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Interview with Jalesa Morrison

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. Other than writing I work for the department of veteran affairs. My job title is a program support assistant. That means that I am responsible for calling a variety of vendors and ordering equipment for the department I work at. A lot of people don't know that during my free time, I enjoy making plushies.

Q.2 What is the future of characters? Will there be a sequel? Are we going to read more from you soon?
A. There will be a part two for Four Years of Despair. I feel like the ending left readers with more questions than answers. But at the moment I am working on another book series.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. I get my ideas from basically anything. I can listen to a song, and get an idea or my stories can be based off a good movie that I watched. At the moment I am writing about personal experiences I have been through in life.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. If writing is your passion, continue to write. You may feel discouraged or unmotivated to write if your previous book doesn't do well. Though the more you write, the better.

Q.5 Is your book inspired by a certain event/memory or person?
A. Four Years of Despair is inspired by my years as an adolescent. Many of the events in the book has either happened to me or similar.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. I would tell my younger self if there's something I really want to write then write it. It may be different from what other people are writing. But at least I enjoy it, and other people will too.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. I highly recommend all authors to join Goodreads. Goodreads is a good way to connect with readers and build a fanbase. It's also a good website for book promotion. 

I also recommend Self-publishing advice offers advice and articles on all of the steps to self-publishing such as promotion, finding an editor, etc.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. It was a little challenging to describe my male characters in Four Years of Despair. I get the ideas of my male characters from the men in my life and men who used to be in my life. At the same time, I would write the dialogue for a male character and think to myself "Would a teenage boy say this in real life?" 

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. The names of my characters can come from anywhere such as my favorite television shows, people I used to now in my past, etc.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. It's essential to read my reviews and view the ratings for my book. So far there hasn't been any negative reviews for Four Years of Despair. But I do expect some. I can't expect everyone to like my work. Good reviews just motivate me to continue my writing. Bad reviews can motivate to see what I'm doing wrong in terms of my writing.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. My family supports my writing career 100%. Even though so many people in the past looked down on me, I cannot think of a time when someone discouraged me from writing. 

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. My fans mean everything to me. I believe every author should be very thankful for their fans. Without the fans, who else would be reading your writings? Other than entertaining my readers with my books, I would like them to relate and be inspired because the majority of my writings right now is based on my personal struggles in life. 

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. My first book was Four Years of Despair which came out in April. My next book will be released in early 2020.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Not at the moment.

Q.15 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I have not been in the publishing industry long enough to answer this question.

Q.16 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. The name of my editor is Rob Bignell.

Q.17 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I would love to meet Sherman Alexie because I'm a big fan of his work. I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian when I was a college freshman, and I been hooked on his books ever since. I would also like to meet the author Susanna Kaysen. I can relate to a lot of the things she's been through in her life such as mental health.

Q.18 What is your favorite book and why?
A. This is a hard question. I don't think I have a favorite book. One book that I tend to read over and over is Bleed Like Me. Any book (fiction and non-fiction) that focus on teen issues is considered my favorite.

Q.19 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. I started writing Four Years of Despair during the summer of 2016. I was a college junior at the time. The goal was to graduate from college, get a job, and raise enough money to work on my writing such as editing, book cover design, etc. So far I have achieved this goal.

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