Monday, 2 December 2013

MUSE MONDAY - Nicola Morgan and her great outdoor muse


This Monday the unicorn is delighted to welcome author and and publishing guru Nicola Morgan, whose muse is rather large and sometimes a bit scary...

Nicola Morgan
Who, or what, is your muse?

Nicola: My muse is an outdoor empty space. It is silent, apart from wind, or running water, or birdsong. It asks nothing of me. I can go where I want in it and no one else is ever there. There are trees in parts of it, solid ancient trees with gnarled trunks and twisting branches and holes for owls and secrets. It’s quite scary because things can hide behind the trees and there are deep shadows and dark possibilities, but the pleasure of coming through the woods into the sunlight and minty air and clear blue spaces is worth it.


sunlight, minty air and clear blue space

When did you first meet?

Nicola: When I was five. I lived in the country in a life of strange freedoms and risks and miles of open spaces and rafts on rivers and dens in hay and treehouses and tunnels and hideaways and woods with danger of forest fires. But in those days I didn’t know it as a muse of writing, just a muse of thinking and making believe in my head.

Does your muse appear in any of your books and/or artwork?


woods - perfect for an author's den?

Nicola: My first novel, Mondays are Red, is full of those spaces, with woods and fires. In The Passionflower Massacre, Matilda needs such spaces and she’s trying to find them. In Sleepwalking, there are no open spaces. They are destroyed.

If you won the lottery and had complete artistic freedom, what would you write/create?

Nicola: I don’t think money would buy me artistic freedom. Except in one sense: that I could stop all the things I do that aren’t writing but which are necessary to my career, such as events, blogging, Facebook etc, and which stop me writing. And I’d like to pay someone to handle all the admin stuff. Then I’d spend more time wandering in open spaces chasing ideas, and less time fretting about whether I’ve sold enough books to justify my publishers’ costs. I’d be healthier and I’d write more. I think my writing would be better. I’d write a dark, gothic fantasy which would make readers shiver.

Before you go, does your muse have a message for the Unicorn?

Be careful what you believe.

Thank you, Nicola - a wise message, I suspect!

More about Nicola

Nicola Morgan is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, mostly for and about teenagers. She is also a blogger and public-speaker on the teenage brain and stress, the reading brain and all aspects of writing and publishing. She lives in Edinburgh but travels widely. She loves shoes and chocolate.



The Passionflower Massacre and Sleepwalking
Two novels published in one ebook.

These two YA thrillers were originally published by Hodder and attracted excellent reviews, with Sleepwalking winning the Scottish Children’s Book of the Year. Both are coming of age novels, infused with passion and anger, danger and hope. The Passionflower Massacre was inspired by the Jonestown Massacre and features an emotionally-damaged girl desperate for freedom who becomes embroiled in a sinister religious cult. We also see inside the head of the even more damaged cult leader. Sleepwalking is set in a dystopian future where language is dying and ambition is almost dead; four teenagers must find the courage to enter the terrifying Tower to discover the secret and destroy the government.

The ebook is published TODAY! See here for details.

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