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Author Interview: Violet Morley Chats about When Dreams Change

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Get ready to learn more about the book When Dreams Change in this discussion with sapphic author Violet Morley.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Violet Morley about When Dreams Change, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Divorced Character category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write When Dreams Change?

I had just finished The Bigger Picture, and there was a character to whom I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. It was also lovely because I returned to Sitka, my hometown, and visited some favorite characters from a previous book (Under the Sitka Sky). If I continue visiting Sitka in my novels, I’m pretty sure it will become The Isle of Sapphics in my writing universe, haha.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

This one has a lot of fun characters, so it’s a bit hard to pick a favorite, but I have to go with Wren. I think the only way I’m similar to her is that we both played softball, but that’s about where the similarities end. The differences are vast; she’s a better pitcher than I was (I was a catcher), and she has a more assertive personality than I did in high school. I plan on writing a second chance book between her and Zayla since I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to those characters yet.

What part of When Dreams Change was the most fun to write?

Playing softball in Sitka was a unique experience, and I wanted to capture that distinctiveness. For instance, we would stay with a host family when traveling for games (and we’d have to fly or take the ferry) and have dinner with the opposing players. After moving to the lower 48 and talking with others, I learned that was odd, which I didn’t realize, since it was just how it was done there. But I knew I had to write a softball book set in Sitka specifically for that reason, which made writing those parts fun for me. The other specific scene was when they were playing in a torrential downpour. I wrote that straight out of a memory. The catcher in a puddle, mild flooding of the field, having to use hand warmers stuffed in our gloves, wiping the ball down for the pitcher, it was all from a specific game we played. For a good reason, I got beta notes that said it was unrealistic, as most games are canceled in extreme weather, but I had to keep it in and do my best to convey that it was unique to Sitka as it’s almost always raining there. Those were just the conditions in which we played softball.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Titles and blurbs are the bane of my existence, haha. I was trying to add softball somehow (Change Up of the Heart was a working title, since change up is a softball pitch), but it didn’t work because the story wasn’t about a pitcher, it was about the coach. So, I did what I’ve always done when every title has eluded me—I workshop with my wife. We spitball back and forth until one lands, usually a day before I send the book to my cover artist. I’ve been tempted to put Enter Title Here as a book title. Maybe someday, lol.

How do you celebrate when you finish a book?

I have mini celebrations throughout the process. Since finishing a book is hard, I must enjoy the steps along the way. The first few drafts—high fives with my wife. Send to beta readers—enjoy reading a few books I’ve put off. Back from the editor—usually order takeout. My wife will then order a paperback and a themed gift (glove and bat ornament for this book, for instance).

Do you have any odd writing quirks?

I need a lot of beverages for some reason, and they have to be a wide range of things, from tea to diet soda. I usually have at least three drinks to choose from on my desk. The other thing I’ve done is close my eyes and try to picture and capture everything I’m seeing, although I’ve fallen asleep that way, so I don’t do it very often.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

The thing that’s helped the most is being passionate about the scene, characters, and story. Plus, I’m finding that having an outline really helps my neurospicy brain because without it, I tend to follow shiny objects into an abyss of sloppiness.

I would say that the largest hindrance to my writing has been my mental health. I love writing, and keeping at it was one of the things that has helped me through a recent major depression, of which the worst part of that is over now, thankfully. Another thing that helped me through was rescuing my little angel of a dog, Ollie. She is the bringer of joy, for sure.

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

I’m a big fan of noise-canceling headphones and a playlist of instrumental cover songs. So, I go for a bit more angsty songs when I need emotional scenes. Spicy scenes are super difficult for me. I’ll usually write 200 words and then do anything besides write. Then rinse and repeat for the next few days.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

My pre-writing journey started with Gentleman Jack and ended with Casting Lacey by Elle Spencer before I finally sat down and wrote my first book (still not published). I said I always wanted to be an author but never actually sat down and tried. When the life of Anne Lister became a special interest, I was looking for her diaries and any information. That segued into my first sapphic books, and it just unlocked something in me. At first, I gobbled them all down, starved for the stories I had never had. Then, when I read Casting Lacey, I just tried writing a story, then another one. I wasn’t sure I’d publish it, but I’m glad I did.

What books did you grow up reading?

I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy and historical fiction as a kid; a few of my favorites were The Giver, Ender’s Game, Pillars of the Earth (although that one I was a teen), The Other Boleyn Girl, and Hunger Games. I never put this together, but my first book (unpublished at this time) is more on the sci-fi fantasy line, and that’s probably why because the books I used to read were along those lines.

Meet Violet Morley

Violet Morley (she/her) grew up on a small island in Alaska. She decided to trade rain and trees for trees and rain in the beautiful state of Washington, where she resides with her unbelievably supportive wife, and adorable adopted dog named Ollie.

Writing has always been a hobby for Violet, but just recently, in 2021, it became a passion as she published a novel with plans for many more. When she isn’t writing, she’s getting lost in Sapphic books, especially since they don’t require her to leave the house.

Violet uses humor in her own life to tackle the more challenging times and humor again in everything else. She loves a good pun and a nice hearty beer.

Visit Violet’s Website

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Author Interview