Archive for March 2007

Fiction as Autobiography

March 21, 2007

The Troth
You don’t create fiction out of nothing — ex nihilo, like God creating the universe. Rather, you use the stuff of life, mostly the life you know best –your own life.

I’m not saying authors never write about things they disagree with or that every scene is somehow a mirror of an author’s soul. I’m merely saying that authors, to a greater or lesser extent, reveal themselves in their work.

At a basic level an author of fiction reveals his story telling skill: use of plot, character, suspense, etc. But at a deeper level he reveals what he cares about — what he loves enough to work at communicating — usually for months and years, often alone and overlooked — and if noticed at all — puzzled over — like a strange bug unearthed by a shovel.

So where is the author in the story? Can we spot him like we can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cameo in North by Northwest or Vertigo? No. I think the whole work — the entire story — is the revelation. Moby Dick reveals a Melville bereft of faith, despairing and bitter. Metamorphosis shows a Kafka full of self-loathing and suicidal.

A question worth asking is — does the work tell a truth, even an unwelcome truth? If so, it’s worth reading.



Mortimus to Appear at the Mansfield Middle School — March 27 & 28

March 20, 2007


I’ll be meeting with five (count ’em!) — five different classes. Three on Tuesday between 8:50 a.m. and noon and on Wednesday 2 more classes between 10:25 and noon. And I’ll be bringing books! Lots and lots of them.

I’ll be teaching the kids to blog right there! They’ve got computers in the classroom.

Looking forward to it, I am!


Pre-Publication Marketing & Review Coming Along Nicely

March 19, 2007

The Troth

To date there are 7 public and private schools participating in the pre-publication and review campaign for THE PURLOINED BOY. Likely, in the near future, the traffic on this blog will increase markedly. Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be three or four more schools in the mix bring the total to 10 or 11.

Some folks have asked me why a pre-publication campaign is necessary. Here are some reasons:

1. It’d be nice to know if the story is a winner. I think it is; people close to me say it is; but there’s nothing like getting it out there and letting people who don’t know me and who don’t care about my feelings have at it.

2. Feed back could make the story even better. I’m not one of those lonely misanthropic artist types who despise the public. I like feed back — the bad and the good. It helps my creative process. Without it I get into a rut.

3. There’s nothing like a ready fan-base to receive a book to help sales along. Nothing succeeds like success, and if people really like it and are already willing to buy it an tell friends, and so on. You see what I mean?

Some folks are wondering when it will see commercial publication. Well, it definitely will. I can promise that. But whether it is 9 months from now or 18 months I can’t say. My agent will help with that — he’s working on it. Also, I want as strong a release as possible and this little experiment will help this along greatly.


Morty to Appear at Veritas Academy — April 11th

March 17, 2007

The Troth

I will be at Veritas Academy in Barnstable on Cape Cod at 1:00 p.m. April 11th.

I’ll be speaking to members of the student body at that time.


Mortimus to Speak at New Testament Christian School — April 11th!

March 16, 2007

The Troth
I’ll be speaking to the student body at 10:45 a.m.! If you want to hear me the school can be located with Map Quest. The school is situated in Norton, Massachusetts, close to Cape Cod.


New Testament Christian School of Norton, Massachusetts to read THE PURLOINED BOY

March 16, 2007

The Troth

I will deliver 50 books for students to read for the month of April.


What’s in a name?

March 15, 2007

The Troth

Quite a lot, I think. Some folks think names and people are distinct and unrelated things. I don’t believe that’s so and I’ve got reasons for thinking that.

The first reason comes from my experience as an author. When I create a character I feel my way into an appropriate name. In THE PURLOINED BOY, if Trevor were named Bob or even Robert a different cast would be given to the character. Or take Zephyr for example. If he were named Clyde, what would that do to him?

Pre-modern people looked at names very differently than we do today. The names we give children usually are supposed to sound “pretty” or nice — or if we’re fond of a relative we may name a child after that person. But pre-modern people thought names had power — the power to reveal, or shape, or even control.

Think of how Native Americans use names, or how they were given in the Bible (remember the story of Jacob and Esau?), or even how Treebeard in Lord of the Rings warns Merry and Pippin not to be hasty in telling him their names.

What do you think about names and characters in books?