There are three things in my life that I am most passionate about: my identity as a Deaf person, my spirituality as a Pagan, and my love for writing. It’s not often that I find kindred souls who share all three interests, but when I do they generally become good friends.
Such is the case with David Alan Morrison, whom I fondly know as “Dave.”
On his website, Dave describes himself as “a playwright, sign language interpreter, and SCUBA instructor.” Those are his passions, and he incorporates them into his life quite well. Possessing a Master’s in Theatre Arts, he’s performed both on the stage and in film, directed such plays as “Murder On the Nile,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “Hello Dolly,” and currently teaches Drama at Skagit Valley Community College outside of Seattle. Having worked as a sign language interpreter for over twenty years, Dave holds national certification from both RID and NAD, and has provided his skills in various situations; particularly the courtroom, since he is also certified as an Interpreting Legal Specialist (SC:L). And whenever possible, Dave likes to don a wetsuit and take the plunge, exploring life under the waves wherever he can find diveable water.
But it’s his writing I am most interested in learning about, and particularly his most recent publication: Guild of Immortal Women. A fantasy whodunnit, the book tells the story of a coven of witches who make their home at “The Bastille.” When two bodies are found on the grounds, Detective Matt Mathers and social worker Lynn Swanson must solve the murder mystery while dealing with magick, medievalism, and evil missions.
Politely declining Dave’s suggestion that we strap on the scuba gear and conduct this interview underwater (after all, our signs could still be seen and understood), I opted instead to stick to terra firma. Thus we settled ourselves down in comfy chairs on the beach, where in between questions we could enjoy our favorite beverages: a mug of Seattle’s Finest Coffee for Dave, and a pot of Hibiscus Herbal Tea for me.
Ocean: How did the book come to be?
Dave: The women of GUILD have been hanging out in the ethers for a while. In 2007 my father died. It was quite unexpected and took me by surprise. We had been estranged for most of my life and we had just spent the last couple of years rebuilding a relationship. I went to my best friend’s house to do some healing and she told me about this idea she had. I thought the idea was brilliant, but didn’t do much with it until months later when I decided it was time to stop watching BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and join the human race again.
Ocean: How do you incorporate your spiritual beliefs into the book?
Dave: I have woven many Pagan ideas throughout the book: reincarnation, communing with the natural world and, of course, the idea that we exist in many realms simultaneously. One can say that is the whole premise of the book.
Ocean: How easy was it to write a mystery as opposed to other genres of writing?
Dave: I don’t consider GUILD a “mystery” in the sense of a “whodunnit.” I like to think that it is a story which unfolds over time.
Ocean: What was the biggest challenge to writing this book?
Dave: Editing. Always the editing. Writers get so caught up in their work they forget to see the story through the eyes of a reader who wants a good story with great characters. About half of the book never made it to publication.
Ocean: You are a sign language interpreter. Does any aspect of your profession find its way into the book?
Dave: Yes, actually. When I write, I try to think about the visual component – I ask myself how much of these words would look like a movie in peoples eyes? The whole notion that people see pictures in their heads has revolutionized how I describe things in written English.
Ocean: What are your future writing plans?
Dave: I’d like to go back to school for a second Masters – an MFA in Creative Writing. For the last couple years, I’ve been focusing on my work in the theatre: building a director’s resume, performing in shows I’ve always wanted to do…things of that nature. Lately, though, the desire to sit down and tap out another book has grown within me. It’s time to isolate myself again.
Ocean: You’re also an actor. Any possibility of adapting this book for the stage?
Dave: This is a great question – one I’ve never thought of. I don’t think so. I feel an adaptation of the book will force much of the humor out of the experience. Much of what makes these people funny is their own thoughts of inadequacy, confusion and life. That kind of internal “am I good enough” debate seems to lack something in translation.
Guild of Immortal Women is now available on Amazon.com, where it just came out earlier this month. You can order it via this link:
It’s already garnered one 4-star rating, where the customer describes it as “an exciting, engrossing fun ride that draws you right in, from the get-go.” If you’re wanting an autographed copy, you can contact Dave directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Kindle version is also available, and can be found at this link:
If like me you’re a witch who enjoys a good mystery, or as Dave describes it “a story which unfolds over time;” a “fun blend of medieval, fantasy magic with the modern day;” a book incorporating a zany cast of unforgettable characters, you might want to put Guild of Immortal Women on your reading list.
It could be just the thing for the upcoming Samhain celebration.