Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Jordan Castillo Price for taking the time to talk with us today about their retro title from JCP Books Channeling Morpheus Series. Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed Channeling Morpheus Series. You can find the review here.
We are here today to talk about Channeling Morpheus. What can you tell us about?
Thank you so much for the opportunity, both to re-visit an older series of mine that I’ve always thought was really immersive, and also to wax philosophical about the craft of writing. Thinking and talking about writing is endlessly fascinating for me—and online I can’t see any listeners glaze over 😉
When I was younger, I used to love vampire novels, but I don’t anymore. Why? They’ve grown repetitive and tropey. (A trope is an overused literary device, such as the ubiquitous evil twin with a goatee on a soap opera.) I like vampires, I think they’re cool. But I really dislike all the tropes that have grown up around them, like they own nightclubs, they have a bunch of money, or they must answer to an organized cabal of vampire government.
So when I wrote Channeling Morpheus, my intent was to write the a vampire story without the tropes, focusing on the characters and the gritty realism of needing to drink blood to survive.
Tell us more about our main characters.
Michael is a young vampire hunter. His knows his BFF was killed by vampires and no one believed him, so he left home his senior year of high school and has been hitchhiking from town to town, living on the street, tracking down a vampire in hopes of slaying him.
Wild Bill is a jaded punk rocker who’s stunned to find his crusty old heart is breached by Michael’s brutal sincerity.
What makes this series so special to you as its creator?
Wild Bill’s swagger and speech patterns are based on someone I dated when I was sixteen. Recently I found out he passed away. I like to think the real Wild Bill gets a little chuckle from being immortalized as a chain-smoking, blue-eyed heartthrob.
If you could change one thing in Channeling Morpheus or its sequels what would it be and why?
At the time the story was written, the publisher required a certain amount of sex in every story. This requirement forced me to sneak in the plot via the subtext and around all the steamy scenes. At the time it irked me that I couldn’t just tell my story how I saw fit, but now I can see how much my writing grew by surmounting this obstacle. I also developed the habit of expressing important plot and character points during the intimate scenes, so what happens in bed is just as important as any other event in my stories. No tab-A, slot-B.
If you could be one of your characters who would you be and why?
I’ve always wanted to be the reclusive artist Anton Kopec from my thriller, Body Art. He’s entirely self-motivated and content to follow his creativity wherever it takes him, without regard to anything else. Not money, not approval, just the sheer joy of creating.
If you had to be a character in a Stephen King book – which one would you choose?
I always thought Mike Noonan from Bag of Bones was a decent guy, though since he was a writer crippled by writer’s block, I don’t suppose I’d want to be him! Johnny Smith from the Dead Zone meets a pretty grim end too…but I think I’ll pick him. It would be fun to be a creepy, intimidating psychic.
If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to practice. So many writers think the first thing they ever write should be publishable, and I’m not sure where that idea comes from. My first several novels are unreadable. Most songwriters don’t write a catchy song right out of the gate, few artists hang their first drawing in a museum. Let yourself learn the craft with your early works.
Tell us about some of your other titles.
PsyCop is my most popular series. It’s a character-driven story about a socially awkward psychic medium who fell into police work because his dubious talent allows him to solve crimes no one else can.
Mnevermind is another character-driven storyline about a brilliant inventor who’s watching his family business swirl down the drain. He hooks up with an autistic colleague, and together, they take faltering baby-steps toward a better life.
There seems to be a striking distinct change between the type of characters you wrote in Magic Mansion (2012) and Wild Bill, or characters in PsyCop and Meatworks – why do you think that is? Was it deliberate, or a kind of writing evolution?
What an interesting question! My first impulse is to plot these characters on a timeline according to when they were created:
PsyCop (2006) Victor Bayne – neurotic introvert
Channeling Morpheus (2008) Wild Bill – embittered wiseass, Michael Davies – ruthless, brilliant and painfully young
Magic Mansion (2012) Professor Topaz – wise and melancholy, Ricardo the Magnificent – competitive yet sweet
Meatworks (2014) Desmond Poole – pathetic bastard
I don’t see a pattern, but I’m definitely deliberate about making my characters different from one another. I don’t want to be that author who keeps writing the same character over and over and just changes their career or the color of their eyes.
Which do you prefer to write, characters or plotlines?
It’s hard for me to pick, I think because you can’t really have one or the other. Plotlines are flat without characters to light them up, and characters who aren’t doing something aren’t really alive.
What comes to you first characters who need stories or the outline of a story?
Neither. It’s usually a key concept that generates both the characters and the plot. In The Starving Years, that concept was, “What if someone solved the hunger problem, what sort of shifts would we see in society?” Then the characters came to me: a food scientist, a blogger, an investigative reporter. At the same time, a plot for them to inhabit: an evil corporation decides to manipulate the food source and incites a riot.
Maybe this is why I write speculative fiction. For me, the “what if?” generates everything else.
Rapid Fire Time
Salt or Pepper? Salt
Sausage or Hamburger? Hamburger
UK Football (soccer) or American Football? These are both the sport-ball, right? Go, local team, go!
Fire or Ice? Ice
Favorite Decade? 80’s
Cut or uncut? Surprise me.
Spring or Fall? Spring
Champagne or beer? Mmmm. Beer.
Birth order? Only.
Tattoos or piercings? Ink, please!
What are you working on? What is next?
I’ve been working on a standalone story about a scholarly type who falls for one of the servers at his sister’s wedding, a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who turns his world upside down. But my brain has spun out the story in the wrong order, much to my frustration, so it’s needing lots of juggling and rewriting, plus I’ve been working on it around the massive urban fantasy anthology I recently edited, Charmed and Dangerous. I’m hoping to have this done by the end of the year, and I think by then a PsyCop novel will be ready to start taking shape.
Thanks so much for treating me to all these fun questions! I had a blast! 😀
Title: Channeling Morpheus Series
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price
Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.
Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.
About the Author
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
One commenter will win a Joran Castillo Price ebook or audiobook of their choice.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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