Not too long ago, I lived in North Charleston, South Carolina and, yet, I never knew about author T.H. Morris who lived a short hop, skip, and jump north in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Although we missed each other years ago, we were able to catch up together this week. We had more in common than we knew. Part of the visit was a trip to the gym where we tackled the weight lifting equipment. I think he was as surprised as I was! Thank you beast body dvds from when I was a beachbody coach.
|Terrick Heckstall, aka, T.H. Morris|
After showers and we were both smelling loads better, he invited me over to his house to visit with him and his beautiful bride of six years. The amazing fact that his small town community was 221 and mine was 1200, we were able to chat about things many city folks wouldn’t understand. Like the howl of coyotes that sound so close at night.
We sat out on their back porch as the sun went down. That is when Terrick, aka T.H. Morris, found out I was a beast of an interviewer, as well as, a weight lifter.
K-Trina: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Terrick: I would have to say that it was in the fourth grade. My teacher, Miss Joyner, assigned us the task of writing these nine to ten page “books,” which were simply notebook paper bound with construction paper and yarn. Once we’d written them, she sprung on us that we would be reading them to the other fourth grade class. When I read my little story, a bunch of the kids loved it. That planted the seed in me, and it never left me.
K-Trina: Ah, yes, teachers are awesome. And what a great shout out seeing as this interview is being conducted some kids are starting back to school soon and some have already started. How long does it take you to write a book and what kind of schedule do you have?
Terrick: The 11th Percent took me 2 ½ months. Its sequel was about the same. Now the time frame for the polishing and revisions are another matter entirely! I write 2000-2500 hundred words every morning, bare minimum. Allows me to make a bunch of headway. I write 500-1000 at night. The night plan is a lot more flexible because I feel accomplished so long as I’ve done my 2500 in the A.M. Anything extra after that is always welcome!
K-Trina: I understand. That editing and revising stage is what sets apart a good book from a great book! That is quite an impressive word count to hold to. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Terrick: I like to read when I’m not writing. My quirk is the fact that when I am a writing a book, I have to read a book in that same genre. Since my genre is paranormal, I have to read paranormal while I’m writing. Can’t really explain why. It just keeps all my thoughts aligned, I suppose.
K-Trina: Hey, whatever works to keep the imagination flowing! Know you have to choose: Traditional publishing or self publishing - which is it?
Terrick: I’m self-published and happy to be!
K-Trina: Awesome-sauce! And when you aren't writing, what fills up your time besides weightlifting?
Terrick: I like spending time with my wife, reading, walking in the local arboretum, gaming, and binging on Netflix!
K-Trina: I hardly have time for television or Netflix. My coworkers laugh at my deer in the headlight look when they talk about a movie or television show. What kind of response have you had from your family?
Terrick: They are proud of me, and pleasantly surprised, I’d say. No one ever expected me to write a book. I didn’t even know that I had this in me. Of course, the desire and need was there, but many projects never reached fruition. I was surprised as I don’t know what when I wrote The 11th Percent. I think they feel the same.
K-Trina: It is a wonderful feeling to complete a project - especially a full length novel. What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating your books?
Terrick: This answer may be a long one! The first thing that I learned is that there is always more! Once I put pen to pad (I write longhand before I type), everything—characters, situations, conflicts, needs—just flows into my mind. It’s a lot like meeting new friends that were always around in some way. If you told me five years ago that I would be writing a paranormal mystery series, I would have kindly told you to go to the doctor for a checkup. Yet I’m writing one. A series that will eventually be SEVEN books. And it won’t stop there! I have other ideas after The 11th Percent Series. Four series are sitting in my head right now! Sometimes I still ask myself “Where did all these characters and stories come from?”
I’ve also learned just how strong I can be. Writing The 11th Percent served to waylay so many barriers in my mind. After several abandoned novels, I’d pretty much told myself that the writing ship had sailed. Then The 11th Percent came along. After every doubt, every limit and every put-down, I still wrote it. It just flowed from me like it had been just waiting in my mind for me to locate it. I now know that I am capable of many things that I didn’t believe before. It’s kind of like if “I can write a book, I can do anything.”
K-Trina: Good for you for staying true to yourself and overcoming the doubts that many, if not all, artists feel. It is impressive that you will have seven books in this series. You have written three so far, which is your favorite?
Terrick: I have written The 11th Percent, its sequel Item and Time, and I just completed the manuscript for Book 3, which is titled Lifeblood. The manuscript for lifeblood is my favorite at the moment because it’s where my mind is now! I just love how the story unfolded, and it’s a point in the series that really shifts the landscape that was provided in Books 1 and 2. That may seem rather cliché, but there it is.
K-Trina: I am looking forward to reading them. What suggestions do you have for aspiring authors?
Terrick: Just some advice that I like to give to other who may want to write, but aren’t
quite sure: Always remember why you love writing. Know it, have it in your heart, and keep it close. It will help you when people try to discourage you by remarking on how “tough” the business is. It will reassure when you come across people that aren’t fond of your work (and you won’t please everyone. It’s simply not going to happen). Never, never lose the excitement that you have for creating. And lastly, just write. Write all the time. Write, and keep writing, until your story is finished. And when you have written all you possibly can, write some more.
K-Trina: Great advice! Do you hear from readers much! If so, what kind of stuff do they say?
Terrick: Many readers give high praise to my imagery, as well as the relatable nature of my characters. Another thing that my readers say (and I hear it a lot) is that they haven’t read a story quite like mine. That really warms me to my core. When I referred to my books as a “new breed of ghost story,” it wasn’t meant to be a hyperbole. I truly believed that I’d put a brand new spin on it and made a ghost story that bucked tradition. According to my readers, I did just that. And it makes me smile.
K-Trina: Shivers run down the spine at the mention of ghost stories. Do you like to create books for adults?
Terrick: Oh very much so! This is not meant as a knock, but merely an observation: There is a huge number of paranormal tales out there that entail coming of age. Not a problem in the least. I simply want to show that crazy, wild, and unimaginable things can happen AFTER you’ve come of age as well. That is precisely why the majority of my characters are aged beyond adolescence.
K-Trina: That's great! Older, wiser, more craftier stories! In your opinion, what do you think makes a good story?
Terrick: Characters that I can relate to. Even if the story is wild fiction, I love to have relatable characters. I also like stories where I learn as I go along. And the learning is sometimes random and accidental. No one person is a walking encyclopedia; even the most intelligent of characters are stumped on something. That is probably the best of the best to me: Believable characters and a steady trek for knowledge.
K-Trina: That's true; however, there are times that I don't want to learn because reading is my way of de-stressing. Since I'm taking an online class in addition to working two full time jobs as a mechanic and an author, I look forward to down time. Let's backtrack a bit. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Terrick: Funnily enough, I wanted to be a fireman or a police officer. To my young mind, their jobs were the most exciting things on earth. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized there was a LOT more to it. But nowadays, I adore creating. Like law enforcement and fire control and safety, there is a great deal more to it than meets the eye, but honestly, I couldn’t care less. I just love it. Wouldn’t change a thing!
K-Trina: I think that is great. Thank you for having me here Terrick. You and your wife have been a splendid host. And although I don't want to leave, I must for a short time. Until we meet again, lets leave the reader some contact information for you and how to get your books.
When Jonah Rowe wished for his boring twenty-three years of living to have some meaning, he never imagined that wish would be granted.
His life is forever altered when Jonathan, an enigmatic figure who literally appears from nowhere, tears asunder his illusions about humans using only ten percent of their brain. Jonah discovers that he is an Eleventh Percenter, an ethereal human that has access to a portion of their brain called The Eleventh Percent, which grants him the ability to communicate with spirits and influence the spiritual world itself (a practice known as ethereality). He learns that he is not alone in having access to spirits when he meets fellow Eleventh Percenters who, like him, have to continuously hone the gifts they possess while remaining integrated within the world of Tenth Percenters (non-ethereal humans.) Jonah must also contend with an Eleventh Percenter on the other side of the equation, who has his own schemes and motives for the spiritual world.
As Jonah navigates this new world in which he has found himself, he will begin to learn about true paranormal activity, auras, and the actual nature of life. Understanding them all may very well be his key to survival.
Follow the journey of Jonah Rowe as he goes from unmotivated accountant to the centerpiece of a spectral battle in this new breed of ghost story!
Jonah Rowe’s life is going great. His accounting days are behind him, he has a job in a bookstore that he looks forward to each day, and he has more allies than he can count amongst his fellow Eleventh Percenters.
But when a mysterious woman suddenly invades Jonah’s dreams, warning him of danger of a chronological nature, a game of cat-and-mouse ensues that will intertwine their fates.
Who is this mystery woman, and why does she believe that both she and Jonah are in danger? Will Jonah find all the answers? Will he be able to protect this woman and himself? Most importantly, will he be able to do this before time runs out?
The second installment of The 11th Percent Series brings back familiar faces, while also introducing new ones.
A race against time ensues, spirits abound, and enemies appear in the unlikeliest of places as this new breed of ghost story continues!