Shadows and Light

Welcome to the blog of Lara Morgan


November 2010

Interview on YA Reads

I talk about Genesis and gives some hints on the next book, Equinox, at one of my favourite blog spots YA Reads.

Interview with Brian Falkner

The Most Boring Book in the World?????

Today I’m excited to be interviewing New Zealand writer Brian Falkner, best-selling author of The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack. Brian writes action adventure/sci-fi stories for young adults and children and his latest release,  The Project, has recently hit bookstores everywhere.

The Project is an action packed adventure which I’m reading right now and really enjoying – a review will follow very shortly – but for now a little about it: It’s all about a book. The most boring book in the world. Or so it’s called. It’s very rare and worth two million dollars. When friends Luke and Tommy figure out that ancient, boring book is in their town library they decide to make it their own but they haven’t counted on the other people who want it as well. People who are dangerous. But maybe not as dangerous as the book, because that book is the perfect place to hide a terrible secret and now the book has emerged the world may never be the same again.

Brian I’m really enjoying your book, but I noticed on your blog that The Project was previously titled, The Most Boring Book in the World, can you tell us about that?

I wanted, and still want, the book to have that title, however my publishers here and in the US believed that it would be difficult to sell. My thinking was that the reverse psychology of the title would appeal to my readers. It is similar in a way to the first book in the “Series of Unfortunate Events” that says “you would be better off reading some other book…”  I had the title of this book before I had any idea of the story. I thought it would be fun to write a book entitled “The Most Boring Book in the World” and so I wrote one, which ironically did not end up being titled that way!

 Can you tell us about the characters in The Project, who are they, what are they like, are they based on you!?

No, the characters are not really based on me. Luke is in many ways a kiwi everyman. I tried to give him the characteristics of the quintessential kiwi bloke, with a strong emphasis on “kiwi ingenuity”.   As the book progressed, so did the character, and many aspects of Luke that I hadn’t initially realized came out during the story. There are some elements that are hinted at, without being stated. Mostly to do with his memory, and the way he thinks about things.

 The Project touches on the present and the past, did you have to do a lot of research for it, and if so what was your favourite research area?

I always research all of my books. I spent a lot of time researching Leonardo DaVinci, and also 1940’s Germany, along with aspects like Rare-Earth Magnets.  A lot of the research was on-the-spot, as I was living in Iowa City at the time, just after the floods.

 Some writers are meticulous plotters, others just wing it in the first draft and work on structure in the second, how do you work?

I outline first, but always allow myself the freedom to change things as I go. Even major structural things, if the book starts taking unexpected turns.

 You’re part of a group of authors encouraging kids to help write a book can you tell us about that?

The FABO story is a book being written online, week-by-week, by a group of nine (mad) NZ authors, and illustrated by nine (just as mad) NZ illustrators.  Each week kids are encouraged to guess who wrote the current chapter, and to submit their own version of the next chapter. The best chapters win prizes. It has been a blast, and a wild ride.

And now for the Furious Five questions:

 What are you reading now?   Berlitz Intermediate German. (I am studying the language).

 What are your favourite films?  The Matrix (First film only, the others don’t exist as far as I am concerned). Saving Private Ryan, The Godfather

 What’s on your writing desk?  Just my laptop. I can’t work in clutter.

 What’s your writing snack of choice? Milk biscuits

 What’s next for you? A junior book called “Northwood”, then a sci-fi action-thriller called “Assault on Uluru”

 Thanks for the interview Brian. To find out more visit Brian’s website at

Notes on an unending edit

When people ask me what my favourite part of the writing process is my answer is about as changeable as Melbourne’s weather. Yeah that bad. Because it really depends on what I’m working on at the time.  Generally the writing grass always looks greener from the other side of the fence, which translates into; when I’m writing a first draft, which is essentially the time I’m figuring out what the hell the story is about, I am sure the best part is going to be the editing. The second draft, the rewriting. In that murky gloom of wading through the seaweed of the story (which is sometimes how a first draft feels when I’m writing it) the bright beacon of being able to work on a manuscript that at least has some kind of beginning, middle and end seems like nirvana. When I’ve finished the first draft, I say, it will be so much better because I’ll have something to work with. There will be fat and gristle to cut, holes to fill in and seaweed to kick from my path.

Of course that’s not how I feel now. And really, as this is the fourth book I’ve written, I should have expected that, but I can be blithe and maddeningly optimistic about these things. So here I am in the second stage, the re-write and I”m staring at the page like a crazed hamster at a cat. If I move, it might eat me. Or at worst, morph into a monster. Which is what the book is at this point.A big, hungry for reason and order, monster and I am its bitch.

But that’s the way it always is.

So what’s my favourite part? Well now, it’s the very beginning, yes I am now day dreaming about that wonderful phase before words go down when it’s all research and sketching maps and looking at pictures of gorgeous actors as character inspiration.

But if you ask me next week, it could be different. Still stuck in the Equinox, over and out….Lara.

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