T.H. Morris is a lifelong writer who was born in 1984 and raised in Colerain, North Carolina. He has been living in Greensboro, North Carolina for the past twelve years. He is an avid reader, primarily in the genre of science fiction and fantasy because he enjoys creating people, situations, and worlds. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and spent several years as a therapist and mental health clinician. He has been writing in some way, shape, or form ever since he was strong enough to hold a pen or pencil, but the expectation of securing and maintaining a traditional 40 hour job was the expectation of all around him. The call of writing never diminished, though, and soon became too powerful to ignore. Morris began writing The 11th Percent in 2011, and is currently working on its sequel. He still resides in Greensboro, with his wife of six years.
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When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
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. (Started early, I like it! Good teachers will do that for you. Go Teachers!)
In what genre do you write?
Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?
Science Fiction, or any other genre that involves stretching my mind beyond the “logical.” I don’t do logical; far too confining, my opinion. (Science Fiction is far out of my comfort zone, but I do want to tackle it one day as well. Good luck!)
What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?
I don’t do in depth plot lines; my mind just doesn’t work that way. What I did was sit down and create bullet points of everything I wanted to cover, and then expand the bullets as I wrote. I did 2500 words a day, not rising until that was met. I write the entire book freehand, and then type it as is. Then I do the revisions. This is the process that works best for me. (You actually met your word count each day? Wow, you’re dedicated. Haha!)
Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?
Sharon Shinn, Beverly Cleary, Lynne Reid Banks, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, Tamora Pierce, Patricia Cornwell, J.K. Rowling, Patti Roberts, Elizabeth Wyke, Dzintra Sullivan, Meg Cabot, James Patterson, Nat Russo, Alan J. Garner, Matthew Arkin. (R.L. Stine! I fangirl over him…like all of the time…all the time)
How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?
My main character, Jonah Rowe, appeared in my head nearly complete and defined; he came to me in a seven-hour, uninterrupted dream concerning the idea for my series. After he came along, the other characters seemed to follow behind him, ready-made and saying “Hello!” Truth be told, I didn’t do too much research. The story just flowed in freefall from my heart. (I love when characters are born that way!)
Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?
Smooth jazz, preferably with no vocals. My favorites to listen to are Boney James, Paul Hardcastle, Wayman Tisdale, and Jeffery Smith
When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?
Spending time with my wife, watching Netflix, exercising, and gaming.
What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?
Discovering that I had this in me. 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?” (Never lose that creative spirit!)
Who created your amazing cover art?
The infinitely talented Patti Roberts of Paradox Cover Art!
Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.
The 11th Percent is a paranormal story that takes place in North Carolina. It follows the everyman Jonah Rowe, who is a bored, unfulfilled, and listless accountant who has literary aspirations. He simply wants his life to mean something. He gets his wish in a very rude fashion; he discovers that he is at the epicenter of an ongoing ethereal conflict.
I would like to say that The Eleventh Percent is a new kind of ghost story. I don’t employ the usage of some of the old tried and true formulas that we’ve seen in ghost stories in the past….all a part of putting my own original edge on a story that’s dear to my heart. I truly think people will love it!
What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?
Sharon Shinn, JK Rowling, or R.L. Stine! (Me too!)
Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?
Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn. It is my favorite because it seems like everything in that books was in the perfect proportions: the action, the suspense, the setting and intricate storytelling, the fear, even the love. In my opinion, Dark Moon Defender is one of the most perfect books ever written. (I can sense how passionate you are about this book!)
What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?
Sharon Shinn’s The Twelve Houses series (Dark Moon Defender is Book 3 of this series.) I would LOVE for that to be made into movies! Or even a multiple season miniseries on Netflix (provided that it is done justice)!
As a reader, what about a book turns you away?
Page upon page of mindless description. That is not to say that description is unnecessary. It’s just that in some books, some authors lose sight of the cutoff point. In those cases, the descriptions just sound like long, dull resumes.
If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?
Normally, I soldier through it. You just never know what you’ll find if you are just a little diligent! (I like it! Soldier on!)
Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?
I like to read around. My main love is anything paranormal, science fiction, or fantasy, but I also read mystery, sports biographies, and self-help. I have a great deal of female author friends who are paranormal romance novelists, so I dabble into that genre as well. I’m never disappointed; they are some truly talented women.
Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?
For the longest time, I was heavily into paperbacks and hardcover. I adore the smell of a new book and the turning of pages. But then, I came across indie authors some years back and was unable to access their stories unless I had access to ebooks. That got me into that avenue. Nowadays, I love all three. (I am the same way. You have to embrace the technology!)
Favorite movie? T
he Batman series that stars Christian Bale.
Favorite TV show?
Anything Star Trek, Alias, and Firefly. (Looooooovvvveeee Firefly!)
If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My wife’s taco stew! (Smart man)
What’s your favorite candy/dessert?
Chocolate chip cookie cake! (YUM!)
What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.
Nirvana, Linkin Park, Rick Ross, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Wale, Boney James, Paul Hardcastle, Justin Timberlake, Iggy Pop
What’s your hidden talent?
Memory retention! (Will you share you talent with me? I have a terrible memory!)
What is your dream vacation?
Oceanfront hotel room at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!
Author Name: Terrick Heckstall (TH Morris-pen name)
Book Links: KINDLE US: http://amzn.to/1tE41Kk
KINDLE UK: http://amzn.to/1wKdsa8
KINDLE AU: http://bit.ly/1nU54VG
KINDLE CA: http://amzn.to/1yKu9mY
The 11th Percent
Jonah closed his eyes and recited the alphabet with three breaths in between each letter. It was a trick he started in elementary school. It always worked wonders for making time pass, and better yet, he rarely EVER finished. It was sure to work. Sure enough, before he had even reached the letter P, Langton called, “Alright, my friends! The workday is now completed! I would like to thank you all for being troopers. Remember, you are helping ALL of us keep our jobs! Good evening.”
Jonah packed his laptop gratefully. That tactic worked every time. He headed for the door, grateful to hear the exit signal’s rhythmic chimes.
It was on the third chime that it happened.
Jonah blinked, a natural occurrence that he had done a billion times. Only in this momentary closing of his eyes, he opened them to bear witness to a very strange phenomenon. The world around him—the office, the parking lot, the cars, everything—looked blue.
They were perfectly normal in every other regard, but it seemed someone had shaded his vision with cerulean. Alarmed, he glanced around and blinked hard. It made no difference. The blue veil remained.
His eyes shot up to the sky, which now had an even darker hue because of the blue veil over his eyes.
What the hell is going on? he wondered wildly. What had happened? Had he damaged his eyes? Had he suddenly contracted some rare disease that had polarized his eyes and resulted in a permanent tinge of blue?
“Jonah Rowe,” said a voice.
He whirled around. A woman stood there, swaddled in what looked like fading lights. Her hair was dark, made darker by the bluish tinge. Her eyes were wide-set and full of fear. She might have been pretty if she didn’t look so horrified and desperate.
“Jonah Rowe,” she repeated again.
“What is going on?” demanded Jonah. “Why is everything blue? Who are you?”
“Jonah Rowe,” she said for a third time. Her voice was as strange as her appearance; it sounded like a two-or three-part harmony. She also sounded like she spoke to him from several yards away, though she stood right in front of him. “You must help us all. You have the power. Help us. Please.”
Jonah was more confused than ever. “What power? What are you talking about, lady? And tell me why everything is blue!”
“You are the one,” said the woman. “You must help us cross on. He has blocked the path.”
Jonah backed away from her. “Lady, I don’t know who you are, or who he is, and I don’t know anything about any paths! Now tell me what’s going on!”
“You must help us! Please, Jonah Rowe! You have the power. Please—!”
She disappeared. It looked as though it had been against her will, like she’d been yanked into thin air. The silence left in her absence seemed even more frightening than her disconnected voice.
Then a cat’s meow whipped Jonah around once more, almost like his body was moved in response to the sound.
He now saw, if possible, an even stranger sight. A calico cat stared at him while pawing at the shin of a tall man that Jonah swore had not been there moments before. He looked to be in his late thirties, and was as calm as could be. He looked like this scene was entirely normal. Although the blue color shaded everything, Jonah could tell the man had a ruddy complexion and brownish black hair. His penetrating eyes looked like they could be grey. He had aquiline features and a demeanor that was almost regal. His casually dressed and cloaked form appeared to be shrouded in lights, just like the woman’s form had been.
“Yes, Bast,” he said quietly, “I see now. It is indeed him. You have done well.”
His eyes rose to Jonah. “Jonah Rowe,” he said in an ominous tone, “I will be seeing you again. Go home now. Do not leave. I know who you are now. Unfortunately, he does too.”
Jonah stared. Was this some kind of joke? Who was this man? What was the deal with the cat? Why was the man talking to it? And where did he get off telling Jonah to go home and stay there?
“Look, man,” he said, fear and incomprehension blending to form a high pitched voice most unlike his own, “I don’t have a clue what’s going on—”
“You do not,” interrupted the man. “But you will, son. You will. Heed my warning.”
Jonah opened his mouth to retort, but the man disappeared in a swirl of light. The calico gave him one more look of appraisal, and then dashed into a nearby alley. Jonah blinked again.
Everything was normal. The deep blue sky was the only thing that was that color as the late afternoon gave way to evening. Incoherent chatter, passing cars, and bustling people once again dominated the scene.
Jonah looked around. There was no weird woman, no cat, and no tall, regal-looking man. He blinked again, just to make sure, but nothing had changed. Normalcy was evident in every detail of his environment.
“Um, Jonah,” said an annoyed voice, “If you don’t mind, some of us actually have lives to live.”
Jessica was behind him; he was blocking her path. With a jolt, he realized he was back at the threshold of the office, at the exact spot where the weirdness had begun. How was he back where he started? He had moved at least five feet from the door when the world went blue, yet here he was like nothing had happened at all.
“Jessica,” he breathed, “Didn’t you see that? Didn’t you see that blue?”
Jessica rolled her eyes and pushed past him. “I don’t know what you’ve been using, Rowe, but the only thing blue out here is my car.”
She headed to her car, leaving Jonah bewildered and confused. He had barely even registered her snide comment. The only thing blaring in his mind was one question:
What the hell had just happened?