Author Interview {Chad Morris}

So last week – should we talk about it or just let it slide? I was…shall we say – busy. But not in the fun writer dashing out thousands of words way. More like girl with five babies trying to get on the right track busy. Starting a new eating plan busy. Cutting out sugar and carbs busy. Whole30 busy.

I know you understand this.

Never fear! I’m back and feeling pretty good actually. This week in Vegas, we have the thrill of two MG authors swooping in for a fun book tour. NY Times Bestselling Author Brandon Mull and Chad Morris are going to be here signing and selling and generally entertaining the masses. I thought I would prep you for their arrival with a little interview with Chad. He is seriously a lot of fun and I really enjoyed his book The Inventor’s Secret.

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My 11 year old son gave it a thumbs up as well.

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Believe me, you want to know more about this fun author and his works. Let’s get to know Chad a little better, shall we?

CH:           Where did the idea for Cragbridge Hall originate?

CM: Great question. Here’s the answer:

CH:            I read you did stand up comedy for a time. What made you start writing, or was it something you’ve always done?

CM: I started writing and performing sketch comedy in college with a group called Divine Comedy. Brandon Mull, the New York Times Best-Selling Author, was in the group and the college group still gets together to do some of his launch parties.

Comedy was a fantastic writing school. I got to practice pitching my ideas, pounding out drafts, getting feedback, and then seeing how it went over with an audience. I think it helped my writing a lot.

CH:            How did you sell your book to an agent…what was the process and time frame for you?

CM: I actually went the other way. I sent the manuscript for Cragbridge Hall, the Inventor’s Secret straight to Shadow Mountain Publishing. And thankfully, they made me an offer. Then I found an agent.  I had sent Shadow Mountain a manuscript previous to this one that got some good attention, so thankfully they were already a bit interested in me.

CH:            What do you love most about writing?

CM: I love the no-limits creativity.

CH:            What secrets can you tell us about The Inventor’s Secret?

CM: Um . . . let’s see. One of the codes for the Bridge is the home phone number I memorized in elementary school.  I made Grandpa Cragbridge the age my oldest son will be in 2074.

If you want an insider secret, I’ll just say that Grandpa Cragbridge isn’t the only one who has a huge secret. You find out about another in book 2.

CH:           Is another book coming? When will it come out? Is Vegas on your list of stops for signing and promotion, hint, hint?

CM: Book 2, The Avatar Battle came out March 4, 2014! I’m pretty thrilled!

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I’m a lucky brat and will be doing a lot of touring with Brandon Mull this spring. Vegas is on the docket! It looks like we should be there around March 20-21. Check www.cragbridgehall.com for the official list of stops in the near future.

{Chad will indeed be here: March 20th at Deseret Book 7650 W. Sahara Ave at 6:30pm – March 21st  at Barnes and Noble 567 N. Stephanie, Henderson 6pm}

CH:           What about your family – tell us about how they inspire and challenge you.

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CM: I love this question. My wife is my sounding board, my first reader, and quite possibly the best and hottest woman in the world. She gives great feedback and reassures me when I’m pretty convinced everything I write is boring slop. Plus, she runs our crazy household and finds ways of letting me write.

And my kids are my main motivation for writing. The thought of making them laugh, gasp, or call out a “that’s awesome!” or “no way!” brings a whole new level to my story. And when I read to them at night, and the story works, it’s a total thrill.

CH:         Top 3 things you want every young reader to know.

CM:

1. You’re awesome. Seriously, you are. Don’t argue with me. Just admit it. And keep reading.

2. Read what you love, and occasionally read something different just to try it out.

3. You can do something amazing! Yep. Just try. And then keep trying. You just might surprise me and yourself.

CH:            Top 4 things you want every writer to know

CM:

1. You’re probably better than you think.

2. Keep trying.

3. Read with a writing eye. (But also read for just plain fun too.)

4. Take a break and do something else every now and then. Writing is awesome, but it may just drive us crazy if we get too obsessed with it.

CH:          Share your favorite scene from book one or two – fave or most pivotal?

CM: That would be a tough call. I have a lot of favorites for different reasons. For example, I love the avatar relay race in book 2 because I think it’s creative and crazy fun to imagine. For the same reason, I get caught up in the virtual world in book 2.

I love the way book 1 wrapped up with Abby saving the day in the basement. While I was writing the story, and approaching the end, I had no idea how I was going to get her out of the trouble I had gotten her into. I’m pretty thrilled with the way it turned out.

And I love when I write something that may hit a deeper emotional level, like Abby’s confession of how she’s felt inferior for years to Derick in book 1 or there is an emotionally intense scene with Derick in book 2.

 CH:          What inspires you or gets your juices flowing: quotes, music, pictures, movies?

CM: I love books, movies, comedy, just talking with great friends . . . etc. But when it comes to actually writing, nothing gets the juices flowing like … well … writing. I sit, and I type and hopefully after a while something great happens.

 CH:         When you visit a school, what is your goal?

CM: I want to convince them that their brain is the best invention in the universe (My current presentation has a bit of an invention theme). I want to excite and inspire them to read and make dreams come true. I also want the teachers to be able to get behind what I say. You can please the kids without pleasing the adults, but I want to do both.  I introduce them to my book and if it looks fun to them I hope they look into it.

CH:          Tell us what you do when you’re not writing.

CM: I still pound away at my full-time job. I love to hang out with my five kids and date my wife. I’m very active in my church. I like to play some basketball, watch comedy, read, watch Sherlock, throw my children on bean bags . . . etc.

CH:          3 things on your bucket list

CM: To be interviewed by Christene. Check.

I’d like to take my son to China (He’s pretty fascinated by it.), make a career out of writing, keep my wife in love with me until we’re awesome old people who smell like vitamins and wear clothes that don’t match, and help my kids become as amazing as possible.

CH:         What book impressed you as a young reader? Did it prove inspiration during your writing?

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CM: When I was in elementary school, I didn’t like to read. I thought it was boring. I’d rather play ball with my friends, or practice drums, or . . . whatever. But The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander won me over. I went through the whole series. After that, I can’t say I read a ton, but I did enjoy it. Alexander converted me. I wrote to him and he wrote me this short note on a pamphlet. I’ve kept it all these years. I think that was the first moment I realized that authors were just people and maybe I could become one.

And I would love to win over a reluctant reader like Alexander won me over.

CH:         Here at ADDICTED we love to hear what you can’t live without. What are you addicted to?

CM: I love cookie dough ice cream and cereal, but not together. I eat a bowl of cereal almost every night while I’m writing. Definitely addicted.

Chad, thanks so much for sharing your time with us! 

I loved learning more about Chad and his books. This guy has a great sense of humor and talent for telling stories. You should definitely check out his website, and follow him on Facebook. If you’re in Vegas, come on out this week and pick up a copy of his newest release: The Avatar Battle!

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