This week, we got to interview Roz Morris, editor, author, writing coach and public speaker. The author of My Memories of A Future Life had much to share with us that we think you’ll find exciting. Like working on Lara Croft games for Square Enix!
Let’s see what she had to say:
So you’re a little of everything. You edit, you write, coach and speak at events. How do you balance it all?
With a big diary! I love doing all these things – working with words and creative people. But I must make sure my own work isn’t falling behind and it would be easy to become over-committed, so I schedule the editing work to leave enough time for my own projects. I might want to draft or revise a novel manuscript, create a course, or consolidate material for a writing book so I reserve blocks of time to achieve my own writing goals.
Oh – and I have a blog that I post on weekly as well. Again, I love doing it, but I hate to rush a post, so I have to set aside time for that.
How would you say you kick-started your career? What steps can readers take to follow in your footsteps?
I think of my writing career in two phases. Part 1 started in a rather unusual way – as a writer for hire. I wrote a book in a hurry to get a publisher out of a difficult spot – which meant I was then on their radar as a reliable wordsmith. From that I progressed into ghostwriting, and also to mentoring other writers who were hoping to sign with an agent or a publisher.
Then I began Part 2. I started a blog, I connected with like-minded people on Twitter, Facebook and in the blogging community – and I began publishing under my own name (the Nail Your Novel writing books and my novels). In Part 1, I’d been behind the scenes, getting experience, honing my craft, learning about publishing.
Although my route into writing work is unusual, I think we all have these two phases – the Part 1 and Part 2. So my advice would be this: before you launch into Part 2, make sure you’ve done enough of Part 1 – the learning, the apprenticeship, establishing who you are as a writer.
What is it about writing that makes you happy?
What a great question! So many things. The act of sitting with my hands on the keys, thinking into the page. Diving into an idea, surprising myself with the things I write – the ideas about the plot, the realizations about the characters. I like the satisfaction of sticking with a book through the tough times. And the immense reward when a reader writes to you and tells you that you’ve understood something about them, or you’ve helped them.
You spent some time ghostwriting, before publishing under your own name. Do you prefer one over the other, or was it just a logical step for you?
I like both. With ghostwriting, I can pretend to be someone else. It’s quite a privileged position – I can get access to a person’s world view, their formative experiences. From that I make the book they would hope to write – which is not what I would choose to write if left to my own devices. I return to my own work with new perspectives and new narrative ideas.
But I also love publishing under my own name. A reader’s connection with a book is very personal, and I love the chance to express my own curiosities, to tell a story the way I think it should be told, with characters who personally interest me. The two situations are like being an actor. They can play a role. But they can also be themselves, and express their own obsessions and passions – and when I write my own books, I’m being totally myself.
Being a master of all trades, you essentially run your own business, by selling your services. How do you market yourself?
The vast majority is by building connections on social media – mainly Twitter, Facebook and my blogs. I’m lucky that I’ve found platforms I enjoy, and been able to connect with wonderful people. I’ve been doing it a long time – since 2009 – and all my opportunities have arisen from the relationships I’ve built with my online presence.
Tell us about your work with Square Enix!
That was such fun. I wrote story and dialogue for Square Enix’s Lara Croft games. I love using my knowledge of story in new ways, and the game was a big departure from my usual prose-based storytelling. But the essence was the same – figuring out what the audience wanted … and giving it to them.
What are you currently working on? Any novels?!
I’m currently on my third novel, Ever Rest. I’m superstitious about saying much more until it’s ready to release, but I can tell you it involves mountains! If you sign up for my newsletter I give tantalizing snippets of my research. Readers of my previous novels are helping me with aspects of the research, which is an unexpected and lovely example of the social media community in action.
What advice would you like to share with aspiring writers, or those who are just starting out, and are a little overwhelmed?
Don’t rush anything. You might feel pressured to get a book out in a few months, but nobody is standing over you with a stopwatch. Learn your craft, learn how you want to write and what your style should be, and read a lot. If you feel your book isn’t turning out as well as you hoped, put it aside and write a wish-list of all the things you hoped it would be – and especially why you liked the idea. That might be enough to pull you back on track. Then find books that are like that, read them and learn from them. Come back with fresh eyes.
Where can our readers get your books?
All the major places! I have 5 titles – 3 Nail Your Novel books for authors, drawn from my experience writing and mentoring. And two novels. The novels are also available as audiobooks on Audible.
We’d like to thank Roz Morris for taking time out of her busy schedule for this interview. It was a pleasure getting to know her, and we wish her nothing but the best for the future.
If you would like to purchase her books, or keep in touch with the author, please visit the links above!