Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss
1. What is your novel about?
Synopsis: Gunfire echoes within the walls of a Middle East police compound. Screams of terror are brutally silenced. Police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor, Eliza MacKay.
Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, MacKay. His corrupt superiors have a gun rammed against his skull – maintain the cover-up. Disloyalty to the mayor will be rewarded with being buried alive.
Whatever the cost, his government’s honor must be restored. Secretly, Sharif hunts forensic evidence. Who is responsible for the murder of fifteen American volunteers? And, why did MacKay lie about her identity? He can’t trust her. Her mental illness is going to get both of them killed.
When he receives orders to dispose of MacKay, his Muslim faith is tested. Murder an innocent in cold blood? He will suffer Allah’s eternal wrath.
CIA Agent Hutchinson has the lying Sharif in his cross hairs. Sharif dodges the agent’s traps almost as easily as the hitman on his tail. When Sharif discovers the shocking truth, he loses all hope of survival.
What is worth dying for? Perhaps it’s not bringing a madman to justice. Could it be saving the life of a woman who kick-started his numb heart? On the knife edge of risk, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.
2. What genres would you say this story is in?
Suspense is the dominant genre in Forbidden. American visitors have been viciously murdered. Sharif’s struggle to survive gun battles with Omega’s hitmen permeate each chapter. While abiding by his superiors’ orders, dodging the CIA agent intent on arresting him, and controlling a prisoner with mental illness, his life has become one deadly night shift after another. Even his usual informants are too terrified to talk. The plot moves swiftly capturing the reader with a kidnapping, helicopter assault, assassination, murder and search for forensic evidence.
Woven in are the genres of terrorism, thriller, mystery, and love/romance. Who is responsible for the death of the Americans? When Sharif discovers the truth, he knows there is no chance for him to survive. He is overwhelmed with the need to ensure his prisoner, MacKay, survives and returns to her home. Both Sharif and MacKay are hunted and are forced to face their enemies without weapons and armor. Readers will be shocked with the pairs transformation, overcoming the crippling burden from past tortures.
3. How would you describe this story in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Dances With Wolves had me returning weekly to the theaters for as long as it was showing in our city. I still watch like to watch it over and over again. The characters were fascinating, and the plot kept me engaged every second. The entire movie was an emotional roller coaster. I’ve often hoped their might be a sequel.
5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
The Power of Love sung by Celine Dion. No other songs have brought tears to my eyes, or feel the ache in my heart like The Power of Love.
6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?
My favorite book is actually a non-fiction story. The title is Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It is the most incredible true story of survival against all odds. It has been my inspiration to never give up.
7. What motivated you to write this story?
Terrorism motivated me to write Forbidden. Since the terrible 911 event, fear and hatred has seduced many non-Muslims to see Islam as a threat. My research into Islam and the culture of the moderate Muslims proved to me that the farmer in the Middle East is very similar to my farming Christian parents. As I continued to study the history of the Middle East and Islam, I was inspired by the tenacity of the region’s tribes, and their passion for family values and quest for scientific knowledge. At the same time, my creative DNA began to weave what I was learning into a vision of a struggle for survival. Two main characters, Captain Sharif and Eliza MacKay, came forward showing me the horrors. the corruption, and their readiness to sacrifice everything – except their soul. They told the story of Forbidden.
8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?
The first person that comes to mind is Red Skelton. I love his sense of humor and ability to make people laugh without the need to belittle anyone and without use of profanity.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
My passions are many. Highest on the list are the well-being of animals, especially my four furry friends; two bouncy Shetland Sheepdogs, one feisty long-hair domestic cat, and one short-hair mouser. My neighbors have gotten used to me walking my dogs and cats together – everyone on leash. It’s a frustrating, yet fun challenge. No one agrees on which direction we are going. Leo, the mouser, usually gets his way. By the time we return home, I’m exhausted and thoroughly grounded. I’ve learned a few things while at the other end of the leash. First, don’t be in such a damn rush; and second, it can be fun to just roll around on the grass.
10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?
Marketing is not my strong suit. Recently I attended an author’s convention wherein it was advised to enter the novel in as many contests as possible and get over the shyness of ‘exposing’ myself. Yes, I am blushing. Since then I’ve been on the hunt for opportunities that will put Forbidden in front of adrenalin-charged readers. Thank you for this awesome opportunity.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
The number one tip is to join a writer’s group, both online and in the flesh. It may take a while to find the group that’s right for you. You need to feel comfortable to share your story with strangers (you won’t be strangers for long), and the group should be serious about writing excellent stories. The second tip would be to take courses on writing, editing, publishing and marketing. I also took several courses at our University – night classes. The feedback from classmates gave me much needed confidence. The third tip is to be prepared to slug it out in the trenches for a long time. You can’t rush perfection. My first novel took ten years. Forbidden took almost five years – including the years of research. The final tip? Never bloody give up!
Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson
Camera Operator: Mary Cox