Jacqui Morrison | Author
I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph all kinds of amazing human beings.
While they are in studio, it is a privilege to learn about their businesses, or the work they do, their family, their interests, and hear a little bit about their story.
Jacqui Morrison, a passionate writer, living in Parry Sound, Ontario, embarked on her literary journey as a child, exploring poetry and short stories. Inspired by a high school teacher, Lenore Hawley, she dedicated herself to writing in 1995. Jacqui's career is diverse, spanning roles such as owning an ice cream parlor, teaching life skills, and aiding survivors of domestic violence. Jacqui is fascinated by law and justice. Beyond her professional pursuits, Jacqui facilitates writing seminars, serving as a mentor and writer in residence at the Parry Sound Public Library.
Jacqui answers some questions about her latest book, Missed Deadline, and more.
What inspired you to write this MISSED DEADLINE, and how did the idea evolve from its initial concept to the finished product?
In 1993, I wrote a column for a newspaper, and I became fascinated with the inner workings of newspapers. I thought up the main character Sarah, and she had many changes throughout the novel. At first, I thought of her as a weak individual but as I was writing, she became resilient.
Can you share a moment or scene from the book that you found challenging or emotionally resonant to write? What was it about that moment that stood out for you?
I don’t want to give any spoilers. The first chapter was fun, but in a few chapters, she was shocked and depressed because of the actions of a man. This was about Chapter nine.
How do you approach character development, and are there any characters you relate to on a personal level?
Always I write a biography of the main character and in this case; I wrote one for the villain and the love interest because it is romantic suspense. That way, I could look back and make sure I had the same characteristics throughout the novel, Missed Deadline. Sarah Juliet, the protagonist, resonated with me, because I also went to some Rock' n Roll events in my 20s. However, she was so flawed at first, but she grew as a person.
Can you describe the techniques and influences that shape your voice?
I took a writing seminar at the Charles W. Stockey Centre in Parry Sound a couple of decades ago. I was shocked to learn my style was first person narrative as I had always written in third person. However, it really works for me, and I enjoyed getting into Sarah’s head. The love interests chapters were third person, so I could show more detail.
What message or insight would you like readers to take away from your book?
Never give up and stand up for yourself if someone or two people try to bully you.
How did you create a rich and immersive world for your readers?
I love description, and I am fond of dialogue. Both move the story along. I try to envision locations when I am describing them. Dialogue is fun but hard. You have to write from many perspectives, so they sound like the character you’re envisioning.
Can you share a memorable reader response or story that highlights the impact your books have had on someone's life?
Peers from public school and high school love my books and buy them. This gives me joy.
If you could have a conversation with one of your characters, who would it be, and what would you ask them? What do you think they would say in response?
It would be Sarah Juliet, from Missed Deadline, and I was wondering where her strength came from. She had both a legal battle and a family law situation and she stayed strong for the most part.
What was the most profound or life-changing experience or realization you had while writing this book, and how did it shape your perspective on the world or your own life?
Resilience is a theme in all my books, but in this one, I gave Sarah a really hard time and you’d have to read the book to see if she succeeded.
How have your priorities changed from when you first started writing?
This is a hard question. My first published short story was in 1996 and I have been writing ever since. I would say it is character development and having more life experiences that have improved my experience in writing.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out as an author?
I would not have been so rushed to get a publisher. I needed to grow before I submitted. I feel I have grown, and that’s what is important.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Not having confidence back in the 1990s. I have writing confidence now.
How do you define success?
Breaking even or making a bit of profit. I still work, in a job I love, but it would be nice to be a full-time author.
What is keeping you up at night?
Nothing I can think of.
Describe some of your key routines or habits that you have to keep you going?
Accountability. I have a writing partner and we exchange pages every Sunday. I have a writer's group and we exchange pages as well. The writer's group has been going for two years, twice a month, and it has kept me on point.
Do you, and/or, how do you find time to develop your creative process?
I try to write something every day. I journal for fun, and I edit my works in progress almost daily.
What are some hard choices that you had to make to get where you are?
The discipline of writing when it’s beautiful weather. I just want to get out of the house and enjoy the weather, so I have to work at being diligent.
What is your relationship with failure?
I submitted my work too soon when it wasn’t ready, and I got a lot of form letter responses of rejection. I know now I have more confidence in my writing style.
What book and/or podcast are you enjoying right now?
Anything by Lisa Unger, she’s a great writer. I don’t listen to podcasts.
What is one thing people would never guess about you?
I can be shy.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I will not quit when I’m passionate about something like my author career.
Anything else you want to add and/or share?
Thanks for your time.
Where can you find Jacqui:
- Interview on CBC with Ramraajh Sharvendiran
2009 IPPY Awards- CANADA–EAST – BEST REGIONAL FICTION
Gold: Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney, by Jacqui Morrison (Lachesis Publishing)
- Jacqui Morrison’s fifth book 'Shaken No More' a tale of romantic suspense
- Parry Sound author Jacqui Morrison releases newest murder mystery
- Local author releases latest novel, The Vigilante
- Library’s writer in residence helps others hone skills
Books by Jacqui