Diverse Author Spotlight is a post series here on Book Deviant where I’ll introduce and interview a marginalized author! You can read the first three on this page!
Molli Moran was born and raised in the South, and brings a love of all things small-town to her romances. She grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds, and not much has changed since then. Molli found her own happily-ever-after on the West Coast. Give her Kay and coffee, and you’ve never seen a happier person. Other things she loves include road trips, the ocean, and Captain America. You can find Molli on Twitter, where she spends way too much time (
@MissMolliWrites). She’s not throwing away her shot.
In the hopes of branching my blog out, I’m excited to introduce Molli Moran to this blog series. Molli is a demigirl who IDs as biromantic demisexual, and uses she/her pronouns. Read below if you’re interested to hear about her books! As usual, I’ll be bolded and AC and Molli will be MM!
AC: Hi Molli! It’s so nice to meet you and have this chat. Would you mind telling us a little bit more about yourself, as well as about your books?
MM: Hi! Thanks so much for having me and for the discussion. I wouldn’t mind at all.
I’m a born and raised Southerner who, because I grew up in a small town, loves writing small town romances. During the day, I’m a retail worker, but I write by night, diving into whatever I’m working on at the moment. If I’m not writing, chances are good I’m either reading, spending time with my girlfriend, curating yet another playlist, or at the lake. I also devote a lot of time (though never enough in his opinion), to my very sassy cat. I’m one of those people who can’t function in the morning without a strong cup of coffee, and I wind down at night with whatever TV show I’m marathoning. Currently, it’s Doctor Who. Yes, again.
My books are steamy romances focusing on characters that fall in the New Adult age range (18-24-ish). My Walker Boys series follows a trio of brothers and their HEAs. My One Song Away is a stand-alone for now, with a f/f companion romance to follow. I know they say not to write what you know, but a small piece of my values and beliefs are in each of my books—two things greatly influenced by my location and upbringing. My tagline is “Southern romances with heart, hope, and heat” because that’s what I hope people think of when they’re discussing my books.
AC: So, I was curious why you chose to write romance. As a big SFF reader, romance has always been on a backburner for me. Why do you personally love the romance genre, and choose to write it?
MM: That’s a fabulous question. Originally, I began by writing YA with a few friends, and it’s still my dream to be a published YA author. But as I began gravitating more toward romance books, I found that I really loved the hope layered into them. The hope that it will get better, friends will be there to lift you up, that anyone can find love. There’s a promise inherent in a romance novel, as well: of a happy ending, whatever that means for that particular character. I love that. I think I write romances to lift up the best things about us all—our friendships and the heart we put into it, the reasons we find to keep going, how we show kindness to others or how we fight for our dreams.
AC: What are some common experiences you have being a romance author, both in your life experiences and your writing? How do these experiences affect you?
MM: So, writing romances has made me actively seek out the good in the world more, I’d say. We live in increasingly turbulent times and it’s more important than ever to stop and pay attention to what makes us happy, what makes us passionate, and what brings us together. For me, I’ve noticed that I tend to live in the moment more than I used to.
I’d also say that some of my real life experiences have played into my writing. While none of my characters are based on me or on anyone I know, I do draw on my relationship with my girlfriend to write my couples. Because of our love story, I’m able to pour my whole heart into the romances that feature couples who are fiercely pursuing their HEA.
AC: If you’re okay with me asking, how do your identities play into your writing?
MM: I’m totally okay with that! I think that my identities and the ways they intersect have changed my ideas of the types of characters I want to write. Growing up sheltered, I began questioning and learning more about myself around the age of the characters I’m writing about. The more I learn, the more at peace I am. But not everyone can safely and openly explore those similar pieces of themselves yet. Or maybe they have been able to, but haven’t come across the book that’s a mirror for them—that representation of them and their pieces that make a whole. I write characters that share some of my marginalizations in the hopes that those books will reach someone who needs those characters—or even reach someone not marginalized and help them learn.
Often, I almost feel like my characters form naturally and it’s never really a conscious choice for one to be queer, fat, have anxiety or depression. They just flow into the page as these flawed, strong people. I’ll be revising a book soon with a character I’m realizing has some of the same intense gender feelings that I do—something I hadn’t even realized about myself yet when I wrote the first draft. So it’s an interesting thing, what finds its way into my work. If someone knows me at all, I don’t think they’re surprised when they see reflections of my passions, politics, and beliefs in my books. 😊
AC: You say your characters flow onto the page–do you ever struggle with writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
MM: Unfortunately, I do. And every time, it’s just the worst, even though I’ve been there before and gotten through it! My mental health impacts my writing, so I’ve learned to make the most of my good writing days. Before I really realized I had anxiety and depression, I often conflated mental-illness-blocks with truly being out of ideas/my creativity just stoppered. Realizing that difference—and to be gentle with myself on bad days—has helped me so much when it comes to pushing through them without being hard on myself.
The longer periods of the kind of block where nothing happens are more difficult. There’s so much flawed advice out there, too, like this idea that real writers must write all the time. I say it’s actually fine if that works for you, but it won’t work for everyone. If I’m blocked, I don’t force myself. In fact, I note what’s happening and give myself permission to pause. Often, I’ll reread some older writing of mine that really spoke to me, and that’s when I tend to read more than ever; soaking up words and craft helps rejuvenate me. I’ll spend some time working on my WIP playlists or watching a favorite show. Sometimes I’ll go for walks or dinner with friends, who are awesome and don’t care if I go on about my writing or ideas. It’s really, for me, acknowledging the block and believing there’s a point where it will evaporate, then being gentle with yourself while you wait.
AC: Besides having writer’s block, what is the hardest thing you have to deal with in your writing?
MM: I think the hardest thing is finding balance between the amount of books that I want to write and the amount of time I can devote *to* my writing. Working a full time Day Job, plus some other obligations does limit my writing time. So, I’ve had to learn to a) prioritize (no skipping ahead to a new project even when it’s shiny and new), and b) set deadlines for myself instead of just saying I’ll finish my current project whenever. Even though life happens and I sometimes have to extend a deadline or change what book I’ll work on next, those two things do help me make the most usage of my time. 😊 Otherwise, I’m likely to spend way too long on any given WIP or dance around between ones and never finish anything. Hahaha.
AC: What’s your favorite part about being a writer?
MM: Wow. That’s a tough one, because I adore so much about being a writer, from seeing my books in paperback form to hearing from readers. But I think my favorite part is just being able to sit down, open my heart, and somehow…let the words flow. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s absolutely magical. To give voices to these characters (who often share one of my marginalizations), who are just out there living and loving, is such an amazing journey. After a writing sprint, I’ll often skim back over what I wrote, and being able to pour emotions into the page, to tie words together into something meaningful—the actual act of writing—it’s therapeutic for me and often, cathartic. It’s an expression and an escape. I don’t pretend to understand how or why some creatives get that writing bug but it’s a wonderful experience.
AC: That must be an amazing feeling. I’m jealous, to be honest. As a final question, which seems to be routine for my author interview posts now: what are three (or more!) books/authors you would like to recommend to readers?
MM: It really is! Hmm, there are so many books and authors I love. But three of my recent reads I loved come to mind. LITTLE DO WE KNOW by Tamara Ireland Stone is a YA contemporary about the friendships we almost lose but realize we need to fight for. I’ve enjoyed all of Tamara’s books! YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT by Lauren Spieller is a really unique YA contemporary about a group of families who travel the country together and what happens when Dessa realizes she wants to pursue her art—and has to come to terms with what it will mean for her traveling. And finally, MARRIAGE OF UNCONVENIENCE by Chelsea Cameron is a really cute f/f romance between best friends who marry for convenience then end up developing feelings for each other.
Thanks so much for the wonderful, insightful questions! It was a blast.
AC: And thank you for agreeing to be on my blog! It was wonderful chatting with you!
Thanks for stopping by!
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