Saturday, 30 March 2013

#OBSpringFling - Author Interview - Terri Morgan



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#OBSpringFling


What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? My favorite quote, which I have hanging up on the wall above my computer is “To achieve, we must first attempt.” I don't know who said or wrote it; I found it years ago in a surfing magazine advertisement. I like this quote because it reminds me that to accomplish anything in life I need to take that first step.

What's your favorite place in the entire world? My hometown of Soquel, in Santa Cruz County, California. I moved to the county, which is along California's Central Coast in 1976 to go to college. I fell in love with the area and have been here ever since. Almost every day, when I'm out walking or driving, I comment on how beautiful it is here, and how lucky I am to live here.

When did you first know you could be a writer? I've been interested in writing since I was in elementary school, and used to write short stories. I never thought I could make a career out of writing until college. I was taking a science writing class, and initially was struggling with my assignments. One day, everything just clicked, and I knew then and there I could make a living as a non-fiction writer. I've since written a novel, and now I really consider myself to be a true writer.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first eight books were commercial non-fiction projects, so I consider my novel to be the first book I was truly inspired to write. I've always been fascinated by people, their behavior, and what makes people behave the way they do. One day a friend of mine mentioned she had met a woman who grew up with two schizophrenic parents. I thought that would make a great premise for a novel, and that conversation became the genesis for Playing the Genetic Lottery.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Writing my first novel taught me a tremendous amount about fiction writing, publishing, marketing and how much easier it is to write a book than to market it successfully. But I think the most important thing writing Playing the Genetic Lottery, which is a fictional memoir of a woman who grew up with two schizophrenic parents taught me is how prevalent the illness is. One out of 100 people is afflicted by the disease; a fact that I find astonishing. The other thing writing this book taught me is how important it is to be compassionate to people who are living with mental illness.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Coming from a career in non-fiction I've learned the value of research. I learned everything I could about schizophrenia before I sat down to write my novel.

Have you ever had writer's block? Yep. What do you do about it? It depends on what's causing it. Sometimes I get blocked when I haven't fully figured out what I want to write. When that happens, I take some time to think about what I want to say. Other times, I get blocked because I'm tired or overwhelmed. When that happens, I turn off the computer, go surfing, work in the garden, or play with my dog. I find I need to recharge my mental batteries to stay productive.

How did you come up with the title? Every couple that brings a child into the world is playing the genetic lottery. In most cases, the result is a child that has one parent's eyes, the others' nose and the hair color of a close relative. In the case of parents with schizophrenia in their family, the genetic lottery can be more serious consequences. Schizophrenia has a genetic component, so the chance of passing on a serious disease to another generation is something many people, like my protagonist, are very concerned about when they are deciding whether or not to have children.

Who designed the cover? I had a rough idea of what I wanted the cover to look like, and I asked my nephew Tyler and his girlfriend, Alejandra, to pose for me. My brother's girlfriend, who is a gifted graphic artist, took my photo and ideas, and added to them. The result is a cover that generates a lot of compliments, which are due to Katja's efforts more than mine.

Who is your publisher? I am. I self-published the novel.

How do you promote this book? I give book talks at bookstores and often guest speak at local service club meetings. I also have a website, facebook page, a blog, and guest blog whenever I can. I hired Donna Huber, the girl-who-writes, to help me publicize my book, and she's come up with a lot of great promotional ideas that have helped boost my e-book sales.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes. I hope my readers come away with a sense of compassion for people who are living with schizophrenia, and a respect for their family members and caregivers. Nobody chooses to get schizophrenia, and you don't get it because you did something bad. It's just luck of the draw, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

How much of the book is realistic? My novel is entirely a work of fiction, but I have had people who are living with mental illness, as well as others who work with people who are mentally ill, say it's very realistic.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? I included a few private jokes, the names of some of my favorite restaurants and the dates of several family members' birthdays in the book. I also drew a little on some of my own experiences. The bulk of the book, however, is completely fictional.

What are your goals as a writer? To write books people will enjoy reading, and hopefully, come away thinking about the characters and the story long after they've finished the book.

Who is your favorite author and why? John Steinbeck is my favorite author, and I reread a lot of his great works every five to ten years. He created very memorable characters, and he wasn't afraid to portray the darker side of life and the human experience.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I'm always reading! I read an average of 3-4 books a week. Between my e-reader, the library, my book club and suggestions from friends I've always got something to read. Because there is so much reading material available, if a book doesn't interest me, I put it down and move onto something else.

Do you have any advice for writers? Just do it. Writing isn't complicated, and there's no secret formula for success. If you can think and talk, you can write.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I read, exercise, hang out with friends and family, and play with my dog. I also garden, surf, take part in a book club, and love to take pictures. I have no trouble unwinding!

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I'd have to say non-fiction. I've been a journalist for over 30 years, so obviously I have had a lot of experience writing non-fiction articles for newspapers, and magazines, as well as books. Writing a novel was a new experience for me. I've very proud to have written my novel, and would love to write another one, even though I am more comfortable writing non-fiction.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Fictional Memoir (PG13)
Connect with Terri Morgan on Facebook

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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