Originally a screenwriter and independent filmmaker, author Greg Morgan turned his storytelling skills into long-form narrative fiction with his debut novel, Weeper. Weeper is the multigenerational story of the relationships between the members of two 19th century Appalachian families; the True’s, a family of “warners” (early funeral directors), and the Fenn’s, a family of “weepers” (paid mourners). Greg Morgan now continues the genre with Collodion, submerging a charming romance into the macabre world of the nineteenth century death industry; postmortem photography & embalming. Like Weeper, Collodion, is sure to captivate its readers till the very last page.
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Although I have a few modern day story ideas in me, I found my passion was mainly writing historical fiction novels. I have always loved history and enjoy taking a unique story or characters and placing them in historical times.
It was around 1993 and I was watching a short film from a film student. Its main character was a Sin Eater. I’d never heard of one, so I went to my library and found reference books on early American funeral & death rituals that fascinated me. I was writing screenplays at the time and thought of a story using characters from that time and the Appalachian area. I wrote “Weeper” the screenplay, but I knew it was too big of a story to put down in ninety screenplay pages after reading it myself. So, I shelved it and wrote the first sixty-five pages of the novel before becoming busy with other films and businesses. Before I knew it, twenty-five years had passed. In late 2018 I took it up again and researched further. This time I had the help of the internet and found far more information. I’ve always been a practicing, but unlicensed historian and my favorite historical times are the Victorina era and the American civil war. With Weeper I found there must be even more and have plotted out a three book companion series which I call the “Death Shall Have No Dominion” series. A few of the small side characters in Weeper will be the main heroes of the next book and the children from both books will be the main characters for the third and final story. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed talking to them in my head.
"Weeper" Available now on Amazon as is Collodion.
Prior to the American Civil War, photography and embalming the dead were newly invented arts and sciences.
On the autism spectrum, Osborn Roche is a well-respected battlefield and postmortem photographer during the civil war. He and his nephew Ray travel with the Union army photographing battlefields and creating portraits for the soldiers. When Osborn meets Lou, a young woman dressed as a man to work as an embalmer for the Union, He soon sees that she is also on the autism spectrum, and they quickly become friends. Lou works with her father, Henry. Common for the time, Henry believes his daughter should never marry or have children due to her condition. When their friendship blossoms into courtship, Lou’s father threatens to take her away. Osborn and Lou must travel west to seek a place where they should never be found in this quirky, funny, and sometimes dark, civil war era romance.
Tallgrass film festival
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Around 1995 I began by writing poetry. That grew into writing screenplays. I wrote so many screenplays, the first ones totally awful. I finally wrote 17 & Under with my wife, Jeanne. That was my first feature film.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The first draft in about four to six months. Completed in about eighteen months. I'm only on my second book so….
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write in the mornings. Sometimes I get up really early and go to bed early. But during the day I have to take care of business. Plus, I'm not as creative in the afternoons.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have conversations with characters in my head to get to know them better. (I'm crazy I know)
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I write historical fiction, so I do a ton of research. The research is what gives me additional ideas. I read something cool and think, "Yeah, my character will do that or say that!"
When did you write your first book?
I started Weeper around 1998 and wrote it as a screenplay. I turned that into a book and wrote the first 65 pages, but left it on the shelf for 20 years. I took it back up about a year and a half ago and finished it.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Hang out with friends and family, go to the gym and write. I love writing.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is very supportive. They love it and love to read it.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How I miss my characters after I finish. It's like breaking up with a girlfriend.
What do you think makes a good story?
Great characters, great dialogue, but all stories need a conflict. Conflict is everything.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Film director….and I became it.