1. Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
The title, Sniggerless Boundulations, came to me in a dream. It is essentially jibberish, but as an invented phrase, linguistically, it means a calculated step forward, which is what I was attempting to do with my life at the time.
2. When writing do you prefer typing or long hand with pen and paper?
I write most first drafts with pen and paper, I re-write and edit on the computer so I can rearrange paragraphs and restructure the prose with the power of cut and paste.
3. Do you manage to write every day?
Not even close. I write fairly sporadically. I keep an ideas journal that I jot things down in fairly regularly, but I mostly write when in the company of my writer friends, at writing days and groups and festivals, and sometimes, if a fully formed story is begging to get out of my head, I will stop and crack out paper and pen whether im on a train or waiting in a queue or for a dinner date or an event. Waiting for things to start, that’s where the magic happens.
4. How do you conceive your plot ideas?
My stories are not plot-driven, but the key moments of action or interaction that my characters experience are often centred around salient points that I want to convey to the reader for their consideration. I try to drop the reader in to that crucial moment in a character’s life where the character changes.
5. What is one book everyone should read?
Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve, a dystopic feminist novel, it’s a real trip and a gender bender. You will question everything you know about relations between men and women, and the imagery will stay with you forever.
6. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Two novels I recently read are Ann Leary’s The Good House and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I like a bit of suspense, some domestic drama, and strong deeply flawed characters. For the art of the short story done beautifully I can’t go past Cate Kennedy’s collection Dark Roots.
7. What is your favorite part of a book?
A good last line or last paragraph. Something that ties it all together but is still unexpected. One of the best is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World: “Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of feet. Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east….”
8. Do you buy a book by the cover?
I am the worst for buying books based on their covers, well a combination of the cover design and back blurb and dust jacket quotes etc, all the bits that are pure marketing. In recent years I have been trying to make a point of reading the first paragraph to see if I like the writing style and if the story has a good early hook.
9. Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I thought the film of The Devil Wears Prada was better than the book. They changed the characters substantially in the screenplay to make them more complex with more universal themes and punchier dialogue.
10. Night owl, or early bird?
Total night owl. I have gone through periods in my life where I would stay up all night writing and sleep all day. There have been recent sleep studies that identified that being a ‘lark’ (early bird) or a ‘night owl’ is a genetic predisposition. There is an alarm clock gene. In hunter-gatherer society we night owls were the watchmen and lookouts, protecting the rest of the tribe while they slept. We were also the creatives, intellects, and deviants, jumping in bed with other men’s wives (or women’s husbands) under the cloak of darkness.
11. One of your favorite quotes –
“Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche. A powerful warning against becoming the thing you most fear due to studying it.
12. What are you scared of? Bugs, Snakes?
Snakes and bugs don’t worry me, I wouldn’t go out of my way to hang out with them but I don’t get panicked by their proximity. I am actually really scared of being near amusement park rides, especially those that swing around creating centrifugal forces. I don’t like to be anywhere near them because I fear them flying off. They always seem to be full of rusty bolts, and when not in use they sit unmaintained in a carnie’s backyard. I have a standard fear of heights, and a peculiar fear of pregnancy.
13. Who is your favorite actor?
I am a huge fan of Tom Hardy, he is an acting genius. He has very emotive eyes and brings complexity to stereotypical villains. I just love everything he does, including stoic hillbilly in Lawless, homeless alcoholic in Stuart: A Life Backwards, Bane, Heathcliff, and Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. He is the best character actor working today.
14. Where in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I would love to go on a geological tour of Iceland, and a zoological tour of the Galapagos Islands. I like to keep it nerdy at all times.
15. You get to travel in a Time Machine, do you go to the past or the future?
I would like to go to the future, hopefully a nice future where cancer has been cured and conflicts have been solved and the average person has a nice happy productive life where they can contribute to the community with whatever their best skills are and afford to have families and a roof over their heads without undue stress or struggle. I am such an idealist. I watched a lot of Star Trek Next Generation and Voyager as a kid, that’s kind of how I imagine the future.
16. If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
I would love to be Helena Bonham Carter. I often joke she is living my life, she has my fluffy unruly hair, porcelain skin, pseudo-gothic sensibilities, eccentric fashion, droll sense of humour and vague memory. But she gets to dress up as witches and hang out with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton all day.
17. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
It would be called Queen Boxi, my online handle for most social media including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It stems from playing dress-ups with my drag queen friends and choosing the name Boxi Von Toona. It’s all a bit of a laugh, but I know it will find its way into my written work sooner or later.
18. What advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Keep your sentences short. Do not use adjectives. Show, don’t tell. Break these rules every once in a while to prove you’re not a robot.
19. Where can readers find you?
” … there is the authorial refusal to gratify the reader’s expectations, a constant urge to transcend banality at the same time as studying it and the pathos of comedy and poignancy finding expression in identical and excruciating moments. Unaffected, without warning, Bell’s narratives produce a discomforting aesthetic, taking hold of the awkward and suspending that tender unease for as long as the prose can cope … ” (R. B. Fortune-Wood)
Debut collection of short stories by indie Australian author Morgan Bell. A cross-section between dreams and reality. An examination of the horrors of life, with plenty of peering, in the form of vignettes, micro fiction, flash fiction, and short stories.
Themes include fear, time, aging, anxiety, and jealousy.
This collection of fifteen stories contains bizarre medical conditions, industrious creatures, conniving cops, killers, dead bodies, a rescue mission, homoeroticism, nonchalant students, a secret garden, and the road to hell.
Contains the stories:
The Tunnel (173 words)
Deep Water (127 words)
Shark Fin Soup (507 words)
The Dermoid Cyst (384 words)
Mrs Jackson (644 words)
It Had To Be Done (206 words)
Granted (1034 words)
The Package (482 words)
Strings & Ribbons (131 words)
Mini Play (485 words)
Tiptoe Through The Tulips (523 words)
Poppycock (327 words)
Telfer Speck (1499 words)
Earth Mites (409 words)
Garsdale (539 words)
“Hell is the next suburb over.’ (21 January 2014)
Review by R.B. Fortune-Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars
By way of preface for the impressionistic vignettes to follow, Morgan Bell starts her collection of short stories and microfictions with `The Tunnel’–a condensed domestic drama in one scene. Rooted in an Australian postmodernity of iPhones, xenophobias, hopes and political clichés, the reader is treated to an odd assortment of quibbles resolved by pop TV references; eavesdropping on hypercondriacs; a yuppie kid’s trove of unwanted shoes; neighbourly voyeurism; the truisms of hand-me-down cop wisdom, &c. all suggesting that ‘Sniggerless Boundulations’ is an expansive genre as much as a simple title. Like a hybrid of unfiltered reality, humanist morality play and whimsical Bizzaro.
There is great variety of content and form, encompassing the macabre twist of `It Had To Be Done’, surreal comeuppance of `Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ and nihilism of `Earth Mites’ rendered as a joke at Gaia’s expense. However, tying it together, there is the authorial refusal to gratify the reader’s expectations, a constant urge to transcend banality at the same time as studying it and the pathos of comedy and poignancy finding expression in identical and excruciating moments. Unaffected, without warning, Bell’s narratives produce a discomforting aesthetic, taking hold of the awkward and suspending that tender unease for as long as the prose can cope, `It was not heaven, nor was it hell.’
About this author
Morgan Bell is a young Australian woman, born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1981.
She attended primary school in the regional areas of New South Wales, including the Northern Rivers and South Coast, lived in Newcastle during her high school years, and has lived in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Tasmania as an adult.
Morgan is university educated in civil engineering, traffic engineering, technical communications, linguistics, and literature.
Morgan is passionate about gay rights and has her finger on the pulse of issues affecting the queer community in Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne. She has a diverse network of gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgendered friends.
Morgan enjoys the visual and performing arts and can often be found at a stage show, cinema, gallery, or drag routine, she enjoys independent music and film, contemporary dance, musical theatre and dining out at cafes and restaurants in the city.
Morgan is heavily involved in the Newcastle creative writing scene, including Newcastle Writers Group, the Hunter Writers Centre “Grieve” short story competition, Newcastle Writers Festival, Poetry At The Pub (Wickham), Speech Night (Royal Exchange) and the She: True Stories short story competition.