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Interview – Aliens in the Gift Shop author, D.E. Morris

Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by DE Morris, author of the science-fiction novel, ALIENS IN THE GIFT SHOP. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, David.

DE Morris: Thank you! I’m happy to chat today.

SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across you previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?

DEM: I’m (obviously) a Sci-Fi geek and have been since I was a young child. Some of my earliest memories involve Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. My parents thoroughly nurtured and encouraged my creativity and that’s how I grew up – surrounded by books, music, and art. I was born in Seattle, WA and lived there for twelve years with a younger sister until we moved to Portland, OR, where I went to high school and college. I also lived for eight years in Houston, TX, but returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2004. I’ve been married for sixteen years to my wonderful wife, Patricia, and we currently have two parakeets.

SPS: Do you think growing up without television was a big factor in helping you grow the imagination needed to become a writer?

DEM: Absolutely! Not only did books become my main form of entertainment, but I was “forced” to use my imagination when I played. When I think back on my childhood, I credit this fact as one of the most influential on me and my creativity.    

SPS: Do you have ideal writing conditions or are you someone who can just sit down and write?

DEM: I need to have a space that is my designated writing space. It needs to be free from outside distractions, a place that I focus and write.


SPS: Your first published novel is ALIENS IN THE GIFT SHOP. Can you tell us a little about the novel and how the very unique title came about?

DEM:  The stories that resonate with me the most are the ones where ordinary individuals are placed into extraordinary circumstances. I also love stories with alien encounters. So, I tried to combine those two things wrapped in a big adventure with twists and surprises.  The title was a direct result of how I got the idea for my story. I made a few mind-maps, just to try and find an idea, and the two words that I chose were “Aliens” and “Gift Shop.” Combining them into the title had the whimsical feel I wanted, and just made sense.

SPS : You had to create two extra-terrestrial scientists, how did you devise their characters?

DEM: I had a rough idea of one being more intellectual and one being more street-smarts, but they really developed as the story developed. As I wrote my first draft, each situation that I put them in, one of them just naturally took the lead in solving the problem. In the subsequent drafts, I focused more on that and refined them with each re-write. It was fun to see them take shape over time.

SPS : What sort of research are we talking about for the novel, are you someone who writes surrounded by notes upon notes?

DEM: I didn’t do a lot of pure research for this novel, but I did spend a few weeks with prep work – mapping out the area of the city this took place in, creating the alien culture, government, and time measurement. Once that was settled, I had that information on hand to reference, but it was mostly straight writing. However, my next story idea has required quite a bit of research – geographical and historical – which I’m sure will be surrounding me as I write.

SPS : What sort of enemies can we expect; the ruthless sort or the bumbling sort?

DEM: Actually both. There are two enemies and one is most definitely ruthless while the other is more brawn then brains.

SPS : Do you have plans in the future to revisit any of the characters, maybe a sequel?

DEM: Yes, I am planning a sequel right now for the three main characters, which I hope will be even bigger, with higher stakes, more action and a climax that takes place in a familiar Earth landmark!

SPS: What can we look forward to in the near future from the pen of DE Morris?

DEM: It will be the sequel I just mentioned, and I hope it will happen soon enough to qualify as being in the “near” future!

SPS: Do you plan to always write under the genres of Science-Fiction and Fantasy, or are you tempted to try other genres in the future?

DEM: For now, just Science-Fiction. I’m the most comfortable in the Sci-Fi space and those are the stories I enjoy the most.

SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?

DEM: Yes, it just made the most sense. The internet and print-on-demand has really levelled the playing field for Independent Authors to get their work out there. The time was right.

SPS: We like to spend a moment looking at an individual’s book covers. Can you tell us about how you set about coming up with the cover design for Aliens in the Gift Shop?

DEM: Like the title, I wanted something whimsical – an image that conveyed a collision of worlds. I went through a few possible designs but settled on the tipped gift bag spilling out the planets. I hope it presents an unconventional image that makes someone smile when they see it.

SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?

DEM: There is a plethora of knowledge and help out there on the internet. Do research, get as much advice as you can, connect with other writers, and then sit down and write!

SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…

DEM: Well, my sister was gracious enough to read my very messy first draft and provide me with corrections and feedback. I’m sure that was more of a chore then she let on about, and I am very grateful for her support as well as the support of my wife, parents, and friends.  

SPS: Thank you for joining us today David, and good luck in the future.

DEM: Thank you! I enjoyed this!

SPS: For more information on DE Morris and his work, please do visit his Author page here.

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