Friday, May 24, 2013

Interview with Speculative Fiction Author, Pastor's Wife, and Familiar Name on this Blog -- Morgan L. Busse

by Jeff Reynolds

Okay, I'll admit -- I'm the only person who regularly posts interviews. But I still feel like I've got the big one this month, the one that others wish they had lined up (or considered lining up). This month, we have a former contributor to Hoosier Ink, Morgan L. Busse.

One exciting fact that I learned following to sending these questions: Morgan is a finalist this year for the coveted Christy award. She deals with that in her blog (see below).

Jeff Reynolds: Welcome to Hoosier Ink, Morgan. No, let me rephrase that. Welcome BACK to Hoosier Ink, Morgan. Your blogs have been missed here, not to mention your presence at the Indiana Chapter events. We'll get to your writing shortly, but what's been new with you since moving away from God's country here in Indiana, personally and your ACFW involvement? Yes, I'm kidding about God's country being Indiana -- we all know it's in northern Arizona.
Morgan L. Busse: Hi Jeff! It’s great to be back. As you mentioned, God moved my family from Indiana to Oz, I mean Kansas. My husband is the pastor at a fairly new church, which we love and feel is our home away from home (that is, heaven). I never thought we would live in Kansas. I love mountains, trees, and rain. But here we are and I have discovered there is a lot of beauty in Kansas.

JR:  I am intrigued by your series. Can you tell us about it and what inspired it?

MB: Originally the name of this series was supposed to be the name for the last book. But when I talked to my editor, we decided Follower of the Word would be a great name for the entire series.

This series is a Christian fantasy for the adult market. It follows four different characters, the main one a woman named Rowen Mar. Rowen has the ability to see inside the human soul with a touch of her hand. Daughter of Light is Rowen’s story: how she came to discover her power, how it affected her life, and her journey toward becoming a Truthsayer.

Son of Truth is the second book in the series. In Daughter of Light, readers are introduced to a ruthless assassin named Caleb Tala. Son of Truth continues his story, reveals who he is, and what part he will play in the final book.

JR:  From what I gather, your second book -- Son of Truth -- has the challenging aspect of a negative lead. Without giving away plot or anything, can you tell us how you managed to create a character we grow to love even while he's a bad guy?
MB:  For those of you who have not read the series, the character in reference is the man named Caleb Tala. Like I said above, he is a Temanin prince and ruthless assassin. It is always interesting to see what character readers loved or resonated with the most. So when emails and comments came flooding in with Caleb’s name, I was surprised. He’s not a nice guy!

Did I plan this? No, not really. As I was writing, there was a character standing in the shadows with a story to be told. The first time I met Caleb Tala, he had just murdered a man. Really, Morgan? This was not the kind of book I had set out to write. But Caleb would not leave.

He intrigued me. A cold-hearted murderer, driven into this profession by his thirst for gold and women. He was ambitious, focused, and prided himself in always getting the job done. But I came to realize Caleb had one fear, a fear no one else knew about because it lived deep inside him: he knew someday he would pay for the lives he took.

I had to write about him. I had to know what would happen to him. I cared about this flawed man. I think this is what makes readers like Caleb so much. He reminds us of ourselves. We are afraid because we are just as dark as he is on the inside. So we need to know: can he be saved? Because if he can, perhaps we can be too.

JR:  Your Amazon page starts off, "Morgan L. Busse writes stories about hope. She believes that in the dark times of life, there is light and draws on her own life's experiences." Okay, I believe we're in dark times. Sometimes I wonder which will be quicker -- my road to publication and this country's path to utter destruction (or at least a point where Christian publishing can be a crime). Of course, maybe I spent too much time with Uncle Eeyore when I was young. What in your stories and in your faith gives hope in this hopelessly divided country?
MB:  Jeff, I’ve been thinking the same thing. I was reading through Romans a month ago and I think chapter 1 sums up what we are seeing in our country right now: a denial of God and a descent into depravity.

But Romans 1: 16 is a light amongst the very dark and bleak picture painted by chapter 1: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes…” (emphasis mine).

The gospel is the light and hope for our world. It is the very power of God at work. It can save any and all, and it cannot be stopped. That is what I place my faith in. It is what I write about. I am not preachy, but I don’t hold back where the real power in my world comes from. It is not in strength, it is not in magic, it is in the power the Word has to forgive the darkness inside us and change us into new people.

JR:  I'm sure the speculative authors here are familiar with Lord Marcher Press. Could you tell us about them? And I'm especially interested in one selection they have -- But Who Would Be Dumb Enough To Even Try It? Are you part of that effort?
MB:  Marcher Lord Press is an indie publishing company that specializes in award winning Christian speculative fiction. MLP was started by Jeff Gerke, an editor who worked for various Christian publishing houses. He grew tired of seeing great speculative manuscripts come across his desk that he had to refuse because they would never make it past the board due to their genre. So he started his own company and Marcher Lord Press was born. MLP will be celebrating 5 years this upcoming October. To find out more about MLP, here is the website:

But Who Would Be Dumb Enough To Even Try It? is a story collaboration between seven MLP Authors. Each week one of us would write the next chapter in the story. I was one of the participants. I enjoyed seeing how unique each of our writing voices were, but how they all came together to tell a very interesting fantasy story about band of thieves brought together by greed and a righteous calling.

JR:  From what I gather on one of your recent blogs, you're a preacher's wife. How does that ministry and other activities you're in feed into your writing and vice versa?
MB:  As a pastor’s wife, much of my life is immersed in the Christian world, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. One of my observations in ministry is that sometimes we as Christians define ourselves more by where we go (name of church) or what we do (name of ministry) than by who we are (followers of Christ).

It is this idea that made me want to write a world where I ask questions like:

  • What is a Christian really?
  • What does it mean to follow God?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • What if we saw people the way God does: broken and full of darkness?
As far as balancing both ministry and writing (as well as being a mother and wife), it comes down to priorities for me. My family is first. Then writing and ministry. I have had to learn how to say no to things. I can’t do it all. It also takes me longer to write a book (I write a book a year). But in the end, it is worth it.

JR:  What's next on the agenda, both with writing and other wise?
MB:  I am currently working on the third and last book for the Follower of the Word series. Then I am planning on working on a whole new series that is set in a steampunk world (steampunk is a work of either science fiction or fantasy that usually takes place in an alternate history of 19th century Victorian era or American “Wild West” where steam is the main source of power). Mine will be a fantasy set in the Victorian Era that revolves around the lives of a bounty hunter and a young woman from high society.

JR:  Thank you for your time, Morgan. Could you direct us to your webpage, as well as where those who miss your blogging on Hoosier Ink can go to get their fix?
MB:  Thank you, Jeff, for your wonderful interview. Here are places people can find me:


  1. Wow Morgan, that new series is kinda blowing my mind. Visions of the 3rd Back to the Future movie comes to mind.

    Jeff, great interview.

    1. I always liked Back to the Future 3 :) Thanks, Ian.

  2. Thanks for a great interview, Morgan and Jeff. This series is on my TBR list this year. Can't wait...