Interview with Terry Morgan

On Smashwords all of your books are offered free of charge. They are not short novels so each of them must have taken a very long time to write. So why?
It's a good question but I have my reasons.
Yes, each of my five published e-books on Smashwords are free even though all except one exceed 100,000 words. I charge for self-published paperback versions but never get time to market them properly and they never contribute to overheads and other costs.
Let me explain my viewpoint.
Writing was always a hobby. Twenty years of scribbling when I was quiet, alone and able to escape into my own thoughts for just a few hours. I could make myself laugh or cry or put into words serious thoughts that I knew would never get spoken aloud - deep thoughts, controversial, political, sensitive, very private ones. My first full length novel took me ten years to get it to a state where I was sufficiently confident to self publish.
Now: If I had charged my time at even a minimum wage for ten years at only one hour a day I reckon a return of 40,000 dollars might just be enough to break even. The arithmetic is open to challenge but it's either a bit less than 40,000 dollars or, more likely, ten times more - it depends how you value your time. My five subsequent novels have at least quadrupled the time I've spent writing. and quadrupled what I'd expect as a return if I was doing it for a living. But I expected nothing and got nothing because it was just a hobby.
There's an awful lot of published trash out there - a lot of it 'written' by established names, celebrities, politicians and sportsmen who actually get others to write for them. If you want to read it, feel free - buy it.
Likewise, if anyone likes my stuff enough to invest their time and money then good, go ahead, offer me a deal. That's when I'll start to negotiate a price that might offset some of my expense. On the other hand if mine is also trash then tell me. I still won't mind because I've enjoyed the writing.
The modern writing/publishing business is increasingly complicated, made more so because literary agents have failed to move with the times. They have missed, and are still missing, so much good literature written by total unknowns.
The other reason is that books, like so many other commodities, are grossly undervalued because of the economics and the need for mass appeal. In UK I can buy a paperback in a Tesco supermarket at a price that barely covers printing costs. What is the point of writing good stuff if, just at the end point where you might expect to earn a reasonable return for years of time and effort, you are treated like the bags of Tesco's mixed vegetables on the next shelf?
I, for one, do not want to be treated like that. But feel free to argue with me!
What are you working on right now?
My last big novel, "Whistleblower" was published last year. It was politics again - greed and corruption within the system - the frustrated side of me coming out. And the main character was an ex businessman, a short-lived politician and a man who never quite fitted the mould. Just look at his picture on the front cover!
But, as usual, that triggered another idea and that's what I'm working on now. Another epic but this time it's politics and terrorism in Africa and the West's utter disinterest in dealing with it. It's tentatively called "An Honourable Fake" and the main character is a flamboyant Nigerian "fake preacher" from a slum childhood driven by a desire to see a radically different approach to dealing with Africa - the terrorism, the poverty and the corruption that only ever succeeds in making the poor poorer. But this guy is not your usual sort of fake preacher only interested in making money. He's much more of a politician - one living increasingly dangerously through his actions and his criticism of others.
As he constantly reminds his audience, hundreds of Africans are killed daily by terrorists but it never triggers any genuine desire to help in the West - certainly no effective military response. Hence it's spreading.
But, as he says, "watch what happens when a few wealthy westerners sunbathing on a beach in Tunisia get mown down or there is an attack on a cartoonist's office in Paris.The world mourns for weeks."
As usual with my writing, the main character is a man and because I try to make the things I write about plausible then I'm constantly checking the news.
I find I can't write (to my own satisfaction) about women, Men's emotions seem much deeper to me in that men hide them. Women cry with visible, wet tears. Men mostly cry behind closed, dry eyes. Dig deep and you'll understand.
Is that to be seen as sexist? It's not meant to be. The sexes have to be different, or we'd never have got here.
But I'm someone who sets himself objectives (it's my business past) so my plan is to finish this next one and get it out on Smashwords by mid 2016. My website/blog gives a flavour of the sort of dialogue.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Of course!
It was "An Old Spy Story".
An emotional roller coaster and I couldn't have written it without having done a few of the things the main character "Ollie Thomas" did.
Think what you like about that comment!
You mention on your website that you have travelled a lot with your own business. Where have you been?
All over the world - Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, North America.
I've never done South America but covered most of the rest.
It adds up to around 76 countries - some visited so many times I've lost count.
But I'm now settled - married you see! Settled in Thailand that is, not the UK.
The UK and Europe frustrates me too much - it might explain some of the political stuff I write.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm not a great small talker, preferring to think before I open my mouth.
Sometimes I probably think too much, but writing releases feeling, emotion, experience. You can never correct words spoken aloud. What's said is said. Writing gves you a chance to think before you put something on the record.
I'm a serious sort of writer but I've written things that make me laugh and cry as I'm writing.
In fact if I go back to my first novel, "An Old Spy Story" there are parts in there that still make me laugh and cry and I know from the reviews and comments I've received that it has had the same effect on others. Just check out my website and see the reviews for "An Old Spy Story."
The greatest joy of writing is describing about people's thoughts, their emotions and their feelings. No video or movie can ever do that in quite the same way, which is why I try to encourage young people to read more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The dawn breaking.
Have you ever lived in rural Thailand?
It's the best time of the day - cooler and fresher, the birds are singing, the fish are jumping in the lake and the sun is just appearing over the hills behind the palm trees.
But that's not all - it's my business background again - always something I need to do with a short deadline.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Gardening, bird watching, photography..............that'll do
I'm in Thailand - can I add 'eating'?
What do your fans mean to you?
Not sure I've got "fans".
I've got close friends and acquantances scattered around - and a lot of strangers out there.
Who are your favourite authors?
Mostly men: John Grisham, Frederick Forsyth, John Le Carre, Michael Connelly, Gerald Seymour, Robert Goddard, Robert Harris and, quite recently, C J Sansom.
I can't buy decent English language books out here unless I go down to Bangkok so I download everything. How I'd live without the technology of e-publishing I don't know. Long live Smashwords.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's given me a platform - a site to point readers to.
And the uploading system is so straightforward - I make a few errors now & again but all my fault and soon fixed.
Published 2017-02-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Red Lantern
Price: Free! Words: 35,220. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A selection of six short stories about international crime, corruption and terrorism taken from five of the author’s full-length novels – An Old Spy Story, Whistleblower, Vendetta, An Honourable Fake and Bad Boys.
Vendetta
Price: Free! Words: 94,400. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Eccentric and untidy Oxford University Professor “Eddie” Higgins is the ‘scientific adviser’ to a local cosmetics company run by its new and vivacious chief executive, Isobel Johnson. It doesn’t begin well. “Yours is an industry dogged by exaggerated claims, impossible claims and false claims,” he tells her. So, can they work together to expose the Asian gang that has infiltrated the company?
An Honourable Fake
Price: Free! Words: 103,600. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » General, Fiction » Inspirational
Gabriel Joshua has risen from the Makoko slums of Lagos, Nigeria, to become an internationally acclaimed speaker on African poverty, the economy, terrorism, corruption and fraud. But being a hero for some means becoming an enemy to others who see him as a threat to their own power. An African thriller.
Whistleblower
Price: Free! Words: 125,740. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Classics
(5.00 from 1 review)
Huge amounts of international aid money are being stolen by those at the heart of the political establishment. Ex politician, Jim Smith, threatened and harassed into fleeing abroad for accusations of fraud secretly returns to renew his campaign. An epic thriller covering events in the USA, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia about a stubborn man refusing to fit into any stereotype.
God's Factory
Price: Free! Words: 12,100. Language: British English. Published: July 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Arthur Godley, proprietor of Godley's Garden Gnomes and Godley Investments meets his maker in unusual circumstances and, in the process, learns a few costly lessons. A twenty first century version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".
The Cage
Price: Free! Words: 17,770. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Classics
(5.00 from 1 review)
Set around the year 2050 when overpopulation is causing food and energy shortages, mass unemployment, social tension and civil conflict. An ex politician and professor of biology talks to a grandson no longer able to cope with life in an overcrowded city. A follow-up to 'The Malthus Pandemic', this hard-hitting short novel is based on original facts and forecasts. Not for the faint hearted.
The Malthus Pandemic
Price: Free! Words: 127,700. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: December 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
A virologist with extreme views on population control has created a new virus - 'Malthus A'. International crime investigator, Daniel Capelli, unravels a plot to help spread the virus in return for profits from treatments and counterfeit drugs. But can Capelli and his colleagues in London, USA, Thailand, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria persuade politicians and international crime agencies to act in time?
An Old Spy Story
Price: Free! Words: 124,650. Language: British English. Published: May 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Adventure » General
Eighty six years old and recently widowed, ex international businessman and reluctant spy Ollie Thomas decides it is still not too late to deal with his past. Arrested at the airport on suspicion of murdering another old man in Spain, Ollie's vivid reminiscences of his exotic working life and long love for wife, Sarah, blend to explain why he decides to track down and deal with his 'controller'.