Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word Series, The Soul Chronicles, and The Ravenwood Saga. She is a three-time Christy Award finalist and winner of both the INSPY and the Carol Award for best in Christian speculative (Sci-fi/Fantasy) fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.
In this interview, Morgan talks with us about the launch of a new series withher latest book, Secrets in the Mist.
FF: What inspired the story in your book, Secrets in the Mist?
Almost five years ago while I was in the midst of writing my other steampunk series and zombies were a big thing, my husband commented that I should do a genre mash-up and do a zombie steampunk book. I laughed, but then this idea started forming in my head of a world where everyone has to live in airships or on mountaintops because of a strange mist that covered the world.
I didn’t think I would ever write it, but then I had a couple publishers show interest and thus Secrets in the Mist was born.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Cass is a spunky, street-wise heroine who so far has survived not only the Mist, but the purges used to control population. She’s always been a loner since her parents died until she finds a place on the diving ship, the Daedalus.
Theo Winchester is heir to one of the five powerful ruling families of the sky. He is an intellectual who would rather study and experiment in his lab rather than attend the social functions of high society. He believes there is a cure for the Mist and will do everything in his power to find it, even if it costs him his position and his life.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Charity Atwood. She is a member of another one of the ruling families of the sky. I thought she was going to be more of a side character, but then she showed up in book 2 and I discovered her convictions and desires. I don’t want to give away too much, but she is a big help to Cass and Theo.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Because stories help people let their guard down, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because truth that would otherwise be dismissed is given a chance to seed inside the mind. But the same is also true of agendas and false ideas. Stories are indeed a powerful device and readers should be discerning.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
This is a duology (2 book series) so readers won’t have to wait long to read the conclusion to the Skyworld Series. This is an adventure novel with a Victorian era feel, lots of fantastic machinery and airships, and a hint of creepiness (no gore, though). Perfect for teen readers and up, especially for parents who are looking for books that are contemporary to the YA books being offered but also clean with a Christian worldview.
FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
The two biggest things I needed to research for Secrets in the Mist was how to hang glide and spore science. I spent over ten hours watching Youtube videos, reading blogs, and information sites on hang gliding so that when I wrote the scenes where Cass is gliding, it felt real.
I also spent almost as much time studying the science behind spores, how they infect the human body, and ways to eradicate spores. It was very enlightening!
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
My desire is readers will finish the series with hope, hope that even when the world seems like it is spinning out of control and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who cares, that God cares. God cares about the “street rat” as much as He cares about the elite. And we shouldn’t be prejudiced against those who have means just as much as we shouldn’t be biased against the poor.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
As far as steampunk goes, it is a very niche genre that is only recently receiving recognition (which is interesting since Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered to be the founders of the steampunk genre due to their unique stories of travel). Writing steampunk with a Christian worldview, well, it’s almost non-existent. So I’m thankful for a publisher that wants to support this genre, especially since it is adventure-focused which can be more appealing to young male readers.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
I would say the top authors who have inspired me are C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Frank Peretti, and David Farland. All of these authors have written amazing, imaginative books, some with deep Christian worldviews (whether overtly or covertly). Their work is what I strive for: to create beautiful worlds with interesting characters and deep meaning.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
All of my stories end up asking questions about life, God, and people. Why is there pain in the world? How do you handle those who hurt you? Can anyone be redeemed? What is worthwhile in life? These are the same questions I find myself asking. And I don’t always answer those questions in my books, but rather I want my readers to walk away contemplating these questions in their own lives. Of course, I start with a Christian worldview and this worldview is a lens by which I write my stories, which means God can be found when He is sought after, and there is hope to be found when everything feels dark and bleak.
Secrets in the Mist
Skyworld Series #1
Morgan L. Busse
Genres: YA/Teen, Fantasy, Steampunk
Release Date: August 10, 2021
ISBN-10 : 1621841871
ISBN-13 : 978-1621841876
What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…
In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.
Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.
The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what’s left of humanity into the undead.
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