Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today: Born in France in 1964, Morgan David is a multicultural male writer who’s lived abroad most of his adult life, from California to Denmark. Writing emerged fairly late in Morgan’s career when he discovered he is actually much of a wordsmith.
Morgan’s unconventional writing style is very much centered on unique characters and on the emergence of romantic feelings between them, despite differences in cultural and social backgrounds.
Another red thread throughout Morgan’s literary production is the role played by history, culture and art to spin a page-turning story. This is always counterbalanced by a great deal of humour, witty dialogs and, in Morgan’s most recent production, by action, crime and investigation.
Morgan has a keen interest in liberal arts and especially in piano music and European graphical arts. He finds comfort and depth ‘in putting words on emotions’ and in analyzing male-to-male relationships.
Follow Morgan’s literary journey here: https://www.facebook.com/Morgan-David-M2M-writer-108888904980759
Thanks so much, David Morgan, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Morgan David: Firstly, I hate when that happens, but I know that it does happen. I have to accept it as a fact, therefor I stay way from the computer for a few days, socialize a little more, travel. In short I give my mind a rest. Another thing I do is I always have two manuscripts at work concurrently. When I get ‘stuck’ with one of them, I leave it gently aside and focus on the other one. If none of the above works, well…. That always works 🙂
JSC: What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your books?
MD: That words take over. What I am trying to say is that I usually start with a pretty well-defined structure and scenario with my manuscripts. Then, as I keep pressing keys on my laptop, words start taking over, the structure which I thought was rock-solid, starts taking bends and twists, the scenario changes in nature. In short, I learnt that I had to accept to relent some degree of control over my writing.
JSC: What book is currently on your bedside table?
MD: My bedside table is a bit cluttered. I have my unavoidable thrillers from the Big Chill to Garrick Jones novels, a collection of books on Greek and Roman civilization, history of the middle-ages, and a few biographies from Golda Meir to Emperor Augustus. Well, I said it was cluttered!
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
MD: My primary goal was to combine two of my strongest passions, stolen and forged art and unconventional M2M romances. Right from the start, I understood that if I wanted to grab the reader’s attention, I had to make this a suspense story spanning different countries and time periods. Reviews from readers will say if I succeeded or not.
JSC: What character gave you fits and fought against you? Did that character cause trouble because you weren’t listening and missed something important about them?
MD: That is a very good question. I have two MCs in ‘The Dark Hound’, but one of them, Warren, is the strongest profile. He is more mature, more experienced and knowledgeable. As I kept writing, I was very keen on making sure that the more junior character, Spencer, would not dissapear all together in the shadow of Warren, that he would be identifiable. And as a matter of fact, Spencer keeps taking an increasingly leading role in the course of events as the story drwas to a close.
JSC: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
MD: Without a doubt, Warren, the art expert with whom the whole story starts… and ends. I am intrigued by and attracted to unusual characters and I ‘built’ Warren drawing from experience with a lot of people I’ve been lucky to meet IRL. Warren is a ‘solar’ person, he leaves nobody indifferent, but he expects the world around him to adapt to him, more than the other way around. Like all attention-grabbing persons, Warren is also a deeply insecure man, persecuted by his past and by failed illusions. And that makes him fascinating.
JSC: What’s your core motivation in this book?
MD: With ‘The Dark Hound’ I am entering the world of thrillers and suspense stories. It was a major dare for me, and I really thought this through carefully before I started working on the manuscript. I wasn’t sure I had the ‘stuff’ in me required to write a captivating story that would keep the reader turning pages. I also wanted this to be an unusual type of thriller. Classical art is a very important part of my life, and I wanted to show that I could built an enthralling suspense story combining art and action.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
MD: I am clearly a type A person and my best hours are early morning hours. I would wake up at around 5 A.M., shower, shave and brew the first cup of coffee of the day. Half hour later or so I am at my desk and I start writing in full silence, I like the reassuring feeling that the city around me is still asleep or just barely waking up. This said, my process is non-linear, I am a born procrastinator and I am known for going back to pages I may have written weeks ago, edit them, delete (many of) them. In short, I keep moving ahead with a manuscript while constantly re-working on older chapters. Try and figure!
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
MD: Definitely, Warren in ‘The Dark Hound’, I think I would start by falling in love with him, marry him, experience quite a bit of sex with him, and probably end up hating him. Warren is a fascinating man for his passions, his dreams and his dedication to art, but as a no-concession man tortured by his past he leaves little room if any for anyone in his life. These uneven relationships usually end up the wrong way.
JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
MD: As a matter of fact, I am working on two manuscripts concurrently, I find this to be a good way to funnel and channel my writing energy. One of them is an M2M romance story with a background in gay parenting, I would say that this one is closer to my first published novel in terms of inspiration (A House, a Dog, and an Old Truck). The other one is a gay suspense thriller taking place in the 60´s in NYC. It is fast-paced, enthralling (hopefully) and should keep the reader on the virtual edge of the seat.
And now for Morgan David new book: The Dark Hound:
The Dark Hound is a suspense-thriller and a man-to-man romance. A cop falls in love with a mysterious detective, tortured by his past, leaving him a changed man for life. It begins with historic events at the end of WWII, when deposed Nazis raided an infamous Air Defense tower in Berlin in May of 1945 to commit one of the most lucrative and secretive art heists in history…
As the story moves to 1950s Los Angeles, the bodies pile up, and it becomes a race against the clock that ends with a chase in empty, sprawling movie studios at night.
Peace had finally spread its wings on a devastated Europe after five long years of the most gruesome war man could imagine. Berlin, the capital of a ruthlessly defeated Third Reich, was now nothing but a sprawling field of rubbles. Guns were silent, air bombings had stopped, and people were slowly getting back to a normal lifestyle.
And… were they?
It should have been a lukewarm summer night in the Volkspark. Yet, there were no couples in love softly kissing on benches, no families enjoying a picnic by the Fairy Tale fountain, no one taking a stroll and walking the dog. The park was deserted, a dark and inhospitable place. Weeks of unrelenting air bombings had reduced its once proud ancient oaks to a ghostly cemetery of charred defeated giants. It seemed that stunned by the collapse of the regime, the enormity of human losses and the need to survive and find food, most people stayed home, trying to understand what tomorrow was going to be like in a city now divided between four allied powers.
Emerging from this dismembered forest, the Flaktürme air defense tower, stood out like a massive medieval castle of concrete and twisted iron rods. The tower had paid a heavy toll to Russian howitzers, yet it still stood there, damaged but massive. Built to shelter thousands of Berliners during bombings, it was now used as storage space. It still kept its radar dish retracted behind a thick concrete and steel dome for protection though. Protection against what? Wasn’t the war over? Wasn’t the tower now just a useless ugly scar on the city? A silent reminder of atrocities everyone wanted to put behind them?
Well, perhaps the Volkspark was not so silent after all.
The time was 3:00 A.M. and two large, three thousand, three hundred pound, camouflage-painted Borgward trucks were slowly heading towards the tower, front lights off, carefully avoiding potholes, fallen tree trunks and burnt army Opel Blitz trucks. They finally stopped at a respectable distance from the building, a sign that whoever was driving was clearly not eager to be noticed.
Anyway, who could have noticed them? Now that Germany had surrendered, the Wehrmacht was gone, so was the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft defense and the tower structure was now under the protection of three less than motivated wards who—as it happened that night—had found that Divine Providence had carefully placed two bottles of Asbach Uralt brandy on the table in the breakroom.
How about that? Starting from the principle that these bottles were now theirs, that wondering who had left them was a pointless waste of mental energy and that they legitimately needed a drink to counter-fight boredom and their basic lack of interest in a job they saw no point in, they started pouring shots. Generous shots. An untold number of toasts to all surviving leaders in the world from De Gaulle, to Churchill, to Truman and perhaps not so much Joe Stalin, the not-so-good Uncle Joe. Was it the number of shots or the barbiturate powder which the same Divine Providence had poured into the Brandy, but the fact is that the proud defense of the air tower was fast asleep by 3:00 A.M.
A line of five silent, furtive silhouettes headed towards a smaller backside bolted iron door, sneaking their way into the building. A door which—under normal circumstances—should have been locked. One has to believe that Brandy works wonders when it comes to short-circuiting basic safety procedures.
A carefully choregraphed invasion operation followed, with a nasal voice doing the talking and four henchmen obeying in a perfect orderly manner.