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IR Approved Author Joe Edd Morris on his Motivation: “I get a rush, a thrill, from writing a good sentence.”

Torched: Summer of ’64 received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Joe Edd Morris.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Torched: Summer of ’64.  Publishing/Release date: 5/21/2020

What’s the book’s first line? 

The sign said ENTERING HOLMES COUNTY and a few miles down the road, MOUNT PLEASANT, MISS. POPULATION 201.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

At a civil rights rally in the summer of ’64, a young white pastor, serving his first appointment in Holmes County, MS, unites with two black friends from his childhood. His decision to join their efforts to rebuild a black church torched by nightriders sets all three on a collision course with the Klan and two grisly murders. The story is about interracial friendship and romance, the ultimate sacrifice, atonement and redemption.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

An elderly black preacher from my childhood, riding with him around my small southern hometown in his mule-drawn wagon, listening to his stories and witnessing his acts of kindness.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

It is timely. The summer of ’64 never ended. This story delivers a strong message of redemption and healing.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Myself. I lived much of this story and actually served churches in Holmes County, Mississippi, during the summer of ’64.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Sam Ransom—Lucas Hedges/Ryan Gosling

Giles Word—Morgan Freeman

Sharon Rose Word—Jaz Sinclair/Alexandra Shipp

Early Holly—Denzel Whitaker/Michael B. Jordan

When did you first decide to become an author?

As a serious writer, probably in 1973 when I was serving as a chaplain on the DEWLine (Distant Early Warning) above the Arctic Circle. I was isolated with much time on my hands and began the early sketches of this novel, Torched: Summer of ’64, which has taken this long to see the right of day.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

It is the first one I started writing. Since that time in 1973, I have written over 15 novels and 5 non-fiction works, published a number of short stories in literary journals, nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

A psychologist, jury and trial consultant and retired United Methodist minister.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

3/4 hours daily—arising at 4:00 a.m. and writing until 7/8 a.m.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Read, read, read good writers and never give up.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I get a rush, a thrill, from writing a good sentence.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

William Faulkner. I knew him when I was growing up in Mississippi.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The Sound and The Fury