Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Dan Morales whose book Operation Archangel charmed as well as captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love historical ficton or the military but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Dan Morales, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Dan Morales will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Dan Morales!
Dan Morales is a writer who lives and works in Chicago. A graduate of Columbia College, his marketing and advertising degree has served him well at agencies large and small. His copywriting has won accolades as well as awards including an Effie and FAB Award. He is a member of the Chicago Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors. The Scouts of St.Michael OPERATION ARCHANGEL is his first novel.
Now, how wonderful does Dan Morales sound?! Dan Morales is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Dan Morales’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Dan Morales, I hope that you enjoy Dan Morales answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
Aimee, thank you so kindly for hosting me. The synapsis of my new novel, The Scouts of St. Michael OPERATION ARCHANGEL follows.
‘Summer. 1940. England is being ravaged by war. Banned from their local boy scout troop for being orphans the six 11- through 16-year-old residents of St Michael’s Home for Boys press on and form their own troop to do their bit for the home front.
After performing a conspicuous act of bravery under fire they attract the attention of Boy Scouts founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, even King George VI – as well as leaders of the newly formed branch of British Intelligence, the Special Operations Executive. A situation has arisen that demands immediate action.
According to reports from the field, a unit of the Hitler Youth has gone rogue and is committing brutal atrocities against locals living in occupied territories, led by one 15-year-old Thomas Peter Heydrich, a.k.a. ‘the Nazi Prince’, nephew of SS Chief Reinhard Heydrich, and a favorite of Adolf Hitler himself. A group of brave boy scouts just might be what the situation requires … if they are ready to answer the King’s call.
The Scouts of St. Michael OPERATION ARCHANGEL is an exciting new historical fiction action adventure by Dan Morales.’
I’ve always been intrigued by World War II and true war stories, and love to read the memoirs of veterans. I read an article about a gentleman who was a young Boy Scout in England during WWII. Part of his duty was to deliver coded messages between Home Guard instillations on his roller skates, and he became so vital to their operation that the MOD actually supplied him with replacement wheels when his wore out. It’s a great story on its own. He inspired one of my main characters ‘Willy’ who loves spending time on his roller skates.
After further research, I became fascinated by the often-daring acts of the Boy Scouts all over England during World War II. I thought back to my own scouting experience, which, I’m sorry to say, falls far short in comparison to what this gentleman and many of his young peers, both male and female, did for their country when she needed them most. I started to think about what might be the ultimate boy scout WWII adventure story, and like a bolt of lightning it hit me: Boy Scouts vs. Hitler Youth. I had never heard of story that pitted the two alike, yet so drastically different groups against each other. I set out to write the Boy Scout adventure that I would have liked to have had. OP. ARCHANGEL was the outcome.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Write. Then write some more. Then write some more. Keep writing and keep reading. You need to fill your brain so that everything you stuff up there gets all mixed together and re-jiggered and your creative mind’s eye can have a vision that turns into a story. I wouldn’t have my book today if I hadn’t read that small bit about that roller-skating boy scout that inspired me in the first place. Write for yourself and to one person sitting across from you–your reader. Ann Rice has one rule and it’s a great one: there are no rules.
You can’t drink from an empty pool, so fill it. Do your research. And write. J.K. says you have to resolve that you are going to write a lot of rubbish, there’s nothing you can do but write it out of your system, so get at it. The sooner you get it out, the sooner you’ll be on to a place where the good stuff is.
And as Winston Churchill reminded us, never, ever give up. Always believe that you are going to make it as a writer and resolve that you’re in it for the long haul. It’s not easy and can be disappointing, that’s just the truth. But it can also be very satisfying, that is also the truth. Enjoy the small victories, like a random 5-star review from someone you don’t know.
Being a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient. Don’t get discouraged. All great books have one thing in common–they were written a single word at a time. You can do it.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
That is a very interesting question. I would have answered much differently before I went through the process of writing and publishing a book. Before I would have said ‘it has to have a good plot, and it has to hold my interest, and it has to be a page turner that I can’t put down.’
But since I’ve gone through the process, the years of work, the dark hours spent questioning my own talent, and at times, my very sanity, the hundreds of small decisions I’ve made, the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on it (professional editors aren’t cheap), all the business of marketing and how much ‘business’ there is in ‘the business.’ It’s kind of disheartening. It’s a lot of work to write a book and even more work to try and sell that book.
That might sound kind of sad, but it’s not, really, because even with all that said, there’s a feeling like no other when you finally hold your book in your hand, with your name printed across the cover, your story filling every page in between. To finally hold it is a deeply moving experience. It seems like a dream come true, because it is. It feels like magic. That is the most important thing about a book. The magic of it.
What is your writing process like?
I’ve never really thought of my writing having a process to it. I read a lot and when I’m not reading I’m over/under thinking and researching. Much of my writing starts with research, which leads to ideas, which lead to the need for more research, and down the rabbit hole I disappear, until I hopefully make my way back out to get some writing done. It’s kind of like osmosis for me. I put a bunch of stuff in my head through research and reading, I sleep on it for a few days, and if I’m lucky, something gels in my head and becomes parts or scenes that I can start forming into a cohesive story. I don’t necessarily write the story from start to finish. I write what I think good scenes are, and figure out how to tie them together.
Notes. I take a copious number of notes on almost anything, settings, characters, timing, places. I use a writing program that allows me to keep a folder of notes, all of when help inform the story or help with character development. I feel like I have more of a schedule than a process, if that makes sense at all. Which it doesn’t. Sigh.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
I write when I feel inspired, but I only feel inspired from time to time, depending on where my head is at. My writing ‘time’ is usually early in the mornings, like really early, 4:00 am is not uncommon. There’s something special about the hours before the sun comes up, when my mind is still relaxed from a night of sleep and my day has yet to start. I try to get in at least a couple hours of work in, even if I don’t accomplish anything other than research. I have a full-time job as a copywriter so I have to work on my fiction when I can get it in. Most of OPERATION ARCHANGEL was written in the dark (ha!), literally and figuratively.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I’ve always read Stephen King, and James Patterson*, I’ve recently discovered George R.R. Martin, and of course, J.K. Rowling. I’ve loved watching her talent evolve as her series grows. History books are fantastic. I love WWII books, lots of non-fiction history. I have many favorites, but in terms of books, I would say anything that makes me have to get to the next page or think I’m going to die ranks with me.
*I took James Patterson’s online MasterClass in which he teaches students how to write a novel from start to finish. It helped my novel immensely. I highly recommend it for every would-be writer. Disclaimer: no, I do not work for MasterClass or James Patterson (I wish I did), I’m just a very satisfied student and want to pass on a great reference IMHO for fellow writers.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I am currently writing the next novel in the series with the working title of The Scouts of St. Michael ON UNHOLY GROUND. It’s the continuation of the tale from where book I leaves off. I’m about a third of the way through it now, so hopefully within a few months I can get draft one finished.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Dan Morales! If you have liked what you have read about Dan Morales and are interested in learning more about Dan Morales and reading Dan Morales’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,