The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is Kristen Morgen! Her newest release,Behind the Glass (State Street Series Book 1) released on February 19th 2020.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’m educated and trained as a licensed architect, and I own my architectural firm. I’m not happy unless I’m creating something, whether it’s floor plans for a new house or writing a new love story, as long as I’m exercising the creative side of my brain in some way. I have had an unyielding passion for writing for most of my life and recently decided to seriously pursue a second career as an author of contemporary romance novels. The first time I realized how much I loved the act of writing was in high school. I was the kid who got excited when I saw essay questions on a test rather than multiple choice questions and most of my friends thought I was crazy! I absolutely loved and excelled in any English class I took throughout college and I found myself spending large amounts of time on writing assignments. Although I pursued architecture throughout my life, I have always longed to write. So one day, I simply sat down and started writing Behind the Glass.
What time of the day do you usually write?
It depends on the day honestly. I’m a full time architect and I run my own business so I mostly write in the evenings when and if I can and sometimes on the weekends if I’m not too busy (keeping up with two teenage daughters can be busy!). For the most part, I write at my desk in my office at a computer with a beautiful view to outside. And I definitely tend to write faster and more fluidly if I type. But I also find that sometimes a change of setting and method will help me if I’m ever struggling with a scene. I’ll sometimes take a pen and pad to my leather chair in another room and write long hand until I get the flow back into my writing. It’s kind of a mental re-start and it always helps.
How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
Behind the Glass, book one in the State Street series, and all my future books take place in the same universe, namely State Street in Madison, Wisconsin, my hometown. I have definitely spent a good amount of time creating the setting in my writing. The settings are clear in my mind, it’s just a matter of describing them in a way that flows with the story.
Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?
When I began writing Behind the Glass, I did it for me. Plain and simple. With those first taps on the keyboard, I set out to write a love story that I wanted to read. I didn’t worry about what anyone else thought, only that I, as a reader, was satisfied with the end result. I had the general story outlined and knew exactly who my characters were, but it wasn’t until each chapter slowly evolved that I really understood what I wanted to say. Behind the Glass was definitely a labor of love and something I truly looked forward to escaping into day after day.
Who is the author you most admire in your genre?
Back before I even entertained the thought of becoming an author, I loved reading (and learning from) John Grisham. I think I’ve read every book he’s ever written. He’s an amazing storyteller. Once I began my path as an author, I became a Nicholas Sparks fan, not only because he writes romance novels, but because he has such a great ability to create very distinct characters in his writing. There are about a dozen more authors I could name, but I try to learn from all of them.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
My writing has been compared to Nicholas Sparks (huge compliment by the way!) and people have said “if you enjoy the heartwarming movies on Hallmark that make you swoon and smile and happy sigh, you need to read Behind the Glass.” So that might give you an idea! It’s technically New Adult Contemporary Romance but I think it appeals broadly to all ages. I also always wonder if my book impacted them in some way. Did it touch them or make them think about things in their own lives? Hearing someone tell me how they connected with my book, or how it helped them in their life somehow, or that my book is now their favorite book… it blows me away. It’s something I never expected and the feeling it gives me is indescribable.
Favorite book when you were a kid?
My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it in middle school and it was the first time I truly understood what a book could do, how it could leave an impression on you forever. I fell in love with books and reading after that.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
I’m a very dialogue driven reader and writer. I like to really get to know characters through their conversations and interactions with each other. Chapter 6 is a scene with lots of dialogue between Michael and Rebecca and it comes immediately after some major emotional upheaval so it’s kind of the calm after the storm. They are just sitting in a room together, getting to know each other in a deeper way, discussing art and horse ranches and their lives. It’s a simple and beautiful moment between them and it’s just my favorite scene.
What is advice would you give to other authors?
The one thing I will tell EVERY self-published author is this – pay the money to get it professionally edited and pay for a professional book cover design. It’s worth every penny. A good book cover sells your book, an edited book will help your reviews and the quality and feel of the story. Trust me on this! I post Monday Mantras every week to my social media and it’s basically a series of quotes that keep me going as a writer. The main theme is to keep going and have faith in yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and write your own truth, your own story. At the end of the day, it’s just you and the page and there’s nothing to be afraid of if you keep at it every day. Write your book, hire an editor, get a cover designer, produce a quality product, self-publish or query, but don’t stop. Keep moving forward.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
Behind the Glass is basically the culmination of a lot of themes that have always intrigued me as a reader. Like many people, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of love at first sight. Is it real? Can it happen in real life? And if it does, do people really live happily ever after? It was definitely the main theme for the story, but as a lover of romance novels, that would have been way too easy. So, what if two people met, fell in love, and were without a doubt, meant to be with each other, but had all the odds constantly stacked against them? If it truly is love at first sight, then in the end, it has to be a love worth fighting for. As Michael and Rebecca’s story evolves, it becomes more about the unbreakable connection between two people and about taking chances together, no matter what the odds.
I self-published Behind the Glass in 2014, it received a lot of high praise and had amazing response locally and in the book blogging community and then it kind of fell off the radar. Real life took over. At the beginning of 2019, I decided to put every spare moment I had into book marketing, social media, reading, writing and I’m so thankful I did. I pitched my book to publishing houses and I eventually found the perfect fit. My publisher and I made the decision together to re-release it as a second edition with a new prologue and some new content. It’s also now the first book in the State Street Series and there will be more books in the future.
I’m very active on social media and try to keep up with it every single day. It’s so important to be present and keep that connection with my readers and with my literary community.
Thank you Kristen Morgen for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Behind the Glass today!
Rebecca Jordan’s life is simple, disciplined, and uncomplicated, at least on the surface. Then she meets a handsome stranger/secret admirer named Michael Vale one fateful late night at a bookstore café. As a focused but struggling photographer with a passion for art, her outwardly happy world is turned upside down during this life-changing encounter when she quickly realizes she has met her soul mate. The undeniable attraction between them and their intense, immediate connection seem picture perfect as they discuss the shop’s local artwork, until Rebecca abruptly ends the chance meeting with no explanation.Betraying Brett, her loyal, loving boyfriend, is something Rebecca can never bring herself to do. Driven by a strong moral code and molded by divorced parents and a tumultuous childhood, she struggles to stay away from Michael, but fate and circumstance intervene, bringing them back together time and time again. As much as she resists, there is no denying her true feelings for him and the simple fact that Michael understands her in a way Brett never has. Michael proves to be everything she’s ever wanted, but remains just out of her reach.Behind the Glass tells the story of Michael and Rebecca’s extraordinary love and the many unconventional stages their relationship must go through. Their morals and their faith in true love and in each other will be put to the test as they learn that meeting one’s soul mate does not come without obstacles.
Kristen Morgen is a contemporary romance author and a licensed architect with her own architectural firm. Her debut novel ‘Behind the Glass’ explores relationships and the little reasons people fall in love with each other while uncovering deeper truths. She loves the art of shaping words and sentences into relatable stories while creating rich characters for her readers to connect with. She is a hopeless romantic to the end.
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she currently resides in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not designing homes, she dedicates her free time to her second novel and reads almost anything she can get her hands on.
Facebook Account: www.facebook.com/authorkristenmorgen
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kristenmorgenauthor
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/kristenmorgenbeyondthebook/