Special foxy thanks to Morgan Straughan Comnick for this interview- if you would like your work promoted check out www.reynardcity.com/advertise
- You describe yourself as a “nerdy otaku.” For people who don’t know what does that mean?
An otaku is a person who loves or has a happy, healthy obsession with Japanese culture, commonly consisting of anime, manga, attending conventions, and cosplaying along with culture. Once I watched my first anime (other than Pokemon because every kid watched that) and dove into my first manga, the world expanded, my eyes were open. I have learned so many wonderful things through the medias of being an otaku, formed lasting relationships, fueled my creative soul, and had personal enjoyment that made me accept myself. I was always meant to be an otaku and I am so honored it chose me.
I also am still a super proud Disney, Power Rangers, 90’s/00’s cartoons and music fan, hence the rest of the nerd part in the title. I still deeply enjoy childlike things, cute items, being silly, voice acting, hobbies that might not be seen as adult, but you know what? It is the era of the nerd and I will be victorious, for that super shy, long hair girl who was scared to speak and terrified I would offend or harm anyone!
- You describe Farmington, Missouri as having “magic hidden it”. Like Woody Allen with New York or Richard Curtis with London would you say this has a profound effect on your work?
Farmington is the only place I have ever lived, the only home I have ever known and I want to keep it that way. It has given me my roots, my family, friends, my true love, inspiration, safety. It is a middle sized town, so big enough to explore, but not massive enough where I would feel unimportant and lost. It has the heart of the future and a lushness for the past, woven seamlessly into one. I knew it could be the only setting for Spirit Vision.
- What are the Spirit Vision books about?
Spirit Vision is about fifteen-year-old Stary Moon, who, after having a life-altering dream, is informed that she is the Spirit Warrior to the Lord, meaning she is able to talk, see, and help spirits and ghosts. Her first assignment is to find the murderer of the sweet Maren Rowe and the crud Umbra, whose background is as impaling as his spiky hair. Stary now has to adjust to her new powers, balance her normal high school life (with a crush to boot) while keeping her spiritual side a secret from her loved ones, and tracking down a killer who has the powers of Lucifer on their side. If Stary fails at stopping the murderer, not only will she lose her life, but Maren and Umbra will lose their entrance into Heaven and the madness of the murderer will be unleashed to the world for 40 years.
New Beginnings (Spirit Vision 2) continues Stary’s adventures of being God’s Spirit Warrior, developing her powers along with discovering new ones, encountering allies and foes, and keeping her duty a secret from her loved ones to protect them.
- What is your writing process?
I have an on-going imagination so I can come up with ideas fairly easily. Music, walking, singing, anime, manga, and dreams inspire me as well. Once I do, I outline them, jot down lines or quotes in chapters I know I want to use. Since it is on the computer, if I need to change or move things, it is simple (I am a visual learner). I listen to music normally when I write.
Finding time to write is the challenge. I would love to say I write an hour or so a day for practice, but since I work full time as a teacher and have an adult life, my writing time must be flexible and I cannot force myself to write unless I have a deadline (I am overly-organized). Not to sound snobbish, but I write when the iron is hot. The outline helps keep me in line, but if I do not feel it, I rarely can. I still work hard and turn my assignments in early though. J
- Who are your role models?
Most of my characters are based on the important people in my life and their impact on me; I just spun my own twist on their traits and fit them into my world. My family, husband, friends, loved ones, teachers…are all my role models!
- Who would be on your superhero team?
Oooh! Fun question and it was hard to narrow it down! Well, let me see…
#1.Roxas (Kingdom Hearts series, with both keyblades),
#2.Kimberly, the Pink Power Ranger from Mighty Morphin (Megazord power and bow!)
#3. Sebastian Michaels (The Black Butler. The main can kill people with butter knives!)
#4. Shadow Cat (X-Men who can phase through about anything)
#5.Sailor Pluto (Guardian of Time and magical girl).
#6. Edward Cullen (Twilight; vampire who can read minds)
- Who would play you in the film of your life?
Well…since it is my life and I like acting…I would want to play myself. Who knows me better than I do?! ;) We can get ahold of that “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” technology and my voice acting, it could totally work!
- What are your dreams for the future?
To get a classroom teaching position in my field, to continue to be with my loved ones, madly in love with my husband and start a family with him, be an otaku, stop bullying, and have Spirit Vision, my other works, and Paper Crane Press, be loved and successful (New York Times Best Seller would be grand!
Chapter 2 snippet from Spirit Vision (chapter 1 is on my website for free to preview):
When I returned from the lunch line, I stopped hastily in front of our lunch table, expecting to hear the sound of laughter and talk of Mr. Tin, but the discussions at my table had taken a dramatic turn. My eyes paused their happy flicker from the food and fixated on the words being said.
“Do you think they will find out anything?” a female voice said.
“This is all so messed up! People are sick! No wonder they are searching all the lockers and classrooms,” chimed an on-edge male voice.
“Can we think for a moment for the poor person? How tragic…” this came from Ami, whose heart was always so kind.
“The person had no family and no records in Plantersville. I don’t understand any of this at all!” Allen said in a scared tone, biting his lips until they were white.
“The staff is supposed to talk to everyone officially tomorrow. Hopefully the officers will have something to report.” This intellectual statement came from Lauren.
“I hate that we’re all trapped here like animals at a zoo! What if the mad person behind this is here among us? I’m not going down without a fight!” Rin ranted.
“Rin, please control yourself. The school has to question everyone, which is why we’re still here, just under full watch,” Chloe squeaked.
“A girl is found buried dead behind a wall in one of our janitors’ closets and no one knows her in the area…This all seems pretty twisted.” Barbara made everyone quiet with her cold tone. She was holding something in her now shaking hands. It appeared to be a newspaper.
“What…?” Was all I could utter; Mark had heard me and stood, placing his hands under my tray for support. He must have known I was about to drop it. Chloe, Rin, and Lauren, who were closest to me, jerked their heads upto give me a kind expression, an expression that shone light on my question: everything they said was true.
“What do you mean what? How can what I said be clearer to you Stary? It’s been the talk of the school all day,” Barbara barked. She shoved her chair away from her and slapped the newspaper into my hands.
“The school paper isn’t supposed to come out for two more weeks,” I informed her, my confusion controlling my logic that told me to never question Barbara.
Barbara was about to say something rude, but Mark butted in. He was always there to defend me. “It’s a special edition. Please read it.” He dragged over to me and gave me a big bear hug, almost knocking me down. Although I couldn’t move, it felt like Mark was using me for support as his chest heaved. I gently returned his tenderness before he walked back to his seat.
I held the paper with a firm grip and opened to the first page and then…it all happened at once. I saw…her. I plopped hard on the floor in disbelief, tossing the paper to the ground, unable to direct my muscles. Mark ran to me , Chloe right behind him. They tried to get me on my feet, but my head was racing with a million questions, a million worries, and a million unwanted answers. The answers flowing through me stopped, as if we were disconnected.
Allen looked amazed and in a hyper, child-like voice, yelled, “You’re a really fast reader!”
Barbara gave him a you’re-so-stupid look. She gave me the article again with an angry stare plastered on her pasty face. I held my hand on my head, trembling with fear that I would explode due to unknown grief and confusion, unable to glance at the paper.
Chloe touched my forehead with her sweet, cool hand. Her touch made me realize I wasn’t in a nightmare. “She’s warm,” Chloe told the audience of my pals behind her while giving me a panicked look…the same one from my dream before she got possessed!
That alarm made me stand up and violently grab the paper. I refused to allow any other part of my dream to come true, especially if it affected my friends or after what I had heard.
“I’m fine…A little shaky, but fine,” I said in a voice that sounded like I was speaking a newly created foreign language.
Chloe looked a little less troubled, but still concerned. Moisture became trapped in her baby blue eyes. I sat by her, struggling, but patted her soothing hands as I stood up to thank her before I looked at the picture once more.
It was a picture of an extremely pretty young girl, about my age, maybe a little older. She had beautiful, wavy golden blonde hair to her upper back. Her skin was about as white as snow. Her eyes were sky blue and it was as if one could almost see through them. I knew they were a portal in a pure soul.A happy smile crossed her angelic face, a face that looked youthful and mature, graceful and cheerful all at once. In my heart, I knew the girl well, but I didn’t remember her at all. Then, it hit me: she was the lovely light beam that took form, the girl of the maiden I talked to from my dream! No wonder my body was in complete shock!
“No one knows who this girl is, but she was found at our school,” Lauren said. Found? I was unable to face anyone in the natural world surrounding me, forgetting that I belonged to it.
“The article tells all about it,” Rin stated. I was frightened, but I began to read by instinct:
PHS Knights Page
Today is a sad day for our beloved high school. Sixteen-year-old Maren Crystal Rowe, daughter of Robert and Clara Rowe, was found dead in the supply closet in the northern business wing. Her body was buried deep in the back of a hidden wooden wall that no one had noticed before until a trashcan accidentally slammed it down. There is not much left of Maren, but she had an ID card near her, the only proof of who she was.
Not much is known about Maren. When she was two, her mother, Clara Hombeck Rowe, died of breast cancer. Two years later, her father, Robert Rowe, was killed when one of his government machines blew up and the explosion destroyed his lab. His body was found in the Gate River, only half of a mile away from his home. Maren and her older brother, Elbert, went to live with their only family left: Professor Glen Rowe, a very famous inventor working for the nation’s Department of Defense. His home and research center are still unknown.
When Maren was ten, her seventeen-year-old brother left to follow his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Three years ago, when she was sixteen, Maren and her grandfather went missing. The professor’s body was found right away, but young Maren was nowhere to be found until today.
PHS has given her remains to the SRL in St. Louis to find the cause(s) of her death. Even though none of us knew Maren, PHS will wish her peace. Funeral service and burial will be at Holy Rest Church and Cemetery in Oldfield on Thursday, April the 16th. All are welcomed to come. More information will be given when known. All of this information was given to us by the Department of Defense and by Dr. Elbert Rowe.
I could not believe what I read! A poor girl that didn’t even go to our school or even live in the area was found dead in our supply closet? How did I not know about this? Everyone seemed to assume I did or was hiding it from me. Wait. That crash during first hour. When Mr. Jerry knocked the trashcan into the wall of the closet, the closet that’s now blocked off…That’s when he screamed, that’s when all of this must have happened. I never had to head in that direction until now and because I was with Mrs. Timber, I must’ve been overlooked for questioning.
This poor girl. Her life appeared lost, confusing, and heartbreaking. Yet in her photo, she looked happy, innocent, and carefree. I prayed to God, wishing for the sweet and wonderful child to find eternal bliss with Him in heaven.
I stood up slowly, careful not to lose my balance, and handed the article to Barbara, who looked at me, traumatized.
Morgan Straughan Comnick:
Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.