Join me today in welcoming our first micro- and short-fiction author to Author Snapshot!
Morgan Bell is the author of a collection entitled Sniggerless Boundulations.
RH: Morgan Bell, thanks for stopping by Author Snapshot for a chat. Congratulations on the publication of your debut short story collection, Sniggerless Boundulations! As our first micro- and short fiction author, tell us a little about your collection of stories and how they came about.
MB: Hi Rowena, I’m really excited to be doing an Author Snapshot. Strangely enough I often refer to Sniggerless Boundulations as a little snapshot of my mind, my stories are a string of impressionistic vignettes that form a larger narrative about mental illness in everyday life. The stories were written over a period of three years, mostly as flash fiction in my local writers group, with some as short story competition entries. I am a bit of a hoarder, rarely throw anything away, but have no real system for storing things, so I would write on scrap pieces of paper and then they would get organically filed in the layers of stratification of my paper piles, never to be seen again. As fate would have it, my day job was made redundant and I had to move houses. In the moving process I brutally culled my piles of useless papers, putting anything crucial aside: a few group certificates, my cat registration papers, a friend contact list from back when phone numbers only had six digits, and any creative writing pieces. From amongst the rubble emerged the contents of Sniggerless Boundulations. Once they were in a group I could see the recurring themes: fear, anxiety, jealousy, time, aging. It was a moment of clarity, so I just had to publish it.
About Sniggerless Boundulations
Debut collection of short stories by indie Australian author Morgan Bell. A cross-section between dreams and reality. An examination of the horrors of life, with plenty of peering, in the form of vignettes, micro fiction, flash fiction, and short stories.
Themes include fear, time, aging, anxiety, and jealousy.
This collection of fifteen stories contains bizarre medical conditions, industrious creatures, conniving cops, killers, dead bodies, a rescue mission, homoeroticism, nonchalant students, a secret garden, and the road to hell.
Excerpt from Tiptoe Through The Tulips
“Her eyes were itching and beginning to water, she pawed at them with the backs of her hands until they went red. A mosquito buzzed in her ear, she trod on a bee, and a single line of tiny black ants curled up around her flamingo shin. She began limping, her foot swollen, shaking the other leg like a cat who had stepped on sticky tape.”
Excerpt from Telfer Speck
“The tune was the call of his love, a tune only he and she knew. But it was different, peppered with some menacing mannerist malice. Constable Skillion swaggered out from the scrub with a shovel slung over his shoulder, tobacco smoke unfurling. He spied Telfer lingering over the dirt mound and stopped his whistling. Telfer snapped to face the silence.”
RH: Share with us a little about your road to publication—why you decided to go the Indie route and some of the lessons you learned along the way.
MB: I initially self-published because I had been curious to try it and it seemed like a fun learning activity. The process led me to refining and polishing my work and putting a lot of thought into presentation. I just wanted the collection for me, and the self-publishing process gave me a tangible goal and a format and other tools to shape and deliver the work. But when it was finished I was just so proud of it, I couldn’t help but show it off and share it around, it’s like my little baby, I sometimes refer to the collection as “baby snigs”.
I have learnt a lot about marketing, and I still have much more to learn.
A few tips:
- Use Goodreads giveaways https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/new
- Use Calibre Ebook file converter (free, requires download) http://calibre-ebook.com/download
- To get reviews you need to have hard copies and electronic copies (in various formats) ready to go, so order a box of your books and make some review copies/ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) using Calibre
- Participate in local writers festivals and events, volunteer, ask the festival/event bookshop if they will stock your book on a consignment agreement (ie they only pay you after they sell)
- Make a website, twitter, facebook page, blog etc and link them all together with fresh links regularly
- Spend a bit of time writing your book’s blurb, author bio, one page promotional leaflet, bookmark, press release, promotional tweets, brief excerpts etc – if you give people information in a ready-to-go format they will share it around more readily
RH: What advice would you give others wanting to publish a collection of short stories?
MB: Read some other single-author collections to see how the stories are arranged. I find a short story collection to be a bit like the old “mixed tape” or the modern iPod playlist, there is an art in the order. If your stories have an evolving theme they can be like a concept album.
Keep submitting your individual stories to competitions and anthologies, a short story gets more cred the more it is published and lends to the prestige of your collection.
It is your prerogative to publish a story one way, make changes, and publish it another way. The same bones of a story may have different meanings or messages in different context. Some writers might be afraid of wasting a good idea on a short story, but you are the artist, you can rework it into as many iterations if you like. If Nobel Prize-winner for literature Alice Munro can do it, so can you. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Munro)
That is great advice Morgan. Thank you! I hope you are ready for your …
RH: What is your all-time favourite book/movie?
MB: book – The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter; film – Locke (2013) and Adaptation (2002) and A Serious Man (2009) (that might seem like I cheated by picking three, but I’m a huge movie buff so it was really me exhibiting restraint by choosing less than fifty lol)
RH: What are you reading now?
MB: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
RH: What is your favourite word?
RH: What is your worst writing habit?
MB: disorganisation (as a subconscious form of procrastination) ie I have a small window of time where I can get some writing done and I spend all my time searching for previous notes or the right notebook or which computer the file is saved on, I am my own saboteur
RH: What is the best bit of advice you ever got (about writing or life in general)?
MB: “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” Benjamin Franklin – or to expand further, ask people for help with small things as it is an opportunity for you to display your gratitude and develop loyalty for the time where a big favour may need to be asked.
RH: So what’s next for Morgan Bell? Will we see another collection?
MB: I have another flash fiction collection due out at the end of the year. I am starting to see the Xmas decorations being put out in shops, so I had better get cracking. The next collection is called Laissez Faire and I have completed the cover art, just wrapping up the content.
RH: You are a talented woman! Thanks for joining us today, Morgan. Where can we find Sniggerless Boundulations?
MB: Thanks for having me, and thanks for supporting independent Australian writing, I love your blog! Also good luck with your new novel Pieces of a Lie.
RH: Thanks Morgan! All the best with your collections.
MB: Sniggerless Boundulations is available on Amazon in ebook and in paperback format.Buy the book
Morgan Bell is a young Australian woman, born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1981. She currently lives in Sydney and works in Local Government as an engineer, but calls Newcastle home. Bell is university educated in engineering, technical communications, linguistics, and literature. She is a member of Hunter Writers Centre, Newcastle Writers Group, and Newcastle Speculative Fiction Group. Her short story “It Had To Be Done” was first published in the Newcastle Writers Group Anthology 2012, and her short story “Midnight Daisy” was published by YWCA Newcastle in 2013 as part of the She: True Stories project, being awarded a Story Commendation at the exhibit launch, and with live readings on ABC 1233 in February 2014 and Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2014. Bell contributed a short story to Novascapes, the 2014 Hunter Speculative Fiction Anthology, called “The Switch” which is based on Germanic folklore, alongside award-winning authors such as Margo Lanagan and Kirstyn McDermott. Her short story “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”, an anti-travel piece, was shortlisted for the Hunter Writer’s Centre Travel Writing Prize 2014.
Find out more about Morgan and her writing at sniggerlessboundulations.webs.com
Follow her on Twitter: @queenboxi or connect on Facebook