We have an interesting interview for you today, with ‘spirit writer’ Morwenna Holman…
Morwenna’s novels are dictated to her by spirits, “communing with the departed to write stories of their lives which are lost in the mists of time.” Her first novel, Westerdale, was published in 2013, a story she wrote in her teens, when she said she was visited by the spirit of Emily Bronte.
We travelled to visit her near Leeds for a cup of tea, some biscuits and a chat, enjoy!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first realised I wanted to be a writer when I started composing poems at age five. Verse came easy to me and I enjoyed the challenge of finding rhyming words.
This soon escalated into short stories which was another challenge – getting all the drama and action of a book into a definite number of pages. As my illness took hold I decided I wanted to express what I was going through as a young adult often stuck in the trough of depression and keen to convey the feelings and emotions I was experiencing.
Somehow putting it all down on paper helped me to come to terms with it. After Spirit entered my life though I knew I had been picked to help mold the stories of the past into readable novels.
When did you first realise you could communicate with ‘spirits’?
My first memory of Spirit was at about age four when my grandfather visited me and told me how sorry he was to have passed before I was born.He came to me through my third eye, which I now retune to receive the words and emotions of Spirit. He told me I was destined to be a spirit writer and that many souls were gladdened by my birth because they could get some closure on their tragic stories. “You will put them out to the modern world and they will receive them with their own emotions,” he told me.After that Spirit would visit me often and tell me my time had not yet come to channel but when it did there would be quite a queue to relate stories!
How long does it take you to write a book with the spirits? How many sittings?
The answer to that one is the proverbial how long is a piece of string?It really depends on the spirit concerned and also on my mental and physical health as it is very draining letting Spirit write through you because you absorb the emotions of the spirit and many times that is upsetting.I would say it could take at least 50 sittings to do a book and even then when we are reading through it for the fortieth time they will want to alter it and sometimes we have a bit of a tussle!
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Is it sporadic or planned?
It is definitely sporadic all the time because of my poor mental health and if I am tired it is very difficult to tune in and absorb all they say. Spirit are always very understanding over this and sometimes they just want me to write down an odd phrase as they remember it which can be used later in the book.Of course sometimes the boot is on the other foot – I am all set to write and they will not come through so we are pretty tolerant of each other’s foibles.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? (Apart from being a spirit writer!)
I have to read everything out loud as I can get no perception of it in my head. I suppose it is like I am reading it to Spirit and occasionally another voice will come through and reprimand me for some mistake of grammar or spelling.It leaves my mind freer for the Spirit to make comment and we often have a conversation with my head channeling the Spirit’s voice and my own voice expressing my views.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was 19 when I wrote my first book after lengthy channeling with Emily Bronte who was distressed that her second novel had not come to the world and after all this time she believed it was ready to be dictated.She was a total perfectionist and I often feel I did not do her talent justice as I was somewhat immature when Westerdale was given to me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am absolutely passionate about Animal Rights and am a committed vegetarian. The animals I admire most of all are cats as their resilience and quirky spiritual natures are compelling so I am putting every penny I get for my books into the small charity I run called Morley Cat Rescue.I am quite a health fanatic apart from chocolate which is my downfall, so I try and walk with friends as it is very difficult to go out alone with the nature of my illness. The Yorkshire moors are my preferred destination but the coast and places like Whitby and Filey are also very inspiring.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I am currently writing my 11th novel with the help of a spirit called Cordelia Deane who is anxious to have her story told. I think thatWesterdale is my favourite so far as that link with Emily Bronte is precious and I understand so well her dislike of strangers and her love of her big powerful dogs. Plus she was a mystic like me and I feel so honoured to have been chosen for a channel for one of the most talented authoresses I have ever read.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I think you have to be “Writer Aware” twenty-four hours a day and constantly looking for situations and scenes that stimulate your imagination into turning chance encounters into stories.That person on the bus talking to her friend, the store assistant on her lunch break…in the most unlikeliest of places inspiration can seize you so never go out without a pad and pencil or the modern equivalent!I am old fashioned and the rhythmic flow of actually writing words is stimulating and satisfying.Never force yourself to write – I believe the muse must visit you and only she knows how long she will remain so when she leaves just stop and wait for her return but never despair as she will be back when you are balanced physically and mentally.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have had over 50 texts from people who have enjoyed Westerdale and who are very interested in my Spirit writing abilities. Sometimes they ask me questions as to how they can do it, if it is a gift or can be learned etc etc.
What do you think makes a good story?
I believe a good story has a melee of emotions in it to shock, sadden, cheer and ultimately entertain the reader.You must be able to transport this person to the world you are describing and make it plausible for them so that they can escape from their present situation and experience the emotions you are illustrating.You must hold their attention and always have that element of surprise on your side.It is like pouring a good wine – give them just a taste of it and you will have them eating – or in this case drinking – out of the palm of your hand and coming back time after time for more!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
There is only one answer to this I wanted to be an Animal Rights activist and spend my whole life rescuing and fighting for animals.If I can build a cattery with my royalties and get some of these vulnerable cats off the streets of Morley I will be delighted. I had no interest in material things as a child and that remains true today.