Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Sam Morton!


1.. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a South Carolina native, born and bred, and a graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. I have both bachelor's and master's degrees in English. I used to be a homicide detective and also a professional wrestler (yep, the fake TV kind!). Now I write full time and live in Columbia, Sc with my wife and two children, who are both from Siberia.

2. Your new YA book is part of a series called The Austin Files. How did you choose that name?

The book and the series are named in memory of Austin Whetsell, the son of a friend. Two years ago, when Austin was 15, he went to Mexico on a mission trip with his church. One afternoon, he and his friends went swimming in the ocean. Tragically, Austin got caught in a rip current. He was pulled out to sea and drowned. Just before he went swimming, he called his grandfather, who asked him how he was enjoying his trip. His last words to his grandfather were, "What if God intends me to do this the rest of my life?" That still sends chills up my spine.

3. Could you now tell us a little bit about the premise of Betrayed?

Austin's finds out his best friend, Rico, is in the U.S. illegally. Rico and his family go back to Mexico to apply for citizenship just as the school year ends. Austin visits and finds out two things: one, Rico's cousin Veronica, who he immediately develops a crush on, helps people cross the border illegally; and, two, that a rogue Mexican general and a U.S. senator up for re-election appear linked in a deadly scheme to kidnap people trying to cross. Austin faces a decision: does he help his friends or fight the general? Either path could lead to danger or even death for him and his friends.

4. Since we just learned how Austin was based of a person, were any of the other characters based off anyone?

Absolutely. One of my minor, but pivotal characters--a man named Konstantine--is based on a friend from the Ukraine--whose name is Konstantin (without the "E" but pronounced the same. Everyone who has read Betrayed loves Konstantine, so I've drafted the real person to sign books with me at events. He tells everyone the book is about him! It's great and he's a good sport.

5. Do you have any plans for future Austin Files books?

Yes. I'm planning two more titles in the Austin Files series. I'm in the outlining phase for book two right now.

6. How about your adult books? You already have one book, Disavowed, out now. Do you have any plans for new books there?

I do, and I didn't originally intend for the next adult book to be a follow up to Disavowed, but everyone seems to like the characters and want to know what the next chapter in their lives will be. While I haven't nailed down the exact details, the next book will be about a couple who adopt two children from Russia (sound familiar?), but these two happen to be the illegitimate children of a Russian mob boss, and he wants them back. The book begins with their kidnapping. It will involved plenty of action and the characters Mike Max Chandler, (the main characters from Disavowed) but I've yet to determine what their exact roles will be.

7. How did you become involved in writing?

My mother was quite creative, so I came by the imaginative part pretty early on--elementary school. I decided I really wanted to be a writer when I was about 10 and worked toward it, studying it, and just writing for my own enjoyment. My teachers encouraged me and when I was in middle and high school, I worked on the school newspaper. Even though I majored in English, my writing needed some polish before I began making any money at it. I sold my first article in 1994 and have been writing professionally ever since. I've had some great mentors, Tom Poland (also an author), James Rembert (my college advisor and English professor), and the greatest writer of all (with the possible exception of Shakespeare), Pat Conroy.

8. Do you find that your everyday life greatly influences your writing?

Most definitely. I was vacationing in the North Carolina mountains this past weekend and the whole time kept wondering how I might work the scenery, location, plants, the Cherokee Indian Nation, even the train I was on, into the next Austin Files book. Everyone is a potential character and the stories, jokes, and anecdotes they tell me may end up as a plot device.

9. What is your proudest moment and your proudest achievement in writing?

The proudest moment was receiving my author's copy of Disavowed, seeing my name on it, holding it in my hand, and realizing that it, like John Grisham's books, Nora Roberts', Pat Conroy's, etc., was on a bookshelf for sale.

I would have to say my proudest achievement is publishing Betrayed and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Austin Whetsell's memorial fund that continues to provide money for mission trips not only to Mexico, but to other parts of the world as well.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

First and foremost read, read, read. You have to be a devoted reader in order to master the craft. Second, if you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing--whether it's articles, books, or blogs--then you're already a writer; your heart is in it. From that moment on, just concentrate on getting better. Develop your characters. Make you dialogue as realistic as possible. Study plot development. Just like an athlete perfects the basics before moving onto more complex skills, so should you.

11. Lastly, where can readers find your books?

Both books are available at or directly from the publisher at Any bookstore can order them for you as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very useful post. I would love to follow you on twitter.