19 Aug 2014

Interview with Behind the Glass author Kristen Morgen

Behind the Glass
Author: Kristen Morgen
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rebecca Jordan’s life is simple, disciplined and uncomplicated, at least on the surface. Then she meets a handsome stranger/secret admirer named Michael Vale one fateful late night at a bookstore cafĂ©. As a focused but struggling photographer with a passion for art, her outwardly happy world is turned upside down during this life-changing encounter when she quickly realizes she has met her soul mate. The undeniable attraction between them and their intense, immediate connection seem picture perfect as they discuss the shop’s local artwork, until Rebecca abruptly ends the chance meeting with no explanation.
Betraying Brett, her loyal, loving boyfriend is something she can never bring herself to do. Driven by a strong moral code and molded by divorced parents and a tumultuous childhood, she struggles to stay away from Michael, but fate and circumstance intervene, bringing them back together time and time again. As much as she resists, there is no denying her true feelings for him and the simple fact that Michael understands her in a way Brett never has. Michael proves to be everything she’s ever wanted, but remains just out of her reach.
Behind the Glass tells the story of Michael and Rebecca’s extraordinary love and the many unconventional stages their relationship must go through. Their morals and their faith in true love and in each other will be put to the test as they learn that meeting one’s soul mate does not come without obstacles.
Behind the Glass Amazon
Behind the Glass Goodreads

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Behind the Glass is basically the culmination of a lot of themes that have always intrigued me as a reader. Like many people, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of love at first sight. Is it real? Can it happen in real life? And if it does, do people really live happily ever after? It was definitely the main theme for the story, but as a lover of romance novels, that would have been way too easy. So, what if two people met, fell in love, and were without a doubt, meant to be with each other, but had all the odds constantly stacked against them? If it truly is love at first sight, then in the end, it has to be a love worth fighting for. I love stories that torture you a little bit and make you really root for the main characters throughout the course of the story. Characters with depth and complexity have always appealed to me as a reader and I wanted to bring that complexity to this story as a writer. Life is not simple, and neither is love. As Michael and Rebecca’s story evolves, it becomes more about the unbreakable connection between two people and about taking chances together, no matter what the odds.

What inspired you to write it?
When I began writing Behind the Glass, I did it for me. Plain and simple. With those first taps on the keyboard, I set out to write a love story that I wanted to read. I didn’t worry about what anyone else thought, only that I, as a reader, was satisfied with the end result. I had the general story outlined and knew exactly who my characters were, but it wasn’t until each chapter slowly evolved that I really understood what I wanted to say. Behind the Glass was definitely a labor of love and something I truly looked forward to escaping into day after day. The experience of this novel, and of any novel I write in the future for that matter, can be summed up in my favorite quote by Toni Morrison – “If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
The painting on the cover is actually a very integral element of the story. It’s introduced early on in chapter one and remains part of the love story throughout the book. I won’t say much more than that without giving the storyline away, but in my mind I always knew what the cover would be for this book. In reality, it’s one of my favorite works of art by an incredible artist named Bao Ke and it’s been hanging on the wall in my house for over ten years. I look at it every day when I write.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
It’s funny, now that my book is published and people are reading it, I get that question all the time. When I first came up with the characters in my head I really didn’t have actors in mind, but there have been several moments over the years where I’ll see an actor or actress in a movie or on TV and I’ll say, “That’s Michael!” or “That’s Rebecca!” So, for me, Rebecca could be played by an actress named Bridget Regan and Michael could be played by someone like Joe Manganiello (tall, dark and handsome!), but that’s just me. I’m sure everyone’s vision is different.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I love all genres of books and explore crimes, mysteries and thrillers all the time, but I always seem to come back to romance. It’s always been my absolute favorite guilty pleasure and deep down, I’m a true romantic at heart. I also knew that I was more capable of writing romance because I’ve always had such a passion for it. Storylines pop into my head at all times for future novels and so far, they are all romance!

What made you want to become an author?
The first time I realized how much I loved the act of writing was in high school. I was the kid who got excited when I saw essay questions on a test rather than multiple choice questions and most of my friends thought I was crazy! I absolutely loved and excelled in any English class I took throughout college and I found myself spending large amounts of time on writing assignments. My father is also a writer (more technical than creative) and he has been my writing coach my whole life. He always pushed me to be a better writer and could be quite tough on me at times (something I’m still thankful for). Although I pursued architecture throughout my life, I have always longed to write. So one day, I simply sat down and started writing Behind the Glass. My unyielding passion for writing has developed into seriously pursuing a second career as an author.

How do you come up with character names?
It depends. I have a crazy logic for it actually. Main characters, the people I spend the most time exploring, have to be names that I cannot associate with anyone I know in real life. It just makes it easier for me to write them with a completely clean slate. I usually wait until I hear a name I like and jot it down (I have a running list) or I may find a name in a book, on TV, in a movie, or on the internet. Secondary characters are sometimes named after someone I know in real life or are simply just names I like. I also think about nicknames too and if I like the shortened version of a name. Rebecca sometimes goes by ‘Bec’ (not Becky or Becca) by her close friends and I thought it was short and sweet. For Behind the Glass, the characters’ names were always Michael and Rebecca for some reason. It just fit when I pictured them in my mind.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
This is a hard one for me because I love so many books, but one that always stands out (and this is so clichĂ©) is Twilight. I read it long before anyone knew about it and I looked up the author after I read the series. I had wanted to write a book for so long and had so many ideas in my head, that when I read Stephenie Meyer’s bio and her back story of writing those books, it was the kick in the ass I needed to get started. I never would have predicted it, but Twilight just holds a special place in my heart.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I get inspiration from so many different places, but a lot of my characters are in some way at least, based on elements of different people I’ve known throughout my life. If I see strengths or weaknesses in people in real life or situations, I try to learn from it and apply it in some way with my writing. I also will sometimes read a character in a book or connect with one in a movie and it will give me ideas for characters in my own books.

Where is your favourite place to write?
For the most part, I write at my desk in my office at a computer with a beautiful view to outside. And I definitely tend to write faster and more fluidly if I type. But I also find that sometimes a change of setting and method will help me if I’m ever struggling with a scene. I’ll sometimes take a pen and pad to my leather chair in another room and write long hand until I get the flow back into my writing. It’s kind of a mental re-start and it always helps.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
The first one that comes to mind is The Help. The book was absolutely brilliant and I thought the movie captured a lot of what I was expecting in my own mind in both setting and characters. And Emma Stone is one of my all time favorite actresses, who did an amazing job with such a great character.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Back before I even entertained the thought of becoming an author, I loved reading (and learning from) John Grisham. I think I’ve read every book he’s ever written. He’s an amazing story teller. Once I began my path as an author, I became a Nicholas Sparks fan, not only because he write romance novels, but because he has such a great ability to create very distinct characters in his writing. There are about a dozen more authors I could name, but I try to learn from all of them.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
From the past … Harper Lee would be one for sure. To Kill A Mockingbird left such an impression on me when I was younger. From the present … I would love to have a conversation with Veronica Roth. She’s from Chicago (my parents’ home town and where I was born) and I find her storyline ideas and the worlds she creates completely original and fascinating.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m educated and trained as a licensed architect, and I own my architectural firm. I’m not happy unless I’m creating something, whether it’s floor plans for a new house or writing a new love story, as long as I’m exercising the creative side of my brain in some way.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Well, my life isn’t really exciting enough for a movie, but if I had to choose, I’d say Sandra Bullock. I love her on-screen and off.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I live in Connecticut, which I love because it’s in New England. We have the most beautiful seasons here, especially autumn when the leaves turn the most amazing colors; it’s simply breathtaking at times.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m starting the next book as we speak! I have the story mostly figured out in my mind and I’ve outlined the first eight chapters so I can at least give you the basics of the next novel on the horizon. The story focuses on Charlotte, an outgoing, confident young woman who owns a gift shop and feels like she’s finally got her life figured out. After switching majors a few times in college and graduating with absolutely no clue what she wanted to do in life, she suddenly inherits the shop from her aunt and puts her heart and soul into it. Life is good. She has a great family, friends, a new boyfriend and her best friend, Addie, whom she’s known since second grade. Addie’s older brother, Logan, who is six years her senior, is home for a rare visit from Chicago. Logan has done his best to stay far away from his family over the years, starting his own construction business and steering clear of his millionaire father’s plans for his life and career. A casual reunion for lunch with his sister and her best friend Charley, who he remembers as a barely noticeable tomboy when they were growing up, completely throws Logan for a loop when he reacquaints himself with the now grown up and stunningly beautiful Charlotte. There’s more, but that at least gives you a taste…

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.I would love to travel to Australia. I’ve had a fascination with it since childhood and I’m determined to vacation there one day.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I’ve always loved The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, not only because of its popularity from the movie Frozen (which was wonderful), but also because I’m half Danish and it holds a special place in my heart.

Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
I was always pretty happy being me, but I knew from a very young age that I wanted to create things in some way. I’ve always loved art, drawing, photography, design, literature, and writing so I was determined to use my imagination to create beautiful things.

Kristen Morgen, an up and coming new adult contemporary romance author, can’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t crave designing, creating, discovering, and using her imagination in some way. Educated and trained as a licensed architect and working at her own architectural firm for many years, her true passion has always been writing. An avid reader from a very early age, the romance genre is admittedly her favorite guilty pleasure - a hopeless romantic to the end.
Kristen loves the art of shaping words and sentences into relatable stories while creating rich characters for her readers to connect with. She enjoys exploring relationships and discovering the little reasons people fall in love with each other while uncovering deeper truths. Honing her craft in her free time and choosing exactly the type of story she wanted to tell, Kristen presents Behind the Glass as her debut novel.
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she currently resides in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. Never one to let her creative mind sit idle for very long, in her free time she is currently hard at work on her next novel and reads almost anything she can get her hands on.

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