Chris Morphew, Children’s Author : The Writer’s Studio

Chris Morphew is the author of the popular Phoenix Files series and a number of Zac Power titles. He spent his childhood drawing comic books and writing stories about dinosaurs and time machines and now he spends his adulthood doing similarly. Here Chris shows us how and where his books are written between part-time teaching, Mario Kart marathons and the lure of his iPad.

Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space in which you write?

I do have a writing desk at home, but I find that I can’t be alone in an empty house for too long before I start to lose the plot a bit. So a lot of my writing time is spent at the local cafe. I spend so much time there that one of the baristas recently decided I must have been unemployed and offered me a job. Nice to know they’re looking out for me, I guess!

Ready for work at the local cafe.

Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
My desk at home has stayed more or less the same as I’ve worked on The Phoenix Files: laptop, books full of notes, a growing pile of the previous books in the series… As for getting into character, I will occasionally get out of my chair to physically act out a scene I’m having trouble capturing in words. My housemates are getting used to becoming reluctant participants in these exercises (“Okay, put your arm around my face like this and then let me see if I can hit you…”) I also sometimes catch myself taking on a facial expression I’m trying to describe. Not the greatest habit when you write in public places.

Chris Morphew’s writing space.

How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I’ve recently moved to a new apartment which has granted me a space with actual sunlight to write in! I also have a rotating wall of posters and photos and kids’ drawings that has migrated across from the old place. The window in front of my desk is another welcome addition, although I do find myself getting distracted by the birds flitting around in the trees outside (did I mention I’m not so good at working from home?)

Chris Morphew’s office wall.

Do you keep regular writing hours? If not, when do you write?
Last year, I was writing full-time and my hours were all over the place. I’m a pretty fantastic procrastinator, so my scheduled writing time became unscheduled social time (or housework time or Mario Kart time) more often than it probably should have. This year, though, I’m working part-time at a local school, so my week is a lot more structured: my writing times are Tuesday mornings and all day Thursday and Friday. Theoretically, this newly-structured work week will result in the extremely efficient writing of my next draft… but so far that’s only a theory!

The Latest ‘Phoenix Files’ by Chris Morphew, set for release May 2012.

Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
I usually start my mornings by grabbing for my iPad and checking my email, Facebook, YouTube subscriptions, etc. By the time I’ve done that, my brain is usually switched on enough to start thinking about the day’s writing.

Next week Young Adult author Jack Heath is in The Writer’s Studio, sharing his passion for doughnuts and


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