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 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 series in 2011, and published book 1 in the series, The 11th Percent, in 2014. He still resides in Greensboro, with his wife of six years.
1. Paranormal fiction is an interesting genre. What books influenced you growing up and what made you decide to write in this genre?
Paranormal fiction is indeed an interesting genre! Growing up in rural North Carolina, I heard a myriad of ghost stories via word of mouth or library books. I think that the one that had the largest impact on me in my youth was a book named Ghostly Terrors. It frightened the heck out of me at the time, but MAN if those stories weren’t fascinating and gripping! As for writing in the paranormal genre, I gave it a great deal of thought, but didn’t have a story on the horizon mentally. When my book idea came to me (courtesy of a seven-hour, uninterrupted dream on February 19, 2011), it happened to be paranormal fiction. I didn’t decide to write in the genre. The genre chose me!
2. Tell us about your publishing experience. Did you try and find an agent or publisher first or did you always want to self publish?
When I finished The 11th Percent, I queried agents. To say I got a great deal of rejections is a gross understatement. Most of the rejections had the same recurring theme: my story didn’t fit their mold. I’m not putting words in their mouths, either. “Despite its poise and polish, this isn’t the right fit for us.” “You’re a talented writer, but this material doesn’t quite fit our agency.” “The concept is interesting, but not a good fit for our list.” They go on and on. It was demoralizing, and kind of heartbreaking. But then I read something that shifted my entire perspective. It was a quote from an indie writer who’d crowdfunded a novel. She said in her post “If your material is judged based on marketability and not artistic merit, then you need to re-evaluate the avenue in which you are attempting to showcase it.” It changed my life and viewpoint. So I made the decision to become an indie author that day, and I’ve been one ever since.
3. Is there a sequel in the works? What are you currently working on?
I am working on Book 3 as we speak! It is named Lifeblood, and will be Book 3 in my The 11th Percent Series (it was preceded by The 11th Percent, which is Book 1, and Item and Time, which is Book 2). I am hard at work on it, and am shooting for a November 29th release! I am also working on a collaboration novel with my close friend and fellow author Cynthia D. Witherspoon, which mashes up our respective universes in an action-packed flash fiction effort. That book, entitled Grave Endowments, will be released on the winter solstice!
4. What have you learned since you first published that you wish you knew when you first started?
I definitely learned a great deal about the mechanics and inner workings on self-publishing. That’s a huge deal. But I think the main thing that I’ve learned is to continuously stoke the market, but do so in a way that forges bonds, creates new relationships, and makes people feel honored and welcomed to be in your movement. So many artists will pimp their purchase links for reviews and buzz in a manner that is impersonal, mechanical, and brusque. It’s like they’re saying “Here is my work. Read it and review it. Thanks.” That is not the way to go. I’ve learned that the best way to build up your brand as a creator is to build up others. If authors grow as a collective, out works do as well. It has definitely been a learning path since I published The 11th Percent, but one that I wouldn’t change for the world.
5. For those reading about you and your book today, what can you say to them that might convince them to give your book a try?
Okay, Rose, this one will be a little longer than the other questions, but that’s all well and good. I believe that the selling points of The 11th Percent include:
The DEMOGRAPHIC AND RANGE– Is it just me, or are a lot of paranormal fiction books centered on teeny-bopper kids? If the Twilights and Vampire Academies exasperate you, then my main character, Jonah Rowe, is just for you. I deliberately aged him beyond adolescence! People tend to forget that we’re still growing even after we’ve “come of age.” Fantastic and unconventional things can still happen to people, even once they’ve reached adulthood—something I’ve illustrated throughout my story.
The SETTING-The Eleventh Percent mainly takes place in the sleepy, fictional, rural town of Rome, North Carolina. It’s an amalgamation of the types of towns I’ve known all my life—small, quaint, and quiet. The sweet tea flows like water, butter and biscuits are not only a requirement but a staple, and family is at the center of it all. Plus, everyone knows everybody’s business. But in the small town of Rome, some secrets have been very well-kept.
THE MYSTERIOUSNESS- There are many people in this world who are different, individualistic, peculiar, off-beat, or simply don’t fit the molds that have been put in place in this world. And I have always believed that nothing is wrong with that. Everyone is different, but despite our variations and circumstances, we are all still people with talents and attributes to contribute to the world. I hope to illustrate this fact with my words in these books.
The HUMANITY- The characters in my story are remarkable and supernatural humans, but they are still human. They still have to contend with all the everyday things all people have to, in addition to these realities brought about by their abilities. My story merges the ordinary realities of everyday stressors and strife with the extraordinary dynamic of paranormal phenomena.
The CONCEPT-Many people believe that no idea is original. If you leave it at that one simple phrase, it’s rather confining and cynical. I think that the focus shouldn’t be so much on the idea so much as the expression of that idea. So, I like to say, “An idea may not be original, but the expression of it is!” My book is an original twist on your everyday ghost story.
And I would finish off by telling them welcome to my world and enjoy their stay!
Yes, Book 3 is coming soon! It’s another great cover and the set together looks fabulous…
Please follow T.H. Morris at his Amazon Author Page HERE for news on all of his books.
You can also follow him at these links
Last but not least, check out this fabulous review of The 11th Percent by The Minter Book Reviews