Hello, all! Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. It’s been all craziness here as I get ready to head off to North Carolina for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference! I am so excited. It will be my first time at this particular conference and I am beyond thrilled to be in beautiful Asheville.
Today, I have a great author to introduce–B.W. Morris. He is another Clean Reads author and his novels have definitely intrigued me. I will admit that I got caught up in the excerpt. My next stop, I think, will be Amazon 🙂
Thank you for being on the blog, B.W.! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?
Six Pack: Gyration is the second book in The Six Pack Series. The first book came out last year and the second book follows up on the events of the first. Set in the distant future, it follows the tale of six teenagers who consume a drink that gives them strange powers and leads to them learning about a movement against the government of Novusordo. They must determine how their powers can help change the world – but they must learn to work together as a team. In the second book, their decision to save their professor, Roger Woods, leads to significant consequences that impact everyone – including themselves.
The first inspiration came from watching the animated TV series Young Justice and thinking about my own ideas for a team-up of teenaged superheroes. It wasn’t until I read The Hunger Games, though, that I got an idea for the story’s setting – what if these superpowered teenagers had to take down a controlling government? And because my original idea was that these teens would gain their powers after consuming a drink, that led to the idea that the government used a drink to keep the population from questioning its agenda. Everything fell into place by then.
You’re not making me want to read it any less 🙂
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
I’ll admit when I was much younger, I thought I wanted to be a fireman. However, it was when I got into the fourth grade that I realized I had the gift for writing, even if I didn’t think about as a future career. By the time I got to junior high school, I read the student newspaper and thought how great it would be to write for it. That was the first time that writing really crossed my mind.
Strange how we don’t see what’s right in front of us sometimes…I just did a career day talk for third graders and realized that it was about that age that I started writing little stories. Even though my heart was set on being a doctor until much, much later.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Once I had my mind set on journalism, I knew that writing was something I wanted to do. But it wasn’t until I got older that fiction writing crossed my mind. I had done some creative writing in my spare time, but once I got ideas in my head for novels, I gave more serious consideration to writing one. I threw together a draft in the summer of 2015, visited the Kansas Writers Association for the first time and it grew from there.
That writing but does eventually make its mark on us, doesn’t it?
But as much as we all love it, I know there are things we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?
The editing process! It can take a lot of time to go through a draft, several times over, to make sure you get everything to the best it can possibly be. It’s worth it, though, once you see the final product come together.
I hear that! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Do a lot of reading. That’s the number one thing for everyone to keep in mind. Spend your time reading novels, pay attention to how characters are developed, how tension is built, how pacing is done. You can also get ideas for how these things work by watching movies, but reading books is of the utmost importance. And it helps to practice writing – spend your time jotting down whatever comes to mind. Even if it’s just notes to yourself, every bit of writing helps.
What are you currently reading?
I’m going through several young adult, science fiction and thrillers to get ideas about what other authors are doing. I’m reading Five Nights at Freddy’s right now – it’s good so far, though I’m still only a few chapters into the book. I like to read a book before I go to bed and try to read one chapter per night – though sometimes I’ll run across a book that’s so good, I keep going through chapters and can’t put it down. (That’s what it was like reading The Hunger Games for the first time!)
I know! I couldn’t put it down either!
Let’s talk about setting your writing mood… What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I can’t listen to music when writing. I sing along with the lyrics too much!
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
Evenings work the best for me, though I may try to squeeze in some writing on Saturday mornings if I’m not busy with something else. As for where I write, I’m usually sitting in front of the coffee table in my living room – yeah, that may seem odd, but I find it works better because it’s somewhat different from work, when I’m always sitting in a big chair in front of a desk.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first drafts take about two to three months to complete. Then I let it sit for a couple of months, before I pull it out, edit and rewrite. And then it’s on to beta readers, meaning the full process from first draft to a draft that’s ready to submit may take a year or more.
Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
I put several Easter eggs in it – for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, those are lines or details in the book that refer to other works. I found ways to work in lines that were lifted from Young Justice and the Arrowverse, without them seeming out of place. Something that’s fun for readers to pick up on if they notice them!
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I am completing my own tribute to the Arrowverse called the Arrowverse “Other World” Project on my author blog (which is in the process of transferring to a new website). My third book in The Six Pack Series is undergoing beta reads and I hope to polish it up by the end of the summer. In the meantime, I’m planning to work a draft for another book in the coming months – just need to finalize an outline and then I can get started.
Again, thank you so much for being on the blog, giving us some insight into your books and your process. Now, readers, let’s dig in and check out these books!
BOOK 1 – Six Pack: Emergence
Just weeks before Tyler Ward is to graduate from secondary school, he learns the truth about Novusordo and how a drink controls the population. After sharing this information with his five friends, they visit a professor’s house, take another drink and gain strange powers. It leads to them learning more about how the government controls people and the discovery of a movement against the government. Calling themselves the Six Pack, Tyler and his friends must learn how their powers can change society. But they first must learn to trust this movement… and even each other.
Six Pack: Gyration
Months after the Six Pack has fled City 37N104W, Tyler Ward wonders how much longer the Underground Network can afford to wait to make its next move against the Novusordo government. The disappearance of five more students from Monroe Secondary School pushes his desire to take action. And when he learns that Professor Roger Woods may be in trouble, he is convinced he and the Six Pack must take matters into their own hands, even if it means defying the Network. But actions have consequences, and the decisions Tyler and his friends make will impact everyone they encounter — including themselves.
Available May 22 on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!
Enjoy an Excerpt
Tyler pressed a hand to his chin as he listened to Diane. The more he heard, the more agitated he became.
“So every marriage only happens because the government says so?”
Diane leaned back in her chair. “Couples get together at their places of work, but the government must approve a marriage, yes.”
“What if somebody fell in love with a person who worked a different job than them?”
Diane shook her head. “The government won’t allow that.”
Tyler flexed his fingers. “That isn’t right.”
“Yes, but that’s one of many reasons why the Network wants to change society.”
“So what are we waiting for? After all, the longer we wait, the worse things will get. Not to mention that my parents could be in danger if the government found out what I’m doing for the Network.”
“Your parents are fine. As far as we know, the government isn’t going after them.”
“As far as you know.” Tyler narrowed his gaze. “How can you be sure?”
Diane held up her hand. “I understand you want to help the Network. That’s why we are letting you know more things over time. But we do need to be patient.”
“That’s all I ever hear.” Tyler took a deep breath, trying not to raise his voice. “But the more I hear, the more I ask myself how much longer we can wait.”
“Tyler, you have to understand that Professor Woods chose you for a reason.”
“Yes, he believed I was the right person because I was the top student in my class. Makes me wonder what would have happened had I never met him.”
“That’s why you need to know that you were intentionally placed at Monroe.”
Tyler did a double take. “What?”
Diane leaned forward and folded her arms across the desk. “A teacher at your elementary school, who was part of the Network, recommended you be placed at Monroe. The government allows the top students to be assigned to schools, and that teacher had hoped you would meet Professor Woods.”
Tyler looked away for a second. That revelation convinced him, more than ever, that he couldn’t keep hiding. If he was meant to bring change, he needed to bring it about. His gaze shifted back to Diane. “If I was meant to meet the professor, to be part of a movement for change, shouldn’t I be out there doing it?”
Diane shook her head. “It’s not that simple. First of all, the professor expected your ability to reason would be enhanced, not something else. Second, ever since what we’ve learned has been happening in City 37N104W, we’ve had to reassess.”
“How long can we afford to do that?” Tyler gestured with his hands. “What happens if we’re forgotten? Allen Ford keeps wondering why we haven’t been around.”
Diane took a deep breath. “We have reason to believe the Novusordo government is trying to lure you there.”
“We had reason to believe Governor Grayson was trying to lure us, but Mr. Harrison agreed we should go.” Tyler flipped his hands. “What’s different this time?”
She shifted in her chair. “What’s different is that the government increased security there. Tighter restrictions at Monroe: on everyone who lives there and works there. We’re trying to determine the best way to handle things.”
Tyler shook his head. He wanted to believe Diane. But though her voice remained steady, her eyes moved just enough to suggest something bothered her. How he wanted to read her mind, but he respected her too much to do that. “So what else aren’t you telling me?”
She didn’t answer.
“What is it?” Tyler asked.
She shifted position again. “All right, it’s only fair you know. The professor and I are a couple.”
“You two are dating?”
“Yes, that’s how I became involved with the Network.”
Tyler frowned. “I thought the government determined who could get together.”
“Not those in elite positions, such as the professor and myself.”
“Okay. So why wouldn’t you want to do something to help him?”
Diane held up her hand. “He and I came to an understanding about things.”
He shook his head again. “You and he may have done that, but I haven’t. How can you stay here while he’s down there at Monroe, in who knows what situation—that is, if you already know and don’t want to tell me.”
She took another deep breath, as if she didn’t want to raise her voice. “And as we have told you—I have told you—several times before that it’s too risky for the professor to leave. As much as I care for him, I’m not going to put him in danger.”
“But he’s in danger right now, isn’t he?” Tyler gestured with his hands. “Five students disappear, so does Mr. Walls, and the professor could be next if we don’t take action.”
“And you could be in trouble if you go down there,” Diane said. “The professor does not want anything to happen to you.”
“And I don’t want anything to happen to the professor. Do you?”
Diane cupped her hands and pressed them against her chin. She didn’t seem to know what to say. Tyler had a stray thought, that he wasn’t being fair to her or the Network. But all he could think about was doing something to help Roger.
“I mean, how has the Network handled things for the past, what is it, seventy-five years or so?” Tyler stood up. “I’m sorry, but if there’s going to be change—real change—then we need to take action.” He spun away from her.
She leaned forward. “Tyler, wait…”
But he opened the door and marched out. He strode down the hallway, eyes straight ahead. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so harsh with Diane. But it hurt him, knowing that she cared for Roger, but didn’t feel compelled to help him. How could she leave him behind like that?
He approached the lounge and almost ran into Jennifer Blake. Great, she was the last person he wanted to be around.
“Hey, slow down,” she said.
“What do you care?” He brushed past her, but felt a tug on his arm.
“Mind, I need you to listen to me.”
She pulled him away from the door and toward the opposite wall. When she released her grasp, he stumbled and stared hard at her. What was her problem, anyway?
“They told me you could be a great leader,” she said. “I want to believe that, but the way you’re acting makes that difficult.”
“What is it with you?” He threw up his hands. “All I hear from you is criticism.”
“I’m trying to keep you from becoming what I once was.”
He blinked. “What are you talking about?”
She leaned against the wall. “When I was twenty-one years old, my mother died. Publicly, they said she had food poisoning. But I learned that the government arranged for poison to be slipped into her meal because she was too critical of the government.”
She pushed back her hair. “I remember how angry I felt. I wanted to get at the government so badly. Make them pay for it. I wanted to hurt them, hurt the president, the way they hurt me. But then I met James Harrison. He calmed me down, made me realize that if I did anything rash, I could make things worse. And he told me about the Network.”
She crossed her legs. “My mother kept a diary on her tablet. The last entry she wrote was that patience can be a difficult thing to learn, but when you learn it, you find it will serve you well. She also wrote that, while she hoped for Novusordo to change in her lifetime, if she could inspire others to push for that change, she’d know she’d done well.”
Tyler wanted to say something, but she held up her hand. “What stood out the most was she believed that change could happen if you gave it time. Be persuasive, difficult as it may be. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t lose much. Because in the past, when people tried to change things, they became aggressive, resorted to violent measures, used tactics that did more harm than good. Those tactics are what led to the rise of Novusordo. So if change is going to come, it has to come the right way. Through persuasion, not violence.”
Tyler’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t doubt she told the truth. But the tone of her voice sounded like a scold. That he didn’t appreciate. It made him harder to accept that she might be right about being patient. “Why didn’t you tell us this when we all first met?” he asked.
“I wasn’t sure about the six of you.” She relaxed her posture. “I heard about the things you did, and wondered if having such power was a good thing, especially somebody your age. I wanted to see firsthand what you were all about.”
“So you don’t trust us?”
She shook her head. “No, it’s that I wasn’t sure if the things you could do were the best way to bring that change. I’m not convinced yet, but the patience your friends are showing, at least from what I’ve observed, give me reason to believe. But it’s not only about that. It’s about understanding what you are up against and what happened before, about not repeating those mistakes.”
She locked eyes with him. “And believe me, Mind, there is a lot you need to understand.”
Tyler’s gaze hardened. He wanted to sympathize with her. But here was somebody like Arnold Walls, who thought that teens couldn’t handle this situation. That they were too young, too inexperienced, too reckless. Arnold rubbed him the wrong way, just like Jennifer.
But it didn’t matter. Arnold was in trouble, too. He may not like him, but he’d never turn his back on him if he might be in trouble, if the government came after him. Jennifer was no different. The government had no right to target anybody for death, whether he liked the person or not.
He thought about responding, but she raised her finger and spoke. “I don’t want you to dwell on how much you want to change things. Believe me, the more I dwelled on it, the worse I felt. Now, I haven’t given up on changing things, but I understand it comes with time and with patience, not violence. You need to understand that.”
She lowered her hand. He sighed but couldn’t deny she had a point. After all, he never wanted to hurt anybody when he used his powers. Still, he couldn’t help it. Something bothered him, that there was more to things than she let on. And he had to be sure of that. Though he may have promised he wouldn’t pry into the minds of those he respected, this was different. Even after everything she told him, she hadn’t earned his respect.
“All right, fine.” He extended her hand, acting like he wanted to make amends. “I’m sorry.”
She sized him up. He tried not to give away what he was thinking. After a moment, she took his hand.
That’s when Tyler focused on her. He kept it for a few seconds and heard enough to confirm his suspicions.
Professor Woods is in trouble.
She released his hand. “You should go join your friends.”
She turned and walked down the hallway. He entered the lounge. He knew what needed to be done, what he had to tell his friends. The Six Pack had to return to City 37N104W.
More About the Author
B.W. Morris is a longtime writer for small-town newspapers who put his inner comic book geek to work through writing novels. Born in Texas but grew up in Colorado, he has lived in New Mexico, Oklahoma and currently resides in Kingman, Kan. Greg Weisman, Suzanne Collins, Stan Lee, George Orwell, and Conor Friedersdorf all influenced his writing. Morris is a fan of the Young Justice animated series, the Arrowverse shows on the CW Network, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars films, and more graphic novels than he can keep track. You can learn more about his love for science fiction at his blog, relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com, and his new website to be launched in June at bwmorrisauthor.com.
Connect with the B.W. Morris and his books
Follow B.W. Morris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sixpackwriter
Visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bwmorrisauthor/
Stop by his blog: relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com
Email him with questions about his work at [email protected].
New author website to be launched in June: bwmorrisauthor.com.
B.W. Morris is offering, to one (1) winner, an e-book copy of his first novel in the series, Six Pack: Emergence. The winner will be selected from among entries in the Rafflecopter below (follow instructions on the Rafflecopter to enter).