About the Book
Which would you choose—save your sister or save the world?
Emma Edsel’s first priority has always been protecting her blind sister Carla. So when Carla begins to develop science-defying abilities that threaten her life, Emma will stop at nothing to save her. With nowhere else to turn, she seeks help from Mitchell, the new boy at school who seems to know much more about it than he will admit.
After his last mission went horribly awry, Mitchell Banks is relieved to have a simple task: seal a small, accidental portal between Earth and other worlds in the multiverse. He didn’t count on his growing feelings for Emma—and the dangerous levels of dimension energy contaminating Carla.
Carla knows the voice in her head is evil. Manipulative. Feeding her with a strange energy she can control. She doesn’t know that she is the key to a coming global catastrophe and Mitchell’s boss will use any means possible to prevent it…including blackmailing him into murdering her.
Welcome back! Today I’m here to interview the lovely Morgan Elizabeth Huneke about her latest book, Acktorek Book 1: The Void!
Jen – Did this book surprise you in any way? i.e. did any character seem to come out of nowhere or did a plot twist seem to create itself?
Morgan – Funny you should ask that, since basically the entire book came out of nowhere. I was going through a really major bout of writer’s block where even what I did manage to write felt dry, emotionless, and uncreative. So I was picking writing prompts/dialogue prompts off of Pinterest and writing short stories off of them. Now, when I’m writing fanfiction, I mostly turn out short stories. But when I’m writing original works, I cannot write a self-contained short story. It always feels like a snippet out of a novel. With this prompt, I just wrote whatever came into my head at the moment. No planning whatsoever. A destroyed city littered with dead bodies, Emma face to face with Carla, who was blind, powerful, and controlled by something that would destroy her. And then Mitchell appeared via a teleport to stop her and save Emma.
Now, that short, and even the original concept of the story I had after writing it, are rather different from the final version. My typical process is something like this: I get a premise from something random (a dream, a prompt, a news story, a fiction story, a totally random thought, etc.). I figure out an idea of a few random moments throughout the story and a general ending. I write the book, discover all sorts of things I had no idea about when I started, and a lot of my early ideas become obsolete. I then rewrite several times layering in the new things I discover with each draft.
Specifics I discovered out of the blue in this one would probably be spoilery, but I will say, a particular bit of the mom’s backstory came out of the blue almost at the end of the first draft, but I foreshadowed it in later versions, so you might be able to figure it out before it gets to that point.
Jen – I’m glad you were able to recover from your creativity drought and give us such an amazing story. 🙂 Ooh, I think I know what you’re referring to about the mom, cool!
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
Morgan – I don’t know that there’s one particular thing I want people to get out of it. It’s a very complex book and I try to never write with a particular theme or message in mind. I find that its more effective to just write the story and let God take care of the theme. I’ve been surprised many times by the themes that come out of my books when I take that approach. And like I said, it’s a very complex book containing many aspects and themes that will resonate with different people in various ways. When it comes down to it, what I want for all of my books is for them to draw people closer to God and to deepen their worldview, making them think and helping them to see and understand things in a richer way. There is one theme in the book that stands out to me more than others, but I’d prefer for readers to find it for themselves. C.S. Lewis was careful never to decode The Chronicles of Narnia for children, and I like that approach.
Jen – Beautiful way to approach your theme and what an awesome desire for your books! God always knows just how to touch the person who needs it and we are so blessed to be used by Him.
Did you learn anything, about yourself or your writing, during the course of writing and publishing this book?
Morgan – Well, I learned that writing older teens with emotional trauma is a lot harder than writing 10-12-year-olds who are growing up in a stable home. 😉 In all seriousness, though, I have grown A LOT as a writer and as a person throughout the writing of this book. I don’t know that I can pinpoint anything specific that I learned, but it’s definitely deeper emotionally, and deals with a lot more tough emotional, psychological, and ethical topics than my middle grade books do. Not that my middle grades are fluff with no depth—they aren’t—but there’s still definitely a huge difference. I’m also writing in multiple 1st person present tense for the first time, which is very tricky, and something I wasn’t sure I could pull off. It was actually written in 3rd person past tense until less than a year ago, but the character voice was missing, as I realized in a class at Realm Makers 2019, and writing in 1st made a huge difference and just felt right for it. It’s definitely tricky though, especially since my only other 1st person book is past tense and a single narrator.
Jen – You wrote everything wonderfully!
What was the hardest part about writing this? the easiest?
Morgan – Hardest part, in a word, Emma. On the surface, Emma’s hard because she’s a hard science kind of person who has no interest in music or fiction, whereas while I like science and always managed to pull off an A in school (and most of the science in this series is the made up sort, a la flux capacitors and sonic screwdrivers), I’m really more of a history/the arts person. But she was also hard for me to understand on a mental/psychological/emotional level. She comes from a dysfunctional family with a crazy mom and an emotionally distant dad, she definitely has an attachment disorder (dismissive-avoidant, to be specific), and she’s very closed off. It took a lot to get inside her head and truly understand who she is and how she thinks.
Easy part? Actually probably the plot. I had a few wrong turns and a lot of things did change from initial idea to final draft, but it worked itself out. Grace (Emma’s self-proclaimed best friend) was also easy to write.
Jen – I can see how writing a character that different from you could be hard, I’m glad you were able to figure her out. 🙂 That’s good that the plot was so easy, it’s always nice when it works itself out. Grace was great! I’m glad she was easy too!
Can you share any hints on what happens in the next book?
Morgan – Hmm. Without giving spoilers for the ending of the first book? Let’s just say, Emma’s dealing with the emotional fallout from the climax of the first book, and there’s a mission to investigate a situation where children are literally vanishing into thin air.
Oh, wow! Poor Emma, but now I really want to read Book 2! Kids vanishing into thin air? So intriguing! Thanks so much for the interview! I hope everyone enjoyed your answers I know I did! 😀
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About the Author
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke fell in love with sci-fi and fantasy at age seven when she first read A Wrinkle in Time and The Chronicles of Narnia. In the time since, she’s spent an inordinate amount of time exploring new realms and bygone eras through countless books, movies, and TV shows. She also spends a great deal of time talking to her imaginary friends and writing down their stories in books such as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy and Twisted Dreams, a sci-fi/fantasy Sleeping Beauty novella. On the occasion she remembers she lives in Georgia in the 21st century, she can be found working at the local library, playing and teaching violin and piano, singing along to Disney and Broadway soundtracks, making casseroles while blaring Casting Crowns, sewing her own clothes, turning pirouettes in the kitchen, and volunteering for political campaigns.
Be sure to check out the other awesome posts in the tour! Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Monday, October 26
- Tour Announcement at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
- Book Review at Living Outside the Lines
- Author Interview at Isamonkey Reviews
Tuesday, October 27
- Book Spotlight at Jaye L. Knight
- Author Interview at Living Outside the Lines (You are here.)
- Interview with Emma at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
Wednesday, October 28
Thursday, October 29
Friday, October 30