Morgan Quaid - Fast-Paced Fantasy Page-Turners Set Against Expansive Backdrops
Morgan Quaid is an Australian writer of urban fantasy and horror, specializing in fast-paced page-turners set against expansive fantasy backdrops. When Morgan isn’t writing novels, comics, graphic novels, or short stories, he’s usually composing or producing music, or staring with longing and regret at a bar of chocolate. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Seven Hungers.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Seven Hungers is about.
A disgraced sorcerer, Ambrose Drake, is called out of censure and ordered to investigate an incursion event in Brisbane, Australia. Drake works for the Crown, a secret society that controls sorcery and which has been set up to protect earth against foreign invasion, specifically from the seven “hell world” type realities that exist beneath our world.
Drake has two big problems however. First, in working the case he’s forced to work with his ex-wife, the woman who turned him in to the Crown and had him censured in the first place ten years earlier. Second, he’s technically possessed by a demon queen from the Seventh Hunger after having been tricked into travelling all the way down to the Seventh Hunger, thinking that it was actually his wife he was rescuing and not a ravenous, demon goddess.
Drake has to solve the mystery, stop an incursion from another realm, deal with his ex-wife, and keep the demon queen within his mind from escaping and taking over the world.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
I love stories about other worlds, intertwining realities, and general weirdness. I like dark fantasy, world-ending events, sorcery, and anything with a fantasy bent. The Seven Hungers series allowed me to explore a lot of those areas but by tying the narrative to a few key characters rather than writing a sprawling epic. I was also keen to explore the investigation angle as I’ve only done one other crime thriller type book and loved the idea of setting an investigation style story in an urban fantasy world.
Please tell us more about Ambrose Drake. What makes him tick?
Drake is smart mouthed, quick witted, and an adventure junkie.
He’s addicted to new experiences, the world of magic, anything exciting and new. He’s not a great thinker and would rather jump into the fire and work it out afterwards than try and plan ahead.
Despite his reputation as a rogue, he does have a strong moral center and detests the Crown (the organization he works for) because of its hypocrisy and self-serving nature.
While he has few friends, he cares deeply for them and even still cares for his ex-wife, if you can wade past the verbal abuse and snark he typically fires her way.
What did you have the most fun with when writing The Seven Hungers?
The interactions between Drake and the demon queen inside his mind.
I love the catch-twenty-two they’re both stuck in where neither has the upper hand and they both need each other despite their animosity. The dynamic intensifies as the series goes on as well, which is fun.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about it.
I originally had an artist friend build out a great looking cover, but he’s a comic artist so I realized that some people were seeing the image and thinking the book was a graphic novel. So I re-designed and build a new cover series focusing on the Ambrose figure and with some urban fantasy elements that readers of the genre would find more familiar.
How do you go about world-building when you write in fantasy settings like this?
I like to keep most of the world-building out of the main body of the text, but use what I’ve written to inform my character dialogue and some descriptive scenes. I think you need to leave room for the reader’s imagination, so I always try to paint a few vivid aspects of a new scene, but leave the rest for the reader to populate.
Do any of your characters ever go off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Sometimes. Particularly the “evil” characters like the demon queen in this series. She’s consistently horrible, but then, as the series progresses, starts to become more human, more relatable. She even demonstrates kindness and compassion now and then, which is seemingly completely at odds with her character. That was never really planned, but as the book and the series progressed, she just went that way.
his is Book 1 of The Crimson King series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Yes, book 1 can be read as a standalone, however you’re probably going to want to read book 2, because it ends on a tantalizing twist. The books in the series progress fairly closely one after the other, each with their own threat, and each heading towards a larger end which revolves around the main character and his role in fulfilling a future prophecy which may or may not spell the end of all things.
Books 1 and 2 you could read on their own, but things get a little complicated from book 3 onwards, so best to read them in order if you can. And….of course you can! You are the captain of your own destiny after all!
Also, there is a prequel and spinoff novel coming in 2024 which can be read separately, but they’ll be much more enjoyable after you’ve dug into the series a little.
Readers say the book was fast-paced and kept them hooked throughout. How did you pull this off?
I’m a fairly impatient reader myself, and a very impatient writer, so I tend to get right into the action. I also try to end a chapter on something which will want readers turning to the next chapter.
The nature of the Ambrose Drake character also lent itself very well to a fast-paced narrative where Drake is thrust into different circumstances with no idea what’s going to happen next. Writing in first person present meant that I was able to place readers right there inside Drake’s mind as this all happened.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m an award-winning music composer, producer, and I do quite a lot of video production. I’m also truly terrible at anything handyman related. I’m happy to build worlds in the imagination, but if you get me trying to put up a mail box….be prepared for disappointment.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Honestly, I just start. No planning, no sketching ideas. I just start. Usually I stop after a chapter or two and begin sketching out more ideas, but I’ve found that I work best by just getting in there and getting stuck into the writing.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Wake up at 4-5am, write for two hours with a cup of tea, head to my day job, then sometimes do a little editing at night before sleep. That’s about the sum of it. No weird habits though. Just me and the pc…tap tapping away.
What are you working on right now?
A spin off story in the Seven Hungers universe. A new fantasy progression series. Book 7 in the current Seven Hungers Series (exciting and daunting!). And editing. Soooo much editing.
Oh, and a new urban fantasy series launching in early 2024 which may or may not link with the Seven Hungers series…..okay….yes, it does, it totally connects!!!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Head to www.morganquaid.com or find me on social media pretty much everywhere!
Life as a glorified supernatural pest inspector isn't great, but when discraced sorcerer, Ambrose Drake, gets pulled back into service to investigate an emergence from one of the lower hungers, he realizes that there are worse vocations.