Rachelle Ayala: Hello Moragh and welcome to my blog. Before we start talking about your book, please tell me a little about yourself; like where you were born, a bit about your family, etc.
Moragh Carter: Thank you for your welcome, Rachelle. May I begin by telling you about my name. It's Gaelic and is pronounced Mora. (Thank you, mother, for giving me a name that is regularly either pronounced wrong or spelt wrong !) ... but now that's out of the way, let me answer your questions.
I was born in the south of England, but grew up in the north-west of the country, where I have lived ever since. In 2004 I was widowed after almost 38 years of marriage. My husband had a serious disability and I was his full time care-giver for 16 years after he had to finish working. I have three boys and two grandkids. I enjoy line dancing, which I started doing in 2001.
After my husband died, my eldest son set me up with broadband and I started to listening to country music on internet radio, developing a passion for it. I regularly go to local country music gigs and, during the summer months, I travel around the UK in my little red camper van attending lots of country music festivals. I have made so many friends through this pastime. I also visit the USA at least once a year, where I visit family and many of the friends I have made through the music. I try to get to see them as often as I can.
RA: How did you begin writing?
MC: I'd been writing occasional articles for various support group newsletters on and off since the 1980s. Then, in 1996, I compiled a journal of my husband's and my first to the USA, at the request of his doctor ... the only trip we ever made there together. I hope to get this published one day. Funnily enough, I hated writing essays in school and, until recently, I didn't consider myself to be a writer.
RA: So when did you start to consider yourself to be a writer?
MC: That would be in 2011, when I began an on-line creative writing course. The course involves learning how to writing articles on any given subject, tailored to what magazine editors are looking for, thus increasing the likelihood of them being accepted. Then, in 2012, I took nearly a year out from the course in order to write a biography of my friends in Florida. Now the book is finished, I am back to working on my writers' course, and I have had some success in getting my course work published.
RA: What styles or genres do you write in?
MC: At the moment just non-fiction ... apart from poetry, which I started writing for competitions in December 2010. So far I have had seven poems picked for publication in various anthologies. Later on in my writers' course I will be required to concentrate on writing fiction.
RA: Who are your favorite writers/authors?
MC: Actually, I have to confess that I don't read many books; mainly magazines, newspapers and newsletters, both on and off-line. When I was young I read a lot of science fiction, but now-a-days when I do read books they are mainly autobiographies, biographies or the occasional who-done-it. I have recently finished a book by the Canadian author, Linwood Barclay, which I found to be a fascinating story. I have also been much influenced by songwriters of country music songs. Most of these songs are little stories in themselves.
RA: So, tell me about your book.
MC: Its title is 'In Harmony' and it's the biography of the award-winning country music duo, Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan (husband and wife), who live in Florida. I first made contact with them after hearing one of their songs on internet radio at the end of 2004. Their songs were not on any download sites at the time, but I found their website and e-mailed Jack, asking how to buy this song. To cut a long story short, I fell in love with their music. Jack and I went on to have two years of e-mail correspondence before he and Misty agreed to meet me while I was on a trip to the USA in 2007. We became close friends and I am now counted as 'part of the family'.
RA: What gave you the idea for writing this book?
MC: The more I got to know Jack and Misty, the more I realised that they had a fascinating life-story to tell. After nagging Jack for about two years for him to write their autobiography, I concluded that he was going to run out of life-time before he started, so I decided to write their story for them.
RA: How did you gather all the information on their life?
MC: Much of material I needed was in the numerous essays that Jack has written over the years. They are all on their website ... over 500 of them, last time I counted. I had to trawl through them, picking out the relevant information and sorting it into chronological order. I also had to sort out the facts from the fiction ... some of it deliberate story telling, other parts were embellishments on the truth. I also talked with them at length. Other information was gleaned from various family members and friends. Cross-checking was not always easy and often I have had to rely on Jack & Misty's version of events.
RA: When and where is 'In Harmony' available?
MC: The book (paperback and e-book) was published in December 2012 and it is available from Troubador Publishing http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2015 or from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/In-Harmony-Moragh-Carter/dp/1780884206/ ... or, indeed, from myself if anyone wants an autographed copy. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RA: Do you have any other books planned for the future?
MC: My late husband wrote a children's story about a potato family which I have started editing. A friend from the Ukraine has done some lovely illustrations to go with it. I also plan to publish an edited version of the afore-mentioned journal of our 1996 USA trip and I may also publish a collection of my poetry at some future date.
RA: Thank you for everything you have told me.
MC: .. and thank you too for inviting me to talk to you.
Writer ... Poet ... Author