Violet Morley is the author of four fabulous Sapphic novels, both historical and modern. She also has a cat called Pigeon (isn’t that adorable?) and is a huge Gentleman Jack fan… which means, in my book, she and I are automatically friends for life. (Not sure if she knows it yet.) On top of that, of course, she’s a tremendously talented writer – I reviewed her debut novel, Sprinkled In The Stars, in my last newsletter, which you can read by signing up here – and has a great sense of humour, which you can see in this interview!
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
Hello, I'm Violet. I grew up in a small town in Alaska but currently live in Washington state with my wife, cat and dog - who don't get along. (The cat and dog, not my wife). I've written four sapphic books. Most of them are contemporary romance with one venturing into historical fiction. And for work I am in medical IT (insanely boring).
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
My writing journey all started with the T.V. show Gentleman Jack. I'd not be exaggerating in saying this show changed my life. I became OBSESSED with it and Anne Lister. Needing to know everything about her, I started with the diaries. Although, to be honest, I couldn't get into them, so I found the book about the show and was wildly entertained. Then my wife, who saw me reading books about our community, got the idea to get me my first stack of sapphic books, and I'm pretty sure she looks back on that day as one she lost her wife to novels for a year. Now at this point (if you've made it this far), you might be wondering what this has to do with writing, and I'm getting there, I promise. Around this time, Covid hit, eliminating a two-hour commute, and a few authors followed me on Instagram, where I made friends with someone who needed a beta reader. Well, after doing that, was when I finally started to sit down and write. I still want to release that first book, but I'm holding off since it's a little more on the speculative fiction side. I then went directly into writing Sprinkled; not even sure if I'd publish it, I just liked the process. Looking back, I wonder if I'd even have started writing if one of these steps hadn't happened.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Interesting question. I usually try and start with jobs and a vague idea of a story. It has to be a story I'm really interested in, or find myself getting distracted by the smallest noise or shiny post on social media. Through trial and error have found that I really need an outline to keep me on track. Sometimes I can't think of something concrete, and just have to start writing which is helpful when I've got a block going. This can make the re-writing process a bit of a pain, but it also can open the story up.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
I think I relate the most to Melanie from Sprinkled in the Stars and Cam from Under the Sitka Sky. Both these characters are a little more reserved but the main thing is Mel is autistic which I identify with and Cam is demisexual. I'm not demi, but am on the ace spectrum, so can understand some of what they went through in their story arcs. As an honorable mention I'll also add Lila from the Bigger Picture who developed Bell's Palsy, which was something I had as a kid.
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
I was a wreck a few times writing Promises in Pompeii. I think I gave that book my all, and some of the scenes were really hard to write. It was set in Ancient Rome and women and kids had life the hardest, and I wanted to balance the trials and hope.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
Yes, (surprisingly to me) several people do. I'm from a small town and a lot of the people there know I've written books and have read them. Obviously I still have imposters syndrome because it boggles my mind that anyone would read one of my books.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
Oof I'm not great with names/actors, but let me do some googling. Okay Under the Sitka Sky: Cam I could see being played by Stephanie Beatriz, Skyler probably Kate McKinnon. Not only do I think she could capture the wholesome/fun energy of Sky, but also it would be amazing to meet her on set, (assuming I could be there 😄).
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
I read. There is always a book in my hand (to be fair it's my phone, but it usually has the Kindle app open). My wife is insisting I add that I read several books at a time, and that (outside of my phone) I carry around at least 3 or 4 books with me all over the house. They are my emotional support books.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
Jae said to write at least five contemporary books before venturing out into other genres. I was scared of pigeonholing myself into one thing since I have a lot of ideas that are outside the contemporary storyline, but she suggested getting a base of readers through contemporary first. It has proven very helpful and wise, as I did venture out into historical fiction and saw my sales dip quite a lot, so back to minding Jae's advise I go!!
How about in general life?
My wife actually said something life changing to me once, and it might seem kind of mean, but I promise it's not. She said, other people aren't thinking about you, so stop worrying about what they might be thinking so much. For a little background, I was in a deep depression and filled with anxiety, and the words really helped me let go a little, and start focusing on ideas to start healing myself.
What is a motto you live by?
Hmm I think probably no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
How can people connect with you?
Depends on what you like If you want to reach out and chat: Email: Violetmorleybooks@gmail.com If you want to view books both free and available to buy: Website: Violetmorley.com If you want random photo's of either my dog or books? Instagram: Violetmorleyauthor If you want random views and funny quips of either writing or my wife? Facebook: Violet Morley If random thoughts, meme's, or updates on books is your jam: Twitter: @morleyauthor if you want random videos as I try to figure out what I'm doing? TikTok: @violetmorleyauthor
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
Lol, sandwiches are my first love. I probably would be something like a club. I have layers depending on how well you know me, but also pretty dependable and classic. A good go-to no matter where you're dining, but also nothing fancy.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!