Writing Experiences of an Ex-Pat
by Jill Amadio
|V P Morris|
Award-winning horror and thriller writer V.P. Morris, a young and quiet author of short stories and standalones, lives in one of the least currently crime-ridden states in America: Connecticut, Nevertheless, she fills her books with dark doings conjured up from her vivid imagination and her interest in criminal psychology.“Fear is the most primal emotion that humans experience,” she said, explaining herpreference for the genre and enjoying questioning how her characters handle the experiences she dreams up. She finds much of her inspiration “in the present-day terrifying true crime reports, mysteries, and folklore.”
Another question she asks herself when writing is how her characters would react if they were portrayed in the movies of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Assuredly quite differently to today, she believes.
“Women are no longer treated simply as victims. It has become acceptable for them to be criminals who take an active, if not a leading, role in situations and circumstances that can turn deadly, instead of just reacting,” she said.
A guitar musician, V began composing lyrics at the age of 11 and decided to become a songwriter, However, she found it too limiting and in her later teens she moved on to writing short stories while taking creative writing courses in high school and college.“In high school I frequently read my work in front of the class. Only so much time was available with so many kids so we could only read the first page,” she said. “One time I was reading a portion of my story about a ghost from the Victorian era. When I was done everyone was quiet, staring at me and waiting to hear the rest of the story. ‘Well, what happened?’ asked one of my classmates. It was the first time I saw people affected by my writing in this way. That is what I seek to do with each novel and short story I write. I want to get a reaction and I want people to be questioning what is waiting for them around the corner of my stories.”
Her devilish efforts have won her awards for such as for “Bloodsuckers,” a short story published in Drunken Pen, a non-profit writing and arts collective. V’s story plunges the protagonist directly into a grisly battle with the leeches of the title. The story is, in fact, symbolism for the several roles many women are forced to play, V says, with regard to the pressures on their complex lives as a wife, mother, careerist, nurse, cook, and hostess. Her role is often required to include being socially active to promote her husband’s career. But not in V’s novels.
“I am passionate about women being allowed to be real people with no gray areas,” she said. “It’s the reality that I try to portray in my books.”
ShadowCast, in which the protagonist sets up a true crime podcast in an effort to publicize the case of a missing teenager, to agents and publishers. V accepted an offer from the Black Rose Writing company, a P.O.D. publisher in Texas. ShowCast was released in 2021 to excellent reviews.
‘Initially. with this first book, I got into a muddle. I wanted to write all the exciting stuff first,” she said. “Keeping my ideas sorted was a problem so now I outline. I do a fair amount of research, it sparks my imagination, and I look for gritty, seedy places for settings.”
The Black Rose Writing book promotions often include tools such as creating podcasts with its authors, interviewing them in a question-and-answer format and posting the results online. The relatively new form of publicity, recording digital audios available to the Internet for free downloading, has become V’s preferred method of promoting her books and winning an award for a podcast she produced herself.“Podcasting is really easy, simple, quick, and effective,” she said.
Dead Ringer, was inspired by her idol, author Gillian Flynn whose Gone Girl bestseller is about the nature of identity, as is Dead Ringer which was published earlier this year, in February, 2022. V finished writing the book in 2016 and pitched the concept to Twitter, receiving support from other writers and writing professionals. She eventually wound up with Black Rose Writing.
Another bestselling author, Patricia Highsmith, is “very influential,” said V. The Talented Mr. Ripley served as some inspiration to me while I was writing the identity portion of Dead Ringer.
Finding time to write has become more of a juggling act since she and her husband welcomed their infant son, and she treasures his noon naptime for stints at the computer. She was used to writing a few thousand words a day but with the birth of her child the number has understandably dwindled.
‘But at midday my brain turns on,” she said. “I have so many ideas tumbling around in my head, often fueled by my characters, that I sometimes feel as if I am writing 6,000 words in one session. A great feeling.”
What is next for V.P.Morris?“There are murderous cults I’d like to explore, and among my hopes for the future is to write a modern Agatha Christie when the copyright for her suspense-filled mysteries are released to public domain. I am very muchattracted to Christie’s “And Then There Were None” and “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”
In the meantime, V watches as the second hand of her watch approaches midday when her little son will nod off and she can re-enter the world of her characters.
hails from Cornwall, U.K, like the character in her crime
series, Jill was a reporter in Spain, Colombia, Thailand, and the U.S. She is a true crime author, ghosted a thriller, writes a column for Mystery People ezine, and freelances for My Cornwall magazine.
She lives in Southern California.
Her most recent book is In Terror's Deadly Clasp, published 16 July 2021
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