Author Interview – TM Morgan

More From This Author

Books & Stories
All of my published and upcoming work can be found here .
I only write short stories. I have no interest in writing novels, at least at this time. Maybe a novella. I'm particularly proud of my three stories in Vastarien. Also, "Quiet Ones Intent on Nurturing the Most Delectable Soil," which is due to be released as a podcast on The Wicked Library, I'm proud of.

Author Note
Since I've never been interviewed about my work before, I want to thank two people: Jon Padgett for supporting my work; and Moaner Lawrence, whose two workshops I've taken have been immensely helpful. He is a great teacher and a great guy.

Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera

"Mouths to Feed"

Anthology: More Than A Monster
Release Date: Sept 8th, 2023
Preorders: Coming Soon
About the Author: T.M Morgan has other work in Vastarien, Lamplight, and several anthologies, with upcoming work in Pseudopod, Sley House, and the Wicked Library. He is also editor of Dread Imaginings (
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

Great! This story had interest from several publications, and I'm happy it found a home at Grendel Press.

What inspired the idea for your story?

The opening image of an elderly couple crossing a bay in an open boat. I tried to use it in another story that didn't come together. Their story finally came to me as a dream. From there, it was about their journey.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

Life. I have five kids, a live in mother-in-law, a busy wife, and a day job. There is always some kind of crisis. 2022 was especially hectic for me.
I also edit the site, which I took over last year. It's small (one story a month) but a labor of love. The money I make from my own stories, I give back to other writers through the site. And, I hope, it offers young writers an opportunity to share their work with others.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

Stop trying to impress people and just write stories with characters you (and readers) care about.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

A primary theme in my writing is the idea that we may be the monsters in both our own and someone else's stories. Often, we don't realize it; the people we hurt often don't even realize it. I wanted to show that here, as well as imply maybe some of the things White Lotus and Infinity Pool delve into (though I hadn't yet seen either when I wrote the story). That is how the affluent play by different rules than the people in the often impoverished countries that house their resorts.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

I think horror is the most versatile genre. It doesn't necessarily require the technical or ethical ideas we find in science fiction; no need for fantastical worlds or creatures as in fantasy; no strict adherence to real-world rules as in literary fiction; no potential love as in romance. Yet, horror can feature any or all of these things too. I like that horror is most often set in the modern world, so a lot of world-building is typically not required. Yet, because it's speculative, we can do whatever we want, make whatever weird or horrible things come to life. And horror can most directly address our darkest fears (and desires) by manifesting them as tangible things or people.

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

I have to cheat. I have two: Stephen King and Thomas Ligotti.
I've been reading King since I was a kid. I still remember sitting in bed and reading The Shining. Then The Stand, Carrie, Cujo, Firestarter, Christine, Night Shift... And I've kept reading. He is a master storyteller. Whenever I'm in a funk, I pick up a King book (or listen to an audiobook), and he immediately draws me in without fail. I can't say that about any other author. His inspiration is more in his work ethic, about making writing a focused endeavor. Sit down, write, revise, and go sell. If someone pays you for it, then you're a writer.

His style is deceptively easy. He often comes across as folksy (something you hear when he reads his own work), as if your elderly uncle was telling you about his adventures in World War II. But his craftsmanship, the ease with which he builds momentum, and how his characters are imbued with emotion perfectly match his "voice." All writers, once they get through the mechanics of writing, need to have laser focus on that: find your voice. That will make your words begin to leap from the page.

Ligotti, on the other hand, is an entirely different writer. I didn't read him until later in life and started with The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Then I got into his fiction. TCAtHR changed me. Not just my writing but my life. It gave me a new humility and empathy in regard to human suffering. My stories shifted from getting inspiration from the more standard horror tropes to delving into the human capacity for both the infliction and endurance of pain. There are no monsters except human ones.

I lean more toward Ligotti as far as themes in my writing. King believes the good guy can win; Ligotti may not think there are good guys and bad guys. I believe the latter. Maybe that's something that holds me back, in that standard protaganist/antoganist writing is hard for me. I find everything morally gray. Man against himself, I suppose, is the primary story to tell.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

I'd really like to be able to write crime fiction. I love Sue Grafton's alphabet crime series. I'm up to 'G'. Her style is compact and yet in some passages profound and beautiful. And she knows how to build tension. King is very good at this. I always get any new crime novels he writes. Joyland is a particular favorite.

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

"Tectonic: A Conversation with the Gore-iuos Maureen Tellani" in Vasterien Volume V, Issue II.
A reporter goes to interview Maureen Tellani, star of the 1984 film Tectonic, a movie described by Roger Ebert as "the most savage brutality ever put to film." The movie is rumored to be cursed, as many of the cast and crew committed suicide or disappeared. As the interview progresses, the reporter finds himself falling deeper under Ms. Tellani's spell.
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