Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview: Ashley S. Morgan, author of Torn

So today I had the honor of interviewing Ashley S. Morgan, author of the paranormal romance Torn. It's receiving great reviews on Amazon and will be released soon for Nook, Smashwords and Kobo. Here's a quick look at what Torn is about!

Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her. Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she'll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it's overwhelming. She feels like she's literally drowning in other people's emotions. 
This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she's got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances. 
Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He's rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He's also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn't. And he's somehow so familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn. 
She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?

What was your inspiration for Torn? What gave you the initial idea(s)?

For me, the story always begins with a character in some kind of difficult circumstance. A lot of teens feel like high school is some kind of trap. They’re just coming into their own, figuring out who they really are, while everything and everyone around them is pressuring them to conform. So I came up with this girl, Isadora, who seems to have everything going for her: she’s super talented, bright, and beautiful. These all seem like good things, but they all create more pressures. Her rival wants to tear her down for her talent and her looks, and none of the adults around her seem interested in either recognizing or cultivating her smarts. She doesn’t have the experience or the maturity yet to articulate her frustrations, so she acts out by being melodramatic and reckless.

I wanted a guy for her who would help her grow; someone more mature than her, but still her own age. So I conceived of Tristan, this rebellious, broody, super perceptive guy who would challenge Isadora and help her come into her own. There’s something dark and dangerous about him, and strange things start happening to Isadora as soon as he enters the picture. I won’t go into any more details, because I don’t want to give the plot away, but all of the plot twists and paranormal elements were sorted out only after I figured out what Isadora’s character arc was going to look like.

If I was to meet Isadora, the main character of Torn, for the first time, what should I be expecting?

Well, if like Tristan, you first saw her speeding down a hill on her bike with her arms stretched out and her eyes closed, you would think she was some kind of reckless lunatic! Seriously, though, one of the first things that you’d notice would be her fierce natural beauty, her funky style, and how, despite being petite, she had a commanding presence. When you got to know her a bit better, you’d notice her quick, sharp wit, especially if you overheard her in a verbal sparring match with someone she couldn’t stand, such as Tara, her arch rival. She’s super direct, with no tolerance for passive-aggressive games or people beating around the bush. That said, she’s overly emotional and overly sensitive, and you might find her reactions to things melodramatic. I think you’d definitely find her a little hard to handle sometimes. Some of her decisions and actions are questionable. While writing her at points, I wanted to scream at her for making stupid decisions, but I had to let her do things her way and figure stuff out for herself.

I know sometimes authors have a hard time with things like Writer’s Block. Do you have any weird/fun writing rituals that helped you write Torn?

I always have a strong cup of coffee sitting on my desk. My mind just slows to a halt without it. As for weird things, well here’s one: I have a thing for different colored metallic pens. I love the way the ink glitters in the sunlight, and when I’m creating characters, I write each one up in a different color: Say, copper for Tristan, silver for Isadora, metallic green for Tara, and so on. I have no idea why, but whenever I feel blocked, if I start scribbling with one of my metallic pens, I get over it quickly and things just start to flow naturally.

Also, I have a few songs I play over and over when I’m stuck. For instance, when I need to kick a mini-block in the butt, I’ll grab my iPod, put on Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl, and dance like crazy all around my apartment.

If you were trapped on a desert island with only one book for the rest of forever, which book would it be and why?

Hands down, Federico Garcia Lorca’s Collected Poems. Yup. Poetry. I know, right? Thing is, Lorca’s poetry is such a sensual experience. Every time I read a Lorca poem, I find some new way to look at the world. If all I had around me was endless heat and sand, I’d like something to remind me of the way early morning light splashes on a forest floor, or how orange blossoms smell, or what a long lingering kiss with my boyfriend feels like, you know?

Thanks so much for giving us this opportunity to get to know you and Isadora a little better, Ashley!

Check out Torn at these great websites!


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