Author Spotlight – Noel P. Morgan
Noel. P. Morgan was born in South Wales at an early age, and as a child enjoyed the natural delights of the beaches and countryside of the Gower Coast, which instilled a love of the magic of nature and animals.
He has enjoyed a varied career including car cleaner, love spoon maker, zookeeper, candle maker, and eventually college lecturer specializing in exotic animals and all things aquatic.
He has previously had a book published on lizard husbandry, but A Tale of Wizards, Dragons and Fracking is his debut novel based around his other passions of humour and fantasy.
You can find out more about Noel on his author page or you can find him on Facebook.
Welcome to the Hive, Noel. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I’m an avid Terry Goodkind fan and am in the middle of the ‘Nikki Chronicles’. I do like reading about fantastical lands, fantastical peoples and more importantly fantastical creatures and Terry’s work encompasses all of this. His latest works—the Nikki Chronicles, an off shoot of the Sword of Truth series—broadens the scope of the Dharan empire and offers an opportunity for introducing new characters, creatures and challenges. These provide an unlikely cross between my other favourite authors Terry Pratchett and Scott Lynch. I think it is their humour that influences my writing more predominantly than Terry’s work, which has a darker side.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Always Wizard like, so any kind of warlock or priest as long as I can wear long flowing robes and wield magic. Weapon of choice would be the ability to throw fireballs, although I do appreciate the inherent risk of fireball and long flowing robes.
Living life on the edge!
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, beating out flames, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I don’t want to go down too dark a route but I tend to write naked, on the sofa covered in nothing but a duvet and two dogs. I do have a basic outline and a couple of characters in my head when I start, but as I write the muse (possibly demonic possession) takes me and the story sort of writes itself. I very often find myself laughing at something I have just written, because it’s the first time I’ve read it. Since I’ve snapped my favourite quill, I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and use a Chromebook, which is legible and saves everything; my handwriting is shocking. I try to have it quiet with very little distraction but it does help if the dogs snore in tune.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Asimov, Pratchett and Gemmell sadly no longer walk this earthly plain, so that would make working with them a little bit more difficult, but I suspect not impossible. Piers Anthony’s The Battle Circle was my first foray into fantasy—my then girlfriend (now wife) found the book on a bus in Yugoslavia many, many years ago, that country doesn’t exist now either. Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson are also favourite reads, if I could work with any of them then I would die happy. I would really love a cross-over collaboration with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files – I can just imagine the hilarity between the Fat Wizard and Harry Dresden, maybe to solve some mischievous transatlantic issue.
A slightly more achievable goal in the short term would be to write a book illustrated by my daughter, but knowing her affinity for the gothic that will more likely be for one of the dark horror stories I’ve got kicking around in my head.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
X Factor The Band!… Well, I’d had a drink…
[We’re only slightly judging you]
I am a big fan of Settlers of Catan (the board game) when all the family are home.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
X Factor The Band! Well I do like a drink…
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I’m working on a continuation of my first novel, still set in Pant y Gusset, but I also have two very dark horror stories festering in my brain. I intend for them to be horrific, but I fear I won’t be able to keep my sense of humour out of them for long!
Should be quite the mix!
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
The wife nagging “I don’t care if you’ve got the flu, get on with it!” isn’t the most helpful, but then to be honest without the incessant ‘encouragement’ from the family I might have been too lazy to actually write at all.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I only write on days I want to write and while everyone is out of the house, which is why it is taking so long! I also overcome stumbling blocks by watching bland TV shows – I find my mind tends to wander and ideas come to me. Thank goodness the standard of a lot of TV is so low these days.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Any green or forested area at the time of the dinosaurs – I know that’s a massive span of time, but seeing any dinosaur at all would be amazing! Though don’t get me wrong, I’d also like to be in an armoured car at the time…
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
Apart from my immediate family I haven’t actually met anyone who’s even heard of Piers Anthony’s Battle Circle, let alone read it. I feel it still stands as one of the best post-apocalyptic fantasy stories.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
A Tale of Wizards Dragons and Fracking is a lighthearted romp of speculative fiction, ideal for mature children and immature adults who enjoy a good chuckle.
Heroes come in many shapes and sizes, but not normally a portly gentleman in dragon singed robes, carrying a magic wand shoved in his sock and a mobile phone in his hand. If his village had not been experiencing some weird tremors and abandoned dragon eggs, he would not now be facing a pair of London gangsters from a big energy corporation threatening his family.
Things had always been unusual in the Welsh village of Pant y Gusset, as its residents are a colourful mix of local people and magical folk surviving in the modern world, but this takes the biscuit. With the entire village at risk, danger of an ecological disaster, possibly even murder on the cards, the Fat Wizard is forced to take control to save the day; when all he really wants is to put his feet up by the fire and have a nice cup of tea.
That’s brilliant! Thanks again for joining us Noel, and good luck with your latest release!
Noel P. Morgan’s debut fantasy novel A Tale of Wizards, Dragons and Fracking is available now.