Interview with L.A. Morton-Yates, author of YA fantasy Bittersouls
A Shade. A Storm. A Soul.
Cursed with forbidden knowledge, 19-year-old Dela must hide her secret from her nomadic tribe or face exile into the frozen wasteland of the Bitters. When she becomes separated from her people during a blizzard, a mysterious and dangerous wanderer named Talon promises to help her find her way back to them. She quickly learns that nothing is what it seems, that her curse may actually be a gift, and that the Bitters are far more dangerous than she could have imagined.
Packed with unexpected twists, Bittersouls is a mixture of survival, adventure, and slow-burn romance that is sure to get your heart pounding.
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Excerpt from Bittersouls
Something moved at the edge of the horizon. It was like a shadow, black as a cloud but moving fast across the snow plain. Time seemed to stop, but Dela could feel herself sliding forward as if she were standing on a lake of ice. Freja was still yelling, but she couldn’t hear her. Her arms were flailing, but Dela hardly noticed.
A wave of lights moved in front of the thing, jumping and turning, quick as sparks. It was like a field of quails fleeing into the sky before a coming wolf, but the wolf—the shadow—followed them. The closer it got, the more the shiver racked her spine. She knew exactly what it was, though she’d never seen one. No one in the congregation had. There were no stories. No whisperings. Only a name.
Freja stared at her, bewildered into silence. Perhaps she was going to speak, but then—
Interview with L.A. Morton-Yates
-What inspired you to become a writer?
For me, writing has never seemed like a choice. I’ve been writing since I was seven years old, and I don’t quite feel right with myself when I haven’t worked on anything in a while. It’s not all that I do or all that I want to do, but it has always and will always be a part of me that I simply can’t ignore. I annoy my wife by constantly relating everything to narrative and storytelling, and while some of my ideas are reasonable, some of the connections I draw are definitely stretching things a bit.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
Seriously, though. The Bitters are a terrible place to live, and only those who’ve grown up there have much of a chance of surviving for very long. I have no illusions that I would be a hero or the like in this setting—part of why I write is to experience what it might be like to be someone considerably more badass than myself.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
Dela usually keeps things pretty close to the chest. She grew up with cursed knowledge that she must keep secret or face exile from her nomadic people. She is, however, immensely curious about the world around her and extremely intuitive about how things are connected to one another. If you caught her awake at two in the morning, she’d probably share her latest musings about bird migrations or about why Mama Greygoat has been in such a foul mood recently.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Talon might be fun to go out for drinks with. Decked out in his roughcloak and white jackal-head hood, wearing four ice axes he fashioned from yak bones, he’d be as intimidating to everyone in the bar as he is to me. But after his long years alone, he probably wouldn’t have a lot to say in a protracted conversation. Maybe once he had a few drinks in him he’d loosen up?
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
If Talon is still with me, maybe I could convince him to fight as my champion. If so, we’d be fine. If it was just me, I’d probably trying throwing money at the dwarf until he forgave whatever I’d done to upset him. And if that didn’t work?
Well, I think we’re back to me dying again.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I’d hate to close the door completely on any genre this early in my career. I’ve never written a thriller, but it sounds exciting. I don’t have any cozy mysteries planned, but it might be fun one of these days. I’ve yet to try my hand at a children’s book, but since I now have 3 kids, I can see the appeal.
That said, I tend to doubt that I could ever write erotica. It might have something to do with my upbringing, or simply that it’s something I would be unlikely to ever read, but I don’t think I’d be able to help but feel self-conscious about every line.
About L.A. Morton-Yates
A life-long lover of the magic of storytelling, L.A. wrote his first story at the age of 7 and has been writing ever since. Speculative fiction, particularly fantasy, has always held a special place in his heart for the uniqueness of the places and the questions it can address. Though veiled by apparent strangeness, he has always seen it as capable of revealing deeper truth about our own reality.
L.A. graduated from Montana State University in 2015 with Honors in Biochemistry and a minor in Music Composition. This helped nurture his critical thinking and research skills which continue to be instrumental to his writing. During his collegiate years, he also met the love of his life, Julie, whom he later married. At once his greatest supporter and his staunchest critic (when he is wrong, which is more often than he’d like to admit), she has been an integral part of his creative process ever since.
In February of 2018, L.A. became the father of his first son, Griffin. His second son, Tiber, was born in December of 2019 and his third son, Malachi, was born in January of 2022. Though life has become considerably busier since he became a family man, L.A. continues to work on writing in what little spare time he can find. He hopes to one day pass on his love of literature to his sons.
L.A. Morton-Yates will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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