I'm Nikki Morgan, author of Everlong, a young adult, paranormal romance novel, and Blackthorn: Revenge of the Dragon Rider, a dark dystopian fantasy. Although I'm now listed as a fantasy writer, I find it's the idea that comes first and the genre follows after because, to borrow the words of Carlos Fuentes, "I'm a writer, not a genre".
I want to share with you how Everlong began because it isn't just a novel about two strangers, it's also about who I am as a person and a writer.
I write because I have to.
Writing is a therapy of sorts: a cure for the madness that is my mind. If I didn't purge the chaos from inside of me by spewing it all out over that blank page, I would definitely go mad. My writing is about connecting with you, about telling you how I feel in the hope that you might have felt the same way, or at least understand. It gives me a voice, a place to explore my neuroses in the hope that I'm not on my own. Disguised within the layers of characters and plot, you will find me.
Ideas come to me all of the time, occasionally in dreams, sometimes as images in my head, just snatches of stories that I have to capture before they vanish, almost like catching butterflies in a net. Ideas do flutter away, but then, I like to think they were never destined for this life anyway, or at least not yet. Maybe they'll come back, when it's their time...
Other ideas and concepts, such as Everlong, are so strong that I cannot ignore them. I'm compelled to write them down and nurture them, even if I'm in the middle of writing something else. That's how Everlong began, even though I was still writing Blackthorn: Revenge of the Dragon Rider. Whilst listening to the Kasabian track, West Ryder Silver Bullet, an image popped into my head; of a girl and a boy, sitting high up on a hillside watching the sunrise. I could hear the conversation they were having in my head. The next track came on - Born to Die by Lana del Rey - and the reality of my characters, their truth, became cemented in my mind and were as real to me as my own reality. They had come to life.
I knew straight away that the guy sitting on the hillside was an Angel of Death and he was sacrificing his life in return for that of the girl. What would make an Angel of Death do that? What would force him to go against everything he stood for? It had to be something so fierce and potent, a love so pure and passionate that he would willingly lose his life for it.
Immediately I drew a comparison with the Little Mermaid fairy tale, as the mermaid gave up her voice - and her life for her Prince - in Everlong, the Angel of Death, Josh Winters, gives up his life for love.
I have never been satisfied with the ending of The Little Mermaid (especially the Disney version), even though I absolutely adore the rest of it. For a sacrifice as colossal as life itself, surely there should be some pay off for the mermaid, other than being turned into a "Daughter of the Air"? Her reward surely had to be as great, if not greater, than the ultimate sacrifice of losing her life? The Little Mermaid didn't even win the love of her Prince. She doesn't even have a name!
I didn't want Everlong to be like that. It had to be different from your typical damsel-in-distress novels. I'm a huge fan of The Bloody Chambers, by Angela Carter, a collection of stories based on folk and fairy tales which challenge the traditional way in which women are portrayed. I decided from the start that this is the approach I wanted to take with Everlong. I wanted to play around with gender stereotyping.
And that's how Everlong began life. After a lot of research, character developing, and plot building (plus copious amounts of coffee) I have book one completed and published. I have started writing book two and I'm even plotting book three! It never ceases to amaze me how much can arise from a few seconds of inspiration, or how quickly a small idea can turn into three books.
You can read more about Nikki Morgan and how she published Everlong in her author interview and purchase her novel through Amazon. Check out my review of Everlong by clicking here.