Wordsmith Interview – Morgan Shaver

Age: 24

Location: North Arlington, New Jersey.

Education: Some college.

The Writer

How long have you been writing?
From elementary school onward.

Do you have a specific writing style?
Not at the moment, I enjoy experimentation.

Do you see writing as a career?

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Getting published.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
To complete and publish a full-length novel.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Completing and publishing that full-length novel.

 The Work

Tell us a bit about your work in Crack the Spine.
Manilla Envelope, which is about the process of getting to know my late father, whom I had never met, through the pieces of his life he left behind.

Is there a main theme or message in this piece?
Forgiveness and understanding.

What inspired this work?
I went through the contents of that envelope and needed an outlet for all of the emotions I’d been carrying for so long.

How long did it take you to complete this piece?
A few weeks.

Anything else you’d like to share about your work in Crack the Spine?
It’s my first nonfiction piece, and I’m still overwhelmed that it was accepted.

Tell us about another project you have published or are currently working on.
Fragments, which follows a man suffering from amnesia as he slowly remembers who he is and what happened to him.

What inspired this work?
The fear of loss and powerlessness.

Where/When can we find this work?
It’s published in The Penmen Review.

The Methods

How often do you write?
Every day.

Where do you write?
Either curled up in bed, or at the computer.

What time of day or night makes you most productive as a writer?
I have terrible insomnia, so I get most of my writing done at around 3 a.m.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
I think both are great ways to get your work out in the open.

What are your thoughts on writing at a computer vs. writing longhand?
I do both. I typically write my initial draft longhand before transferring it over to the computer.

What is your usual starting point for a piece?
I usually start with a particular thought or idea, then write whatever comes to mind. I like having the freedom to discover what a story is while I’m writing it.

How do you react to editorial rejections of your work?
I’m not bothered by them. If one thing doesn’t get accepted, there’s a chance something else will in the future. That, or perhaps I need to revisit the story and see what it’s missing. Which gives me the opportunity to create a better story overall.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
I’m overjoyed and proud, and can’t help but share the news with anyone and everyone who will listen, haha.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Start small, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

The Madness

What is your favorite book?
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Who is your favorite author?
Stephen King.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Lizbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because I respect her as a character and think she’d be a fascinating person to try and get to know.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Hand cramps.

What is your favorite word?

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Ellen Page

What’s in that cup on your desk?
Ice cubes… I really like ice cubes.

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
The lights of my old hometown out of a plane window.

Rain or Sunshine?

Beach or Mountains?

“No Thanks” or “I’ll have another”?
No thanks.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones

Additional Reading on Morgan

Personal website



Other places

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