Ron Morgans Interview
Posted on 16 June 2009. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to Ron Morgans, aka WW member Scriber
Tell us something about your background.
I have three paperback thrillers available. The Deadline Murders, Kill Chase and The Emerald Killers. All are part of a series named The Fox & Farraday Mysteries. They are here in the WriteWords book shop and all over the internet.
Promoting the three titles myself is a full time job. In between Iím formulating the 4th book.
I joined Fleet Street as a 17 year old trainee, intending to be a reporter. My bosses discovered I thought in images. I was put onto the Picture Desk to work with photographers. I guess I must have been okay as I was a photojournalist for 30 years, picture editing the Daily Express, the Today newspaper and the Daily Mirror, responsible for their picture coverage. On the Express of the 70's I had 51 cameramen. Now there are 2. You can see where it's going..
But I wrote in what little spare time they left me. I resigned from the Mirror in 2000 to write thrillers in Spain. April Fools Day. How auspicious is that? After 7 years hard graft, using my experiences in newspapers for the plots, I had three.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
I was first set alight by Conrad, Mailer, Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. I thought Greene and Maugham were awe inspiring. Lisa Altherís Kin-Flicks and Jack Kerouacís Desolation Angels showed me there were alternative ways to write. As a young man I imagined myself in a flat overlooking the sea, writing my novels (perhaps fighting bulls in between). I was a romantic.
Later I envied Carl Hiaasen and John Irvingís light touch and wanted to emulate it. Now on a long flight Iíll re-read Herodotus or The Iliad because they turn me on. But I know Iím a tabloid, fast read populist writer. I have no pretentions to being otherwise.
How did you get your first agent/ commission?
Iím daily paper trained and I couldnít stand the slowness of the publishing system. Waving goodbye to a Jiffy bagged MS for six months then receiving a scribbled ďNOĒ written across my own query letter.
In frustration I self published Kill Chase on Lulu. A wonderful blogger named GrumpyOldBookman wrote me a great review! Within days Clare Christian of publisher The Friday Project gave me a two book contract to launch their intended imprint, FridayCrime. We edited, copy edited and proof read them. Covers were designed. The launch was intended for April 2008. Piers Morgan liked The Deadline Murders so much he gave me a cover blurb. I joined the SOA. I was a writer!
In March 2008, four weeks before the launch of my first title, The Friday Project went bankrupt. My books went unpublished. HarperCollins bought TFP but they wanted the blog based books like 'an A-Z of Harry Potter.' I wished good luck to all those authors taken on. HarperCollins didnít want my mainstream crime titles. I guess HC had enough already.
I got drunk for a week. The rights reverted to me but I found it impossible to find an agent. I got to ĎDí in the Writers & Artists Yearbook. (23 at 3 months each!) Some didnít bother to reply.
Iíve never known if it was the books they didnít like or the connection to the failed publisher or my age.
I wasnít getting any younger. I decided to self publish them all. I knew they were good enough. I was a picture editor, wasnít I? All that graphics background. Iíd do it myself with my own independent company I called Riverheron. I registered with the Spanish Ministry of Culture for ISBN numbers (which come free!) and designed my own covers. I also made them into e-books for Sony Readers, iPhones, etc.
I contracted with Lightning Source to distribute them paperback through Ingrams at £6.99 each. I also download them as e-books through Mobipocket for Kindles in the USA. I believe the future is in choice.
What's the worst thing about writing?
The book publishing system. Itís antiquated. I helped Eddie Shah launch the Today newspaper with new colour technology in 1986. The publishing industry is just getting round to using it now.
And the best?
Releasing all those people living in my head. They are bullies. I bake them like gingerbread men, expecting them to be tasty. But theyíre not, they are so demanding! ĎIím sorry old boy. I donít ride a bike.í or ĎOh, no. I wouldnít be seen dead going out with him.í My heroine fancies my villain. How wrong is that?
Donít they know Iím their ringmaster? Their Creator?
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
This is my salvation. The agents might not like my books, which means publishers never see them Ė but I give presentations of them to local book circles. Bless them, the lady readers (they are usually made up of avid, lady readers), they love them.
After a lovely afternoon with the women of the Moraira Book Club one lady sat silent. Finally I asked, ďwhat do you think?Ē She summoned a stern reply. ďThere was a split infinitive on page 102.Ē
I have a great time. They all read the titles thoroughly and plumb me dry with exacting questions. Itís so restorative! I forget the sniffy agents. These are the people I write for. Their attitude to my heroine, Henrietta Fox, turned my thinking upside down.
I wrote her as a feisty, 29 year old redhead paparazzo in bikerís leathers with an Irish temper, who takes no nonsense from anybody. She travels the world getting into, and out of, all kinds of trouble. I want my books to be fast paced, international, adventure novels. I expected her to appeal to the men in a dangerous, miss whiplash kind of way. I thought that women would hate her.
Wrong! They love her independence. They say Henrietta Fox does the things they would like to do. That sheís so capable. Itís the men who feel threatened by her. Iíve never believed the Ďdizzy blonde saved by strong heroí guff. In my experience itís mostly the other way around.
What was your breakthrough moment?
Iím still waiting for it. I know Iíll never give up.
What inspires you to write?
Having covered so many major news events all those years, that information is stuffed in my head. It cost me my leisure and one marriage. Writing is an exorcism.
Comments by other Members