Image of a heart with rainbows

Author Interview: Morgan Spellman Chats about Say I Boo

Author Chat IHS Logo
Get ready to learn more about the book Say I Boo in this discussion with sapphic author Morgan Spellman.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Morgan Spellman about Say I Boo, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Cozy Mystery category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Say I Boo?

Whenever I faced tough days or needed a break from stress and anxiety, I’d turn to my go-to comfort shows like Psych and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The fun whimsical vibes paired with the classic whodunnit mystery always lifted my spirits. I wanted to create something that would make readers feel the same way—as if spending a fun day out with a good friend.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

I’m going to have to go with Abby for this one—despite suffering great losses, she manages to hold onto joy and optimism. She has a lot of self-confidence that I admire. I think her resourcefulness is a bit like mine, but when it comes to spending the night in a haunted house, I would be booking it out of there!

What inspired the idea for Say I Boo?

The haunted estate in ‘Say I Boo’ was inspired by a hotel I stayed at a few years ago. I was on a work trip in rural PA and ended up at this luxury bed and breakfast during their off-season. I checked in on a Sunday, and the front desk clerk mentioned that the entire place would be vacant during the week—no guests or staff! The next morning, I woke up to find the place empty and covered in snow. It was spooky! I thought it’d make the perfect setting for a ghost story.

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

My wife came up with the title! I knew I wanted something playful and fun, so we brainstormed a bunch of ghostly puns, but none of them felt quite right. She knew the main characters were gathered for a wedding, so she suggested ‘Say I Boo’ and it made me laugh so I kept it! Readers have found it memorable and intriguing, so I think she did a good job!

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

The next installment of the Abby Spector Ghost Mystery Series, Roses are Red and Violet is Dead, comes out February 1st 2024!

When a series of hauntings at a Connecticut Bed and Breakfast threatens to turn romantic evenings into full-on nightmares, the manager turns to their cousin, Abby, for help. Eager to grow her budding paranormal investigation agency, Abby takes on the seemingly straightforward assignment: vanquish the ghost of Violet Lovelace, a young waitress who died in a 1975 fire. Abby is confident she can wrap up the hauntings in 24 hours, leaving plenty of time for her romantic plans with Mina. What could possibly go wrong?

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

I drink so much tea! My favorite is a peppermint earl grey latte with steamed oat milk: steep 1 earl grey tea bag and 1 peppermint tea bag in 1/2 a mug of hot water for 2 minutes and then fill up the rest of the mug with steamed oat milk.

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

I have two adorable cats. Inigo Montoya is my baby—I’ve had him since he was a kitten! He’s a friendly talkative black cat who is almost always in my lap (or on my desk meowing at me to move my chair so he can get into my lap). He’s definitely the diva of the family. His brother, Sazed, was my wife’s cat before we moved in together. He’s a sweet long-haired black and white cat who loves treats. He’s a laid-back boy—except around meal times when he overpowers Inigo with his demanding meows and headbutts!

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?

I think the most valuable piece of writing advice is something I heard thrown around my undergraduate creative writing program—write for yourself, edit for your audience. Giving myself permission to write those messy first drafts and push through uncomfortable emotions or incomplete scenes really helped me go from having tons of ideas in my head to getting a finished draft on paper. Writing is a process and there are so many stages, so it’s important not to feel like you need to do them all up front! Embracing the messiness of initial drafts and knowing that not every version needs to be seen by others has been a game-changer for me.

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

I put on some emo-fantasy playlists or dark classical music and go for a walk or pace around my office while picturing the scene. I’m apparently a highly visual person so I picture each scene playing out like a movie. Sometimes I’ll picture it going multiple ways before I have a clear direction of where I want to take it—it’s like my characters are actors so I’ll imagine them replaying a scene in a different tone, or with different stage directions, and see how that effects the end result.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

Mysteries, Epic Fantasies, and Queer stories have probably been my top genres over the past 10 years. Since my dad was killed last summer and there’s still an open murder investigation, I’ve been less inclined to read about murder or heavier topics and I’ve been drawn to Cozy Fantasy and RomCom books. I’ve always preferred books with uplifting or happy endings and I gravitate toward anything that will leave me feeling happy, cozy, or content (especially if it’s queer!).

What books did you grow up reading?

I loved mysteries as a kid— the Three Investigators, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and The Babysitters Club were some of my favorites. I also had a fascination with ghost stories, so I can see how I ended up writing a ghost mystery series. I remember staying up late reading the Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn and I got so scared I put the book out in the back yard because I was afraid to sleep with it in the house!

I was also a fan of fantasy books and anything that had cats. One of my favorite books was the Grand Escape by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor—I actually wrote to her several times when I was 12-16 years old and she always wrote back. She encouraged me to pursue my dreams as a writer and listened to me talk a lot about my cats! 😅

What books have you read more than once in your life?

I love the world-building and cozy emotions that I get from reading the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I’ve read those books at least a dozen times! There’s something comforting about the writing style and the characters feel like friends.

Meet Morgan Spellman

Morgan Spellman (they/them) writes quirky stories sprinkled with magic and wonder. They hold an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University and a day-job teaching software at a technology company. They live in North Carolina with their wife, two attention-seeking cats, and an entire cabinet devoted to tea. When not crafting queer stories, Morgan can be found hiking through scenic trails, indulging in freshly baked cookies, or embarking on epic RPG quests with friends.

Visit Morgan’s Website

share on:

Author Interview