Author Interview with M. Declan Morris

M. Declan Morris is the author of the Afterlife Quest novels. Fantasy books where your favorite characters are already dead! No need to lose sleep fretting about when the author will kill them off.

Declan has a passion for helping people and a heart for people who are struggling with mental wellness.

Before he started writing novels, he earned a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership which is where he picked up his love of psychological safety and wellness in the workplace. This naturally broadened into all facets of mental wellness outside of the office and sparked his passion.

Declan’s novels have an undercurrent of helping people process their trauma and know that they are not alone. As an example, the Theodore Saga in the Afterlife Quest series of novels will each cover one of the stages of grief.

His best advice, besides have fun reading his books, is to always know that there is help available and you don’t have to go it alone.

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had an idea to write a series of fantasy novels where each book in the series was based on one of the stages of grief. I have a passion for people’s mental wellness and I think that easy-to-read stories with ways to help process grief and trauma might help people.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I had never attempted writing fiction before, but over the last year, I have fallen in love with writing fiction. My creativity really has an outlet and anything can happen.

What motivates you to write?

I want to continue writing because I love people and if one of my books can help even one person through a tough time, it was all worth it.

What writing are you most proud of?

I absolutely love my first two novels, but I am really proud of the third novel in the Theodore Saga. He is on a pirate ship and battling pirates almost the whole book and I have had a lot of fun and made myself laugh a few times while writing it.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Probably of how much my young kids care for others. They don’t just say they care, they show that they care with their actions.

What books did you love growing up?

I have always loved reading about psychology, philosophy, and history as far back as I can remember.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

I just want people to know how much I loved them.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Indiana and Arizona. My family moved around quite a lot. I now live in Idaho and plan on staying here until I die.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Marketing is the most difficult for me. The other two were easy by comparison.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

Everyone has been very supportive. I think it is because they know I am trying to help people who are struggling.

What else do you do, other than write?

I am the Administrator of a retirement village in Boise, Idaho and I love work. I get to help people all day long and it never gets old.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

If I could go back and do it all over again I think I would’ve studied psychology from the start. I love helping people and mental wellness is at an all-time low because of the pandemic

Tell us about your family?

I have been married for over sixteen years and have three kids ranging in age from eight to thirteen.

How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Pretty much all laptop, but all of my outlines are handwritten.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

If my work can help even one person work through some form of trauma or grief, or helps their mental wellness at all, it has been a success.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

The Stain of Guilt is the second book in my Theodore Saga. The main character dies in the first book and processes through the denial stage of grief while going on a fantasy adventure. This second book continues the story as he deals with the guilt of leaving his new bride behind. I wrote it because I still have stages of grief for him to process and because I think a great number of people are dealing with grief right now.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I hope people feel encouraged that they can process their trauma and grief and I hope they understand that someone cares about them. I never want anyone to feel alone in their struggle and I think connecting with a main character that is also working through things could be helpful.

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