Friday's 5 with Stan Morris

I remember it being a cold, windy day on the beach at Half Moon Bay.  We were coming home from camp where I had been a counselor for sixth graders.  The sky was overcast, but because we had been camping in the California coastal mountains, we had on warm clothing and good sturdy shoes, so other than keeping my hands in my pockets, I was semi-enjoying the beach.
The commotion began in the parking lot where the yellow school buses were stationed.  Looking back, I think one of the bus drivers must have been informed over her radio, and she passed the dreadful news to counselors and kids standing nearby.  The information quickly spread.  Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Around me people began crying.  I was stunned, but not so much by the news, since from 1963 the United States had been experiencing a wave of assassinations, especially in the ranks of civil rights workers.  I was stunned by the reaction of the crowd.  At seventeen I learned that my generation was ready to move on, to leave America’s racist past behind.  It was a day of tragedy, but it was also a day of triumph.
As a writer I look back to that moment sometimes, and I think about how important it is to remember that most teenagers do have a moral compass, and how when it counts, clothes, sex, school, social media, and other distractions will be put aside, and our common values will be embraced.  I never forget that, for the most part, our children will be better men and women than we are.

 I’m Stan Morris, and I’m so old, Josef Stalin was still alive when I was born in Linwood, California. Growing up, I lived in Norwalk and Concord, California. In 1972, I moved to New Mexico. I met a teenager at college in 1975, set out to score, and have been married to her since 1977. Early on, my wife and I made a deal.  She would have the career, and I would stay out of jail.  It’s worked, so far.  We lived in Texas for five years, and then we moved to Maui, her home state. Yes, the weather is wonderful.  We raised two boys, both gainfully employed, thank goodness. I worked at a variety of jobs before developing a computer business in the late 1980's. Now we are both retired and living on a farm. I garden, watch sports, listen to music, read, and write. I don't make much money at it, so occasionally I have to ask my wife for an allowance. I like science fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Weber, Flint), romance (Krentz, Roberts, Morisi, Chesney), mystery (JD Robb, MC Beaton), historical fiction (Lindsey, Stewart), and history books (Shelby Foote, David McCullough, William J. Bernstein.)

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) Excellent question, because I usually get asked when I began writing (age 14).  I got serious about writing in 2008.  For a long time I had wanted to write a post-apocalypse book showing teenagers working together to create a society.  It was my rejection of the concepts from Lord of the Flies.  I wanted a book that brought out the best in people.  That book was Surviving the Fog.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) The greatest difficulty I have is describing a scene when the characters are not speaking to me.  I have that trouble right now.  One of the main characters in the book I writing, Howard the Red, is not opening up and telling her story.  It's exasperating.

Click on the cover for more info.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) It was a good feeling to see Surviving the Fog offered at ebook sites.  Those were the days before Smashwords and Kindle Digital Publishing.  I am task oriented, and the completion of the book was the end of the task, though I have edited the book from time to time and have uploaded newer versions.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I don't see how one can be more important than the other.  No matter how interesting the story is, if the reader can't empathize with the characters the book fails.  The alternative is also true.  Great characters are boring if they sit on their hands.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  I get up around 7am on weekdays, stagger into the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, stagger to my man cave and start my computer.  Then I turn on the tube which is usually set to CNBC.  About 8:30am I walk for exercise, and then I return to my computer.  On Thursdays and Fridays I start watching PGA golf at 9:00am.  Since I live in Hawaii, watching sports on the mainland starts early; sometimes at 6:00am, so I get up earlier during the weekend.  I'm retired, and my time is my own.  I live on a small farm, so I exercise in the afternoon by doing farm work.  At night, I might spend one or two hours watching television.  I listen to music, read, and garden

Books by Stanley Morris

Surviving the Fog 
Surviving the Fog-Kathy’s Recollections
Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure
Sam’s Winnings (Tales of the Ragoon)
Kate’s Movie Star (Tales of the Ragoon)
Amy’s Hero (Tales of the Ragoon)
The Colors of Passion and Love
What’s in My Shorts (short stories)

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