Chad Morris interview with David Alan Binder

posted Oct 20, 2016, 5:42 AM by David Alan Binder

Chad Morris interview with David Alan Binder

His Bio Chad Morris:  After high school, he wrote and performed sketch comedy while going to college, and eventually he became a teacher and a curriculum writer.  Chad would love to teach at Cragbridge Hall. (His novel)

Unlike Oscar Cragbridge, however, he hasn’t really invented anything, though his son once sketched out blueprints for a machine that would turn celery into cookies.

To those who read Cragbridge:

Cragbridge Hall, the Inventor’s Secret is my debut novel. I’m thrilled that so many people have liked it so far. Brandon Mull—–#1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series had this to say: “Cragbridge Hall keeps the pages turning with inventive gadgets, mystery, humor, and danger. Author Chad Morris offers a fantastical futuristic read that should engage kids and families.”

Let me tell you a little about the book. I got the idea for Cragbridge Hall: The Inventor’s Secret while sitting in an auditorium of several thousand people listening to David McCullough, the famous historian. I know—probably not where you’d think ideas for kids fiction would pop up. It surprised me too. I found myself thinking, what would be the absolute coolest way to for kids to learn history?  Answer: For them to see it, almost experience it! Have a pirate ship sail through front wall of their class. See armies rushing each other from two sides of the room. Hear from Lincoln himself. And if there were some crazy invention that could let them see history, then what would English class be like? And gym? I felt a world forming. My fiction and non-fiction loving mind was off to the races. Sorry Mr. McCullough, I kind of zoned out there for a little while.

Once the world started coming together, I had another idea: What if there was more to one of the inventions than anyone knew? What if the inventor had a secret?

When I sat down to write, all different angles of my personality got excited. This was high-concept, fast-paced, fiction fun, with references to real non-fiction people and places, and a lot my comedy writing background thrown in. The whole thing snowballed into a story I love.


 Book website:

 Amazon: ge+hall


1.    Where are you currently living?

I’m a Utah boy.


2.    What are some experiences in your life that prepared you for writing?

One of the best experiences was writing and performing sketch comedy while I was in college. I learned to pitch ideas, to risk. I also learned to take feedback and to revise. I also learned to impersonate a velociraptor and Voldemort, but those don’t really help in writing. Plus, I had to cut to the chase in my comedy writing. The audience doesn’t want to wait more than a few seconds before the next gag.


3.    What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Celebrate every step.


Writing is a long process and it’s HARD. You have to manage your own motivation. Part of that may mean you have to celebrate when you’ve finished that rough chapter or pounded out that first draft. Grab some pizza. Down that shake. Eat that sweet pork burrito. (A lot of my celebrations may involve food.)


Plus, the publishing world is fantastic, but also fickle. Your journey will never go just as you had hoped. So celebrate whenever an agent requests pages. Heck, celebrate after every five rejections. You’re putting in the work.


Celebrate and keep on going!


4.    What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I only write after 10 pm.

I type all adverbs with my left hand and all adjectives with my right.

I first write in Klingon and then translate it to English for my final draft.

I always edit with a hot chocolate a cigar (which is really strange because I don’t smoke.)


Okay. None of those are true. I’m a pretty normal guy.


5.    Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?


a.   Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?


I’ve published a trilogy (the Cragbridge Hall Series: The Inventor’s Secret, The Avatar Battle, and The Impossible Race) through Shadow Mountain. They’ve been wonderful to work with. I haven’t done the self-pub thing, but more power to the people who do!


6.    Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Yep. Write something AWESOME! Then submit it anywhere you can. And pray.


7.    How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?


See my last answer to question 6.


8.    Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Start your book fast. Jump right in the action or tension. When I read manuscripts from new writers, I can often recommend chopping the first couple of chapters. They often try to do far too much setup and backstory than is necessary.

Don’t write anything that turns out to be a dream. It’s fun to write, but a letdown to read.

Don’t describe your character by having them seeing their own reflection.

Write something you would LOVE to read.


9.    What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

How much I hate line editing. At the end of the editing process, I even have my mom go through it for mistakes. Yep. My mom is that awesome. She’s been proofreading my stuff since my terrible story about a robot army in the second grade.


10. How many books have you written? 

I’ve published three (The Cragbridge Hall trilogy). A fourth novel (a standalone) will be on its way soon. I’ve a got a few others that haven’t seen the light of day yet. (A couple of them should NEVER see the light of day. I wrote them early on in my writing years and I’ve learned a lot since. Hopefully a few of the other books will find a home.)


11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? 

Sure. Think about how original your idea is before you write it. Is there anything out there like it? If so, how is your book SIGNIFICANTLY different? Highlight the originality and differences in your writing. Have fun. If it isn’t new or original, think of a different idea.


12.  Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

A good twist has to be set up and gratifying. By setup, I mean that the reader had to have all the clues to have been able to figure out the twist, but they shouldn’t see it coming. If the clues aren’t there, the reader will feel cheated. If they are too obvious, the reader will be bored. One way pull this off is to misdirect the reader. Give them all the information they need, but for a reason different than your twist. For example, in Harry Potter 3, we learn all about Animaguses to know about Sirius Black, but we end up needing to know about them for a different reason in the twist at the end.


13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

The best answer here is voice. What is the one and personality of your book? How does it stand out? Think Junie B. Jones, or Sherlock Holmes,