This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here.
Today’s featured author is Clay Morgan – a writer, professor, and speaker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who writes about pop culture, history, and the meaning of life.
He is the author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn.
Most days you can find Clay doing his best Dead Poets Society impersonation at a couple of local colleges where he teaches history and political courses. He believes that most everything can be explained via movie references, song lyrics, and humor.
A proud Gen Xer, Clay has dined with a European president, moonlighted with a Russian spy, walked away from more car wrecks than Evel Knievel, and once took second place in a roller skating limbo contest. Read about similar adventures and more at ClayWrites.com.
Now here are 7 Questions With Clay Morgan:
1. Tell us about your book?
Undead is about what zombies and vampires have to do with our spiritual life and death, that is, what it is that takes us from merely existing to being fully alive. I use pop culture references and humor to tell stories of dead people coming back to life throughout history. The core of these tales comes from first century accounts recorded in the New Testament.
2. What led you to write it?
I was reading about zombies and Jesus at the same time and realized that the Bible is filled with stories of corpses rising from the dead. The impact of that started to really hit me. What are we talking about in Scripture and how does that get filtered through today’s Undead obsessed culture?
3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
Since you’re asking me for one I’ll go with Matt Mikalatos. Someone described him as C. S. Lewis meets Monty Python and I love that. He wrote Imaginary Jesus which just amazed me. In that book I see humor and meaning and creativity. I’m inspired by anyone that can make me cry from laughing on one page and then cause me to well up through a moving passage on the next. Great communication messes with people’s emotions in a measured and caring way.
4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
First thing that comes to mind is the insanely short time frame. Beyond that was the challenge of collaboration for the first real time in my life. Thankfully I worked with people who nurtured my quirky craziness. My style is different, but they supported me.
Most of all, I don’t want to misrepresent truth. It’s hard to write a book like this that isn’t meant to be for just Christians or just skeptics. I mean, some Christians will wonder why there are no altar calls while some skeptics might wonder why I keep bringing up Jesus. But if it works then we can start conversations between people with different philosophies, and that’s so worth it. So it’s a challenge to write a book that can be appreciated at both Bob Jones University and Reed College.
5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
I think we aspire to do things because God places those drives in our hearts. So if you’re an aspiring writer it’s not a glitch in the matrix. Pursue the craft, whether that means writing in a private journal or going after a career to some level. But if you do go after words for a living, know that it’s not an easy road. And then there’s the old Stephen King philosophy: read a lot and write a lot.
6. Where do you get your ideas?
For me, ideas are like bingo balls swirling around in that big ol’ cage, all blurry and out of my grasp, except the cage never stops spinning. I’m always trying to grab one and get a look at it to see if it’s useful to me or not, and if a great one pops up I snatch it and run with it. Although the metaphor breaks down here because why would I run off with a bingo ball?
Seriously though, they come from anywhere. I may have a killer title to a post or book pop in my head. Sometimes they hit while I’m working on a completely different project or reading the Bible or listening to a song. I always have a phone or notebook around to record every promising spark.
7. Anything that you’d like readers to know that I haven’t asked?
A lot of people might think a book like Undead about zombies and stuff isn’t their thing, but it’s about more than that. We all know people who aren’t interested in discussions about some of life’s bigger questions. This book might engage those folks who aren’t so interested in churches or religion. I’m not a theologian or pastor, just a guy trying to be honest about the challenges of life and faith in between references to history and pop culture.
To read more of Clay’s great writing, visit ClayWrites.com.