Hey guys! It’s release day!! Hooray!! The Promised One is officially available for purchase wherever books are sold. Oh man, I am FREAKING OUT!!! I wanted to share with you an article from Ampersand Write, a writing community I am a part of. It was so much fun to answer these questions and I am thrilled to share with you just a little insight into the making of The Promised One.
Original article by Kristen Aitken, Ampersand Write
Every once in a while, a story comes along that grabs you by the shirt collar and sweeps you off your feet until the last page turns. One such book for me is The Promised One by Morgan G. Farris. Having known Morgan for many years, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of what she had poured her heart and soul into creating… And, of course, to pick her brain about it for your benefit! Following is a behind-the-scenes look at what became this beautiful, charming, magical tale that is available now for purchase.
Tell us about your book!
Wow, okay doesn’t every author hate having to sum up their story into a few sentences? Ha! My book is called The Promised One and it is the first book in a series I’ve lovingly (and painstakingly) named The Chalam Færytales. (Chalam is the Hebrew transliteration for dream. In the book, you learn of the chalam tree, which has the legend that when two people share of its fruits, they share of the same destiny.) The book follows the stories of Elizabeth and Ferryl, my two main characters, and their journey of finding their way back to each other after being separated by magic, a wicked queen, and a destiny they don’t know that awaits them. They’ve known each other their whole lives, and fallen in love over those years, so that when the story kicks off, you’re not watching a couple fall in love, you’re watching a couple who is already in love figure out what went wrong. It’s a fantasy, so there are mythical creatures and spells and curses and all that jazz. But at the end of the day, I wanted to tell a little bit different kind of love story—the story of what happens after that first kiss.
What gave you the idea for your work?
I think there is one glaring way that art fails to adequately reflect life: love stories. In books and movies, most of the time the best part of the relationship revolves around that first kiss—or that first time the couple finally admits their feelings to one another (however that pans out). But in life, I think we forget that the kiss is only the beginning, and that love is something that is forged over time, not discovered in a moment of passion. I really wanted to read a book about that, but they’re few and far between. Like the adage says, write a book you want to read. So I did. And somewhere in the churning and mulling over of these ideas of love, these characters, this world, and this concept was born. And because I’m a nerd, of course that concept was a fantasy.
What is your favorite character in your work and why?
My favorite character in my book is probably Commander Titus. He’s not a huge part of the story in the beginning, but I introduced him in book one because in books two and three, he becomes paramount to the story (and he doesn’t even know it). But you’ll see even in book one that Titus is a conflicted man. He doesn’t know what he wants, he doesn’t really even know where he stands. He’s fiercely loyal, even to his own detriment, but his main flaw is that he cannot see the good within himself. I love him because I think Titus is a little bit of all of us. He is darkness and he is light and some days he gives in to one of those more than the other. But he wants to be good. He wants to do right. He just can’t quite figure out how in his circumstances.
What is one aspect of your current work that sets it apart from other books/stories?
It was really important to me from the beginning that this story feel real, even though it is set in a fantasy world. I wanted the characters to be relatable, to be people we could see ourselves through. On the other hand, my books are an allegory of the story of the Biblical Messiah. I wanted to convey the magic of that story without preaching and I wanted to paint real people without white-washing them the way Christian literature often does. So the characters are messy. They fail. They have foul mouths (God forbid!). They hurt each other—purposely and accidentally. They hurt themselves. If you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you know there is nothing G-rated about it. I wanted to make sure that my story held true to that. That is why I haven’t marketed it as Christian literature, but also haven’t shied away from saying what it is—a reimagining of the greatest story ever told. It’s a niche genre with an unconventional angle, and from the moment the story began to unfold, I knew I was writing something a bit risky. But I also knew I was supposed to write it, so here we are. I’m genuinely curious to see what people think, to be honest.
Do you recall how old you were and/ or what happened to spark your interest in reading?
I am what you call a victim of the school reading system. In other words: school ruined me for reading. All those AR points turned reading into a burden for me from a young age (a mistake our schools are making that I am quite passionate about, to be honest.) But I did have a few exceptions to that rule that I fell in love with from an early age. Little Women, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and The Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few. But it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties and met my husband that I learned to crave reading and, funny enough, it was his love for Harry Potter that turned me into a bookworm. So yes, I am one of those millions of people who say that Harry Potter ignited their passion for reading. And yes, I was an adult when that happened.
What is your favorite book and why?
I could no sooner pick a favorite book than I could pick a favorite star in the sky. But I do have some go-tos that I can’t seem to quit reading. Foremost, I am a hardcore forever fan of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I have read that book too many times to count and I still ugly cry every time. I am also a super nerd for the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. She is just… a stupid brilliant writer and if I could channel even an iota of her voodoo magic, I would.
When did you start writing? And what about that gave you the desire to write?
I started writing when I was nine years old. It manifested in the form of songs for about twenty years and over that time, I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of them. I always loved writing papers in school and in college, but I never considered myself a writer, per se. It wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that I began penning novels. To date, I have written seven novels, but The Promised One is the first one to be published.
What are your main influences (writing-related or otherwise)?
I am heavily influenced by music. I’m a musician, so it’s in my blood. For most of the scenes in my books, I have a song to which I attribute the moment. (For those curious, you can find my Apple Music playlist of those songs here.)
If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would you meet and why? What would you ask them?
C.S. Lewis. Hands down. He and I are kindred spirits in so many ways. He was a skeptic at heart. He never took things at face value, not even his faith. He challenged it, questioned it, and explored it. What he left behind was a legacy of thought-provoking prose that has shaped so much of how I think of God and the world. I’d sit down with a cup of hot tea and ask him to tell me stories the same way Elizabeth (in my book) would ask her father to.
What inspires you to create?
Most definitely my faith. Everything I do is colored by it. I’m not going to preach to you, I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong and I’m right. But I am going to tell you, in some form of art, no doubt, that an undeniable something has gotten ahold of me, and I’m a better person for it. The Promised One is most definitely a love letter to that faith and a testament to the work of Providence in my own life.
Want to find out more?
The Promised One, the first book in The Chalam Færytales series, is available for purchase now. You can check out this and other works by Morgan (because she does a lot more than write) here. And check out her book trailer below! (She even wrote, arranged, and performed the music for it!)
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Until next time,
~Kristen Aitken, Ampersand Write