! As far as who I’d want to play my characters…well, that’s a funny thing, because my wife and I have joked on several occasions about who could do them justice. We said that Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Spiderwick Chronicles) would do Jonah justice, Terrence could be played by Michael B. Jordan, Olivia Munn for Reena, Shane West for Creyton, and Michael Vartan for Jonathan.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I will swing for the fence. In ten years time, I see myself as successful. I see myself as a prominent, prolific, and noteworthy author in ten year’s time. But that’s not for arrogance or self-aggrandizement; I would remain just as humble as I am now. I would love to see that my books have prompted people to look at paranormal phenomena in a new way. I would like very much to be a trailblazer and a pioneer for other paranormal authors.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
I would be doing community outreach of some sort. Or heading a creative writing class.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
I am busy putting the finishing touches on The 11th Percent’s sequel, Item & Time! It’s Book 2 in The 11th Percent Series, and will be released May 29th!
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Tamora Pierce or Sharon Shinn. They just seem to be very versatile authors with a deep range of talent and imagination. I’d love to do something with them!
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Hmm. Three things that would surprise people about me…
1) I am an advocate for animal adoption (my favorite animals are cats…they are present in my novels!
2) I used to be a therapist. I hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work on the Health/Mental Health track. I was in that field for several years, but left it because it became all about the bottom dollar, and not aiding people.
3) As a kid, my absolute favorite book series was The Baby-Sitter’s Club. My favorite character? Claudia. Love that girl to this day.
Thank you so much! It was an honor and a pleasure to do this interview!
Find Mr. Morris online via:
Official site (has all other links)