Hi Morgan! Thanks so much for stopping by The Cavanaugh Connection!
Tell us a bit about your writing – How long have you been writing? How many books have you written and in what genres?
I'm a lover of romance with a thriller of police procedural twist, but mostly my books are about the relationships. I think that when you find characters that mesh well, they make a really great story. I have a deep love for finding the answer to mysteries. I've done paranormal and I didn't love it.
I've been writing over a decade, with my first novel coming out back in 2003. I'm about to release my most current novels this month. Celestia is Falling (book one in the Croft & Croft Romance series and Darkness of Truth- Book 6 in the FBI/Romance series) I believe that takes my total to 14 novels. Nine of which were in the last year. As you can see, I took some time off to be mom.
Most of my books are in the Contemporary Romance genre.
The Killing Times (1)
Sacred Burial Grounds (2)
True Love Lost (3)
Deep Dark Mire (4)
Fire Burns Hot (5)
Darkness of Truth (6)
Celestia is Falling (1)
Then the paranormal romance genre.
The Blood Betrayal (1)
The Blood Redemption (2)
The Blood Vengeance (3)
The Blood Retribution (4)
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I think the love of writing was always in my soul. Even as a child I wrote a great deal. I believe my first book was written at 9.
It was a picture book with only a few words, but it was my start.
Where is your favorite spot in which to write? Garden? Study? Kitchen table?
I generally write on my laptop on my couch. I sometimes use my office. I generally sequester myself for the two weeks it takes to produce a book. When I put n the ear buds, everyone knows to not even talk to me.
How long does it take you to write the first rough draft of one of your books?
It takes me 10 days to write a novel. By the time I finish, it's about 450 pages. I then go back through and add the finer details.
(Like the sex scenes or murder scenes) That brings my book count up to 500 pages. It goes to be proofed and edited and I sometimesadd a few more pages.
I can get a book out from blank page to e-book in 8 weeks, if my proofer isn't backlogged.
Do you ever get part way through writing a book and find the characters are
leading the story off in a different direction to how you had envisaged? If so, what
do you do about it?
That happened with The FBI/Romance series. It was meant to be a one book deal. I wrote it, read it, and then decided that Elizabeth and Ethan had much more story left in them. I then added Callen Whitefox to the mix, and if you read Deep Dark Mire you know what happened there. It took on a life of it's own. Now they have a cult following. I actually get emails begging me to not kill Ethan or Callen off. It's funny! It almost ended at book one.
I'm a firm believer that each book is like a child. You nurture it and let it grow. They lead the writer, not the other way around.
Is there such a thing as an average writing day for you and if so what is it?
I believe that if you want to earn the title of 'author' you need to bleed for your craft. I'm up every day at 2 am. I write from then until about 7 am. I get the kids ready for school and then I work straight through until bed time at 9 pm. I log about 80 hours Monday through Friday. On the weekends I do thirty more. I'm very hands on with a book. I like to control freak it to death from start to finish. I couldn't do a book two hours a day. Each book is 190,000 words. That would take a year if I only dedicated the minimum. Since this is how I pay my bills, I have to work long hours.
How do you create the characters in your books?
I get a basic idea of what I want them to be like (Strong female figure, weaker one etc.) and then I let the story just flow. I don't get bogged down in details at the beginning. It weighs the story down in your mind and makes it one hot mess by the end. If you over detail a story before you put it down on paper, you're going to trip yourself up.
I don't watch TV or movies, so I know that any character that pops into my head is my original creation.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Girl With Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. It was my childhood favorite, and I still have it on my book shelf. It gave my first adventure in reading as a child.
It was the first novel my mother let my buy with my own allowance. It to this day is the catalyst that began it all.
As an adult, it's the classics. Poe is my obsession. I have his ravens tattooed all over me.
What is your favorite film of all time?
Practical Magic. I love that it's as close to the real Wicca as you'll get in Hollywood. It has a special place in my heart.
Biggest myth about being a writer?
That anyone can do it. This is a craft that takes practice.
I cringe when people say, "oh, you sit home all day and write? Must be nice."
It's a hard job, and not for the weak or undedicated. It takes organization and skill.
Advice to aspiring writers?
My biggest advice when I'm asked 'HOW' I do it, is simply this. Start ONE project and finish it. If you bounce around and never complete the one you're working on, you never will. You're only as good as your next book. I give this advice out all the time, but no one listens. It's more fun to take on 6 projects at once, but when you read the work you've completed. It will suffer.
Maybe that's unpopular advice, but it is what it is.
Questions Direct From the Fans!
Is your husband one of her characters?
Yes, but I'm not telling which one. Some think he's Ethan or Callen. Then some think Flynn or Jacques. I think he's more Greyson, but what do I know? My husband gets a kick out of it when people ask him who he is...
Why a threesome?
Ah yes, this question. I'd like to say I'm shocked, but I get it a lot. To my knowledge, there are no Thriller FBI books out there that feature a crime solving trio. I built my niche and I'm loving it. When I first came up with the idea, my proofer begged me to not do it. There's a fine line between romance and porn. You can't cross it and ever come back. I think that the relationship between Ethan, Elizabeth and Callen is well done. It's not smutty. It's not mom porn. It’s a relationship between three people that have a deep love and attachment to each other.
When I started this series, again, it was meant to be one book. It grew and when I introduced Callen in Sacred Burial Grounds I knew he was meant to only be with Elizabeth. He's the opposite of Ethan Blackhawk. They balance her out perfectly. Ethan's smooth and slick. Callen is funny and easy going. Elizabeth is tough but compassionate. As a unit, they just work.
Or at least that's the feedback I get.
I do get some comments about too much sex. I look at it this way. I keep each book to 8 sex scenes per novel. Each one is 2 pages. That's 16 pages of sex in a book that has 500 + pages. To me, that's minor. There are people out there that are more 'shy' when it comes to sex. I'm not. I think the relationship between a man and woman is a beautiful thing and let's face it. We all have sex. Elizabeth is just having MUCH better sex. I so want to be her when I grow up! Or maybe I just want Ethan and Callen!
Who do you hang out with when not writing?
Other than my kids?
My Bff Tammy and my husband. Tammy and I went to high school together and the hubs and I have been married 16 years.
I'm a fairly reclusive person. (Translation: I work pretty much all the time!)
What would you be if you weren't a writer?
A cop. I love a mystery. I actually applied and tested to be an ATF agent, but I have back issues. I couldn't pass the doctor's physical.
Are you Elizabeth?
I shall never tell! She and I resemble each other. I'm told she has my sarcasm, but I'm not nearly as tough as her.
As for the men aspect, I don't kiss and tell :)
What do people think when they meet you?
I don't know. I think KC could answer that better. She's met me. I hope people think I'm friendly and funny, but I have a very odd sense of humor and I talk death a lot. I might frighten people.
I'm okay with that.
Are you really the same in person as they persona you portray?
Yes. I am who I am. I pull no punches. Don't ask me if your ass looks fat in a pair of jeans. I tend to not have a filter.
If anything, I'm honest to a fault. That's why I don't have a FB page. Who knows what I'll say...
What kind of books do you read?
When I read, I like JD Robb, Heather Graham and Jayne Castle. I also read the classics. They're a requirement in my house.
I think that if you haven't read Melville, Poe, or Austin, you're missing something. Fun reads are great, but come on! Lord of the Flies was awesome!
"KILL THE PIG!" (for those of you that get that, MWAH!)
Are you as funny in person?
My husband doesn't think so. In fact, he'll say "You're cutting apart men to rebuild another person? You need therapy!" If anything he's creeped out more than entertained. I think I'm hysterical.
I may be biased though.
What do you really think about guns? Your characters are cops and they carry them, but what is your opinion?
Oh boy. This is a hot topic. Okay, there's not going to be a cookie cutter answer for this one. Either someone's going to agree or think I'm a huge idiot. I personally love guns. I have a few. I own a few Ruger 9 mms. I target shoot often. It's cathartic. THAT being said, I think that we need stricter gun laws on purchasing guns.
My characters are respectful of their side arms and weapons. At work they're in their desks and at home, you'll often see Ethan or Callen unlocking safe to get their weapon. You don't see them sleeping in them or making light of them. I guess since I'm of Native descent, I'm used to hunting and rifles. I don't shy away from them. I believe in the right to own a gun. I don't believe in the right to senselessly take a human life.
It's a conundrum.
If you could meet one dead person for lunch and to talk, who would it be?
Mary Shelly. Frankenstein is a classic, and she rocked it out. She wrote that in a writing contest against her family. I mean... come on! Truly inspiring and iconic. Or as my 12 year old would say.. Epic!
What do your kids think of your job?
Daughter: Working today, Mom?
Me: Yep, as always.
Daughter: Great Can I have _____________ (insert some needless item here)
My daughter wants to read my books, but because of the sex, I don't allow it. She thinks it's cool, especially when she needs a research paper written.
I'm her paper monkey. I'm going to start charging! I do admit that she helps me with crime scenes. I ask for grossness input and she says 'yay or nay'.
Which is why when a grown adult tells me my killings are too gross, I tell them my 12 year old approved of them. (She wants to be a medical examiner.
I'm prepping her for reality.
My son could care less. At 4 all he really wants to talk about is Minecraft and zombies.
Why did you pick Morgan Kelley as your name?
One of those names is REALLY my name and that's all I'm saying.
Do you hang out with other writers?
While I'm friends with KC Cavanaugh, I don't hang out with writers. They tend to be too intense for me. I have an inner circle and I like to keep it small.
When you write, do you lock yourself in a room or listen to music? What's your
I sit and listen to music. Within Temptation. It's the only thing I can write to. I have no idea why.
I don't outline.
I do a character list, to keep the people straight.
I sit and bang out a book.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I see myself still writing. I would like to hit 40 novels by then, if I can keep up the pace. If writing ever becomes stressful, I'll walk away. I don't do it for the money, I do it for the enjoyment.
Why FBI and Romance?
I love me some police and FBI men. I also believe in 'Happily ever after'. For me they just go together.
Where can readers follow you?