Murray State has a history of successful scholars. One scholar in particular, Jason Morrow, in less than five years after graduation has completed nine novels and is working on his 10th.
Morrow graduated from Murray State in 2009 with a degree in print journalism. Throughout college he gained the experiences that ultimately led him to where he is today.
Tiffany Whitfill: How would you describe your current lifestyle?
Jason Morrow: My wife and I have been nomadic for the past four years. We started a job at a newspaper in Jesup, Ga. It was a small town and the people were nice, but neither of us could really imagine staying there for a year or two. So, we decided to teach English in South Korea. It allowed me time to write fiction between classes, and the schedule was shorter than the average American work day, so I found a lot of time to write.
After South Korea, my wife and I moved back to the states. By that point I had written six books and we were making enough so we didn’t have to take on any jobs. So, we bought an RV and decided to travel United States for a year. We started in Sheboygan, Wi, through Kentucky and visited many places out West. You could call us traveling writers, though my writing has nothing to do with our travels. That’s Emily’s job. She’s keeps a blog called tomorrows.org. She takes all the photos and writes about our journey.
TW: Describe the next chapter in your life.
JM: My wife and I plan to go back to South Korea. We have taught there for two years before and we had such a good time that we want to go back for just one more year. There we will be teaching young ones the English language and I will be putting out more books as we go along. I know it seems a bit crazy for me to stop writing full-time and take on another job when I don’t have to, but we live this way because we love the adventure. South Korea is a wonderful country to live in
TW: Where do you get inspiration to write a novel?
JM: We bought an RV and stayed in many ranges of places. We stayed in the Redwood Forest, saw mountains capped with snow and deserts that spanned as far as the eye could see. Naturally, being in places such as these, I gained a lot of inspiration for settings. I write fantasy, so having a wide range of places to see helps out a lot. For instance, the Redwoods definitely seem like a place elves might live. The dark caverns of Carlsbad New Mexico provide excellent images for the setting of some monster. Many abandoned cities we came across gave me great images for the zombie series that I just wrapped up.
I’ve now started work on a Western/Fantasy titled Keeper of the Books. Traveling through Wyoming, Texas and many parts of California has been excellent in providing me with good settings. Much of my inspiration comes from brainstorm sessions with my wife. It was her idea to write a series about people with superpowers in a zombie world, which turned into a successful series of six books. I plan to write more in that series too, but I’m at a good stopping point and am excited to work on this new fantasy series.
TW: How long did your first manuscript take to write?
JM: That depends on how you look at it. I can’t tell you how many hours of political science classes were spent fleshing out story ideas while the professor taught. It was terrible of me to do that, but the stories were just getting ready to burst. Instead of taking notes about some philosophical concept, I was furiously writing character sketches and plot ideas.
Of course, I never did this in my journalism classes. There I was learning to be what I really wanted to be—a writer.
So, in answer to the question:
It took me about a year to plan out and fully write and edit my first book. My second book took me about six months. My third book took about four months. Now that I write fiction full time, it usually takes me about two months to start and finish a book.
TW: Do you have any advice for students who want to pursue their careers?
JM: Do what you really want to do. If you do what you really want to do, that probably means you’re good at it, or at least have a mind for it already. If you’re a writer at heart and you’ve stuck yourself into a math degree because you think it will make you more money, it’s time to switch majors. Always work toward doing what you are passionate about. For me, I loved writing. I had no idea that when I became a journalist that I was going to be writing my tenth book by the time I turned 27. But I worked at it, and it has paid off.
Story by Tiffany Whitfill, Staff writer