By Jason Harris
“I wrote poems in Spanish, mostly, and never thought I was any good. I got busy building a career in medicine and forgot about writing for 15 years. After some insistence from my husband, I started writing fiction 4 years ago, and I’ve never been happier.”
Since she started writing fiction, Morales has published a horror novella, Perpetual Night, which has been described as YA even though the subject matter may be a bit dark. She has also written, “Francis,” a short story published in the horror anthology, Isolation. Her most recent published work, “Broken Promises,” appears this month in Heater magazine. It’s her first endeavor into crime/mystery writing, which she finds exciting.
Morales’ not resting on her laurels, but instead is working on two short stories at the moment. The first one, “Tamam Shud,” is a noir mystery scheduled to be part of the anthology, Lucky 13, which will be published by Padwolf Publishing. It’s about an old man who becomes disenchanted with life after the death of his wife, and his kids pay the price.
There is an unnamed horror story Morales is working on for a themed anthology that she won’t name so as not to jinx it, she said.
She is also working on a paranormal mystery, Deliverance. “I’ve been working on it for some time now, but it is still far from completed, thanks to my recent commitments to write other pieces.”
Morales is grateful for the commitments, even though they have kept her from working on her mystery.
She does have a few habits when she starts writing.
“I usually sit at my desk in my office about 10 or 11 a.m., I answer emails and play—I mean, promote—on Facebook for about an hour, and from then on, I’m a mean writing machine.”
She stops around 3 or 4 p.m. so she can go pick up her girls from school. She tries to stick with this schedule because she finds that without specific goals she’s less productive. The use of sticky notes reminds her of these goals, she said.
Morales belongs to a critique group and must post at least 1500 words every Sunday, which is what keeps her “ass in line” and “very productive.”
“Deadlines are gold for me.”
The best advice she has received covers writing and editing.
“Don’t edit while you write or you’ll never move forward. When you write, write. When you edit, edit. I don’t remember where I read that but it speaks to the quintessential need of a writer. We want our words to be gold from the moment we set them on paper. If the sentence is not perfect, if the feeling is absent, if the atmosphere is not exactly what we envision, we don’t move forward. We tend to correct ourselves every second, but the truth is that all first manuscripts are shit.”
She doesn’t use the word “shit” for shock value, but that first manuscripts are that, Morales said. “This is why writers edit and edit.”
As writers should, Morales reads whenever she isn’t writing or taking care of her family.
“I read a lot of horror and try to read at least a couple of new or modern voices in the genre every other month.”
For the last year, she’s been focusing on the true classics of horror, but not Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley. She’s been reading Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Daphne Du Maurier, Algernon Blackwood, and Thomas Ligotti.
Morales hates procedurals and isn’t quite a fantasy girl, but is trying the Harry Potter series. She isn’t above the Twilight books, but not the movies, she said.
“I grew up reading Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, so you will see a lot of their influence in my stories. However, I love Latin American literature. I strive to achieve a personal style similar to the poetic prose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or the bluntness of Paz, the yearning of Federica Garcia Lorca. All of these great voices have formed me, and that is why my style is different from other horror writers. Or at least, it will be; one never stops to improve.”
Here is Heater magazine’s Facebook page.