I write YA and NA thrillers, for the most part. My debut novel Blood and Water (Oct. 2015) is a YA post-apocalyptic thriller about a group of teenagers whose lives have been drastically altered by a global pandemic. But the novel doesn’t focus on the virus itself. Instead, I’m more concerned with the way people act in the face of trauma and how widespread tragedy changes human behavior. I love exploring the ways that different circumstances can change group dynamics and relationships, and (I hope) that’s reflected in Blood and Water—and all of my writing, for that matter.
I plan to turn Blood and Water into a series sometime soon, even though the idea of writing a series has me sweating like a sinner in church.
Right now, I’m working on a YA urban fantasy that’s a murder mystery, but with shapeshifters. It’s about an girl named Ramachandra who struggles to accept her body by becoming other people—and in a way, it’s also about facing the man who tried to break her.
I’m a writer because my life is boring, and I get my kicks from watching other people suffer and succeed, I rejoice with them in their highs and mourn their losses and their lows. No, really, I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was a kid, my grandfather used to tell us stories when he came to visit. I loved the way he used language to form something out of nothing, and I wanted more than anything to emulate that.
In college, I started off studying psychology. I’m fascinated by human behavior. But psychology wasn’t immersive enough for me. I wanted the ability to take on someone else’s mannerisms, memories, and motivation—like I could as an actor—but I wanted more control than the stage could provide me. I wanted to get inside these characters’ heads, but also affect the course of their lives through events and interactions. I kind of wanted to play God. And so I turned to writing. The rest is history.
Lord, I have no idea. How do I ever manage to write anything at all? My expectations and self-set standards are much higher than is healthy. Sometimes (read: often) I try to do too much and run myself into the ground. Sometimes life doesn’t make any sense. Writing allows me space to breathe; some order in the chaos. I outline, albeit loosely, and that keeps me grounded for the most part. I’m not afraid to deviate from the outline if the characters pull me onward, though.
For me, writer’s block only happens when I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what comes next. Most often, this is because I’m trying to make the characters do something they don’t want to, something they would never do. And then the writing doesn’t flow, because it’s inorganic. I don’t like inorganic. Once I change my approach, the block lifts. Once I let my characters lead, I’m fine. It’s funny how that works.
Briana Morgan is a YA and NA author who loves dark, suspenseful reads, angst-ridden relationships, and complicated characters. Her interest in Jay Gatsby scares her friends and family. You can find her in way too many places online, eating too much popcorn, reading in the corner, or crying about long-dead literary heroes. She has a BA in English, concentrated in creative writing, from Georgia College & State University.