Monday, November 26, 2012

YA Author Spotlight: A.K. Morgen

GRAFFITI PROMOTIONS is a regular feature on Writer's Alley, where authors and aspiring writers, editors, publishers, and anyone from the publishing world, to share their journeys, valuable wisdom, and to promote their work along a road of humor, encouragement, and inspiration. Features include Author Interviews, Book Promos, and Character Introductions.

Our featured guest today is lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her real life hero, their two dogs, and her demonic cat. A.K. Morgen, or Ayden, has a graduate degree in Criminal Justice and grand plans to save the world someday.

Ayden wrote her first story at the age of seven, and published her first book locally at the age of twelve. She's written in a variety of genres since, and has published poetry and numerous research papers over the years. Her boss loves to put her writing skills to use by having her write procedure and operation manuals for her day job.

When she's not writing, she spends her time teaching her niece and nephews things their mothers wish they didn't know, dancing in odd places, building a spork army, and fundraising for nonprofits close to her heart. She's a volunteer coordinator for one of her favorite charities, helps care for her special nephew Aloshua, and loves to spend her free time getting into mischief with her favorite partners-in-crime. Visit Ayden on her Website, Twitter, & Facebook Author Page.

Tell us a little about your introduction to cyberspace and how you use it for your writing.

I started blogging at ProgressiveU in 2006 as part of their scholarship contest. I didn't think I had much to say, but it turns out people were actually pretty interested in hearing my thoughts on issues big and small. I fell in love with the entire concept, and have blogged since.

My blog now is a mix of important issues like prematurity and bullying, random happenings in my life, and writing related items. I never really know what's going to inspire me to write an entry, which is nice. I never get bored.


What or who inspired you to start writing?
I wanted a pet elephant when I was little, but couldn't convince my mom to let me have one. Cruel, right?! Every first grader deserves a pet elephant! Anyway, while at school one day, my teacher introduced us to writing and authors, and it occurred to me that actual people wrote the books I loved. I'd never quite realized that before, and I was sold. I wrote myself my pet elephant that afternoon. I've loved writing since.

My grandfather was also a driving force behind my love of writing. He encouraged me so much over the years, and was always such a huge source of inspiration and support.

Share what it's like working with your publisher.
I absolutely love working with my publisher, Curiosity Quills Press. Working with them is like working with family. Everyone is so helpful and so much fun. I have an entire army of fellow authors on hand to answer questions, make me laugh, or even listen when I need to vent. My editor, Krystal Wade, has been a huge help throughout the entire publication process. I'd be lost without her.

Summary for Fade (The Ragnarok Prophesies: Book One): What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don't understand what's happening to them or why, and they're running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world. (Find FADE on Goodreads and Amazon.) And why don't you take a chance and enter below to win your very own digital copy!! Just do it...

What is the biggest challenge in writing YA, MG, or PBs today?
I think the biggest challenge in writing YA is finding a balance between reality and expectation. Kids, teenagers especially, deal with so many difficult situations now, it can be difficult to figure out where to draw the line when writing for them. Do you include that scene of bullying or leave it alone? What about that fourteen year old kid going to prison? These are the kids and situations readers know, but it's so hard to find a way to write them while still giving YA readers the escape from these situations that they crave.

One final note from A.K. Morgen:
Through March of 2013, Curiosity Quills Press and Ayden will be donating 10% of royalties for FADE to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, and 10% to the March of Dimes.

How fantastic is that! 

Thank you, Ayden, for joining us and sharing your journey and story!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interested in being featured? Just click on one of the three links under Graffiti Promotions Submissions in my left sidebar.

38 comments:

  1. Awesome interview Sheri and Ayden. Loved hearing about Ayden's book and how she got into blogging.

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  2. what a great, generous thing to do. And blogging since 2006. Wow. Beat me by 4 years--LOL! OK, and the pet elephant had me expecting an elephant in the book. :D The book sounds awesome. Good luck with it! :o) <3

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    1. Thanks, LTM. There are no elephants in Fade, but there are wolves. Does that count? Now, if I could convince my husband I need a pet donkey, we'd be in business! ;)

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  3. But of course every kid should have a pet elephant!
    Nice to meet you, Ayden.

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    1. Kids definitely need pet elephants. I wonder why more parents don't agree with this plan? ;)

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  4. How cool to virtually meet an author from the town I grew up in. Nice to make your acquaintance, A.K. This novel sounds fantastic and wish A.K. the very best with this and all publications.

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    1. Thanks, Angela. I just love Little Rock. It's such a beautiful place, and the people are amazing.

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  5. A wonderful interview. Congratulations on your book, Ayden. It sounds fascinating.

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  6. Insightful. Ayden, your comment about knowing when to include that tough scene and when to leave it alone is really something.

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    1. Barbara, thanks. It's something I've struggled with as a writer at times. I graduated 9 years ago, and I don't remember high school being as difficult and frightening as it can be for so many teens now.

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  7. I just love that she wrote herself a pet elephant! How cool is that?

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    1. Lydia, I had to resort to drastic measures. We lived on a farm, but apparently elephants are not "farm" animals. It was the height of cruelty! I was ready to stage a protest. ;)

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    1. That cover is wicked. Definitely capture my attention.

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    2. Thanks Victoria, SA, and Donna! The cover artist, Stephanie, did a phenomenal job with it. :)

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  9. Congrats on being published with Curiosity Quils. I saw this book in their catalog for Black Friday Sales. Nice Interview and thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by. So encouraging that you saw FADE included in the Black Friday sales.

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    2. Aww, yay! I'm glad you spotted it out there amongst all of the (fabulous) books on sale during the Black Friday rush. :)

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  10. Great interview! I have a demonic cat too. :)

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    1. Sharon, aren't they great? Mine is a rescue. We've had her about a year, and she is a total mess. Lately, she's started acting like a dog. She goes outside with the girls to use the bathroom, and will hop in the shower with you in a quick minute if you leave the door open. She keeps me laughing. :)

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  11. I love that she wrote herself a pet elephant!

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  12. Love that your grandfather was a big encourager. I'm very close with my grandpa too : )

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    1. Eliza, aren't grandparents a blast? I always had such an amazing time with my grandpa. He was one of the coolest people on the planet. :)

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    2. It's awesome when we let our family relationships influence our writing.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Eliza!

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  13. Norse mythology!!! I love Norse mythology.

    Unfortunately, I know about prematurity only too well. *goes off to check out blog*

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    1. I know, right. Love this topic!

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    2. Stina, the Northern people had some of the greatest myths. :)

      Unfortunately, prematurity is a big one for the little ones, isn't it? Two of my nephews and my niece were all micro-preemies, and the youngest nephew (almost 8 now) is still fighting to overcome so much. His journey has been an eye-opener. I work with RMH now, and it just breaks my heart how many of the little ones our families lose.

      I hope your experience with prematurity has been much easier and full of triumphs!

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  14. Great interview and what an awesome book!

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  15. I'm a first grade teacher and I hope I am inspiring my students in the way your teacher inspired you. We read and write together all day long. I love that you wrote yourself a pet elephant and I am totally going to tell my students about that tomorrow! Christy

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    1. Christy,

      Aww, I love that. Share away. And thank you so much for inspiring your kids and setting them on a lifelong journey of reading they will never regret taking!

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  16. Thanks so much for having me today, Sheri! You are a rockstar. :)

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    1. No, thank you! It's been a pleasure having you here.

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  17. Awesome spotlight! Curiosity Quills Press sounds like a great pub. Wishing you a ton of success!

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