A Virtual Interview About Moomor Publishing’s Newest Book: Came To Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad

A Virtual Interview About Moomor Publishing’s Newest Book: Came To Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad

Can you briefly summarize your book?

This sequel to Ian Moore-Morrans’ first memoir, From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada, continues the story of an ordinary, yet truly extraordinary Scotsman and his endeavours to survive and thrive as an immigrant to and eventual citizen in a new country, CANADA. The full extent of Ian’s “nomadic” ways is both fascinating and stunning. From 1970 to 2002, Ian and his first wife Mary had moved almost annually. They lived multiple times in six provinces and had two extensive trips to Britain within 34 years. Ian’s story also documents the two years following the death of Mary, when he encountered Gayle, the soulmate of his later life, their whirlwind romance and marriage and their decision to continue Ian’s nomadic ways as they embarked on a new adventure to Mexico. Readers will marvel at the sheer volume of roadblocks that Ian encounters in finding and keeping skilled machinist jobs in volatile economic times, in his enthusiasm and sometimes impulsiveness in facing new possibilities in far-flung parts of Canada, in the humour that rarely leaves him despite setbacks and encounters with less-than-honest persons, in his willingness to explore and share his evolving talents as a musician and writer and in his honesty and obvious love in dealing with family members and constantly changing circumstances.

Who makes up your book’s target audience?

People of any age, especially those who are interested in the Scots and their tendency to populate, entertain and bring their culture and expertise to the world. In this age of refugees and mass immigration, it could be advantageous to learn of one particular Scot’s adventures as he encountered obstacles, prejudice and triumphs in adjusting to the culture of a new country.

What are your book’s key themes?

Memoir/Autobiography
Scottishness
Music and Writing as Avocations
Immigration to Canada
Life in Canada in the 1970s-early 2000s
Master Machining – Skilled Blue Collar Work
Recessions in Canada – 1974-75; 1980; 1981-82; 1990-92
Adjustments to Constant Moving and Changing Circumstances
Losing a Spouse and Finding Another
Family Joys and Concerns
Changing Religious Perspectives

How do your book’s key themes directly relate to your target audience?

All of these themes would be of interest to most people, but especially to those who have encountered vast changes in their life circumstances or who are attempting to understand and accept those who have lived through those changes and adjustments.

What are the key learning outcomes you would like readers to take away from your book?

** Empathy for immigrants and the challenges they face in adjusting to life in a new country and culture.
** Understanding and acceptance of the Scottish people.
** Support for those who volunteer their time and talents in musical or literary pursuits.
** Advantages of using humour in facing adversities in life.
** Inspiration from a “senior” who remains romantic and open in later life.

What are the book’s main objectives?

In Ian’s own words when first deciding to write his memoirs: “I’ve encountered so many Scottish descendants who knew little or nothing of their ancestors and thus determined to write my life story for my descendants and others who were curious about the Scotland their ancestors left as well as the immigrant experience. Then, there are the ‘Scottish-wanna-be’ folk who have a fascination with anything Scottish. As well, most people like to read of other peoples’ misfortunes and first-hand adventures.”
From Gayle’s perspective, bringing this memoir to fruition when Ian was too ill to do so (and following his death in February 2019) became a way to grieve his loss, celebrate his life and keep him close to her. She looks upon sharing his story as an “act of love.”

Why should readers buy this book?

It’s a good read – educational, eye-opening and entertaining to boot!

What makes the authors credible sources to have written this book?

Ian Moore-Morrans enjoyed writing during most of his life but never had time to pursue it in earnest until, at age 63 and approaching retirement as a machinist, he decided “it’s now or never,” learned to type and began writing stories. To date this is his fifth published book. Ian’s musical training began at age 13 with the Salvation Army in Campbeltown, Scotland, UK. He excelled as a Scottish entertainer for most of his life, playing in bands or singing for well over 50 years in the UK, Egypt, Canada and Mexico. Ian left formal schooling in Campbeltown at age 14, had career training in the British Royal Air Force and earned his General Educational Development (G.E.D.) Certificate (Grade 12 equivalence) in Canada at age 44.

Gayle Moore-Morrans, Ian’s editor and co-author, has also been writing throughout life, both in her work capacity (as a Lutheran parish worker, a secretary, a social services director at a seniors’ centre and finally as a program director and magazine editor of a national church women’s organization) and in documenting personal and family happenings. Best of all, though, she likes to edit and enhance the writings of others. Living with Ian has given her a first-hand perspective as to his honesty, personality and talents. As his primary care-giver during his later years, she took on the task of finishing this memoir, not only editing it but also adding many sections to it as Ian’s health, memory and writing ability failed, drawing on her memories of 15 plus years living with Ian and also constantly checking with Ian as he was able to examine added portions of the manuscript. In addition, she researched facts and interviewed family members in Canada and the UK, as well as located and edited all images used in the book. Gayle’s elementary and high school education took place in New Rockford, North Dakota, USA. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Magna Cum Laude), in Psychology, Religion and Philosophy, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA (1963). She also understands the “immigrant” situation, having lived most of her adult life in Germany (18 years) and, since 1984, in Canada (including part of that time for two years in Mexico

What needs do this book satisfy in the market?

** Human interest story, especially from an immigrant’s perspective.
** Family heritage story from Scottish cultural and Canadian perspectives.
** Romantic story from a senior’s perspective. It’s never too late for love!
** Entertainment – sometimes providing a well-needed laugh, even in the face of adversity!

Have the authors won any writing awards?

Ian was named one of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by THE AUTHORS SHOW in 2014 and his essay “Why I Write” was a chapter in the ensuing book: 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading, 2013-2014 Edition. Gayle (as Gayle Johannesson, Editor of Esprit magazine) received an Award of Merit Honourable Mention for “General Excellence (magazines – specialized) from The Canadian Church Press in 1999.

Have the authors published other books?

** Metal Machining Made Easy, 2002, updated 2018. A “how-to” manual.
** Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie, 2010. A novel of adventure and time travel.
** From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada, 2012. A memoir.
** Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie, 2014. A chapter book.

Where can readers buy a copy of Came To Canada, Eh?

If you are lucky enough to live in Winnipeg, signed copies of the book at a special price are available from Gayle. Just email her to make arrangements to pick up the book (gayleian@gmail.com). Anyone else can order the book at local bookstores worldwide, distributed to the trade by The Ingram Book Company. They are also offered online through distributors such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Just search for the author (Ian Moore-Morrans) or the book title (Came To Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad).
ISBN
978-1-5255-7591-4 (Hardcover)
978-1-5255-7592-1 (Paperback)
978-1-5255-7593-8 (eBook)
Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs

A History of Refuge and New Beginnings

We proudly reblog this inspirational story of a good friend and a terrific organization (Lutheran World Relief) which has done so much for so many refugees.

Editor’s Review of “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada”

I (Gayle) thought it was about time I got around to reviewing Ian’s autobiography, volume 1, for the Goodreads site. I listed it, recommended it and gave it 5 stars some time ago, but, with developing this blog, I haven’t had time to get a review written until now. It is posted below.

*****”I highly recommend “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada” to anyone interested in: 

Biography 

• Scotland during the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war years

• A teenager’s life in the Salvation Army in the late ’40s

• Music making, especially Scottish folk music, brass band music and tunes of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s

Life of a common airman in the Royal Air Force of the early ’50s

• British military life in Egypt during the pre-Suez crisis days

• Emigration from Scotland and immigration to Canada in the mid-’60s

The writing style is folksy, humorous and honest. Ian tells it like it was!”

Gayle Moore-Morrans, September 2012

 

An “Eye Opener” Review of “From Poverty to Poverty”

An “Eye Opener” Review of “From Poverty to Poverty”

The following review appeared on Amazon.ca for Ian’s memoir, “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” Thanks to author Harry G. Kapeikis for his “eye-opening” review. (The emphases below are ours.)

4.0 out of 5 stars Harry G. Kapeikis October 13, 2013Cover full size
 
I thought I had it tough as a boy refugee during, and as a displaced person after World War II. Peanuts on that!
 
Just read Moore-Morrans’ memoir of his growing up years in Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula, Argyllshire on the west coast of Scotland during the Great Depression. Ian adds or better said, subtracts from my concept of poverty to give it horrifying dimensions. “Yes, we were destitute!” he writes. “…we were, without doubt, the poorest family in that little town. – “…we were the poorest, by far, for no one else in our town lived in such pathetic conditions as we did.” Home, was a 10 foot square room in an attic of a run down house, practically unfurnished and most of the time unheated. Clothes? Best described as rags. It was not until Ian enlisted in the Royal Air Force at age 18 that he discovered “what it was like to have a full belly of half-decent food”. Get away from it all. Australia? Best to go to Ontario? Canada? Yeah, sure. Be brave and read on.
 
My immigration to North America was like a Cinderella experience but Ian’s more like a nightmare. Starting with misunderstanding and misrepresentations of what to expect in Canada from certain Ontario government agents to watching their belongings get dropped to the ground by a malfunctioning crane, smashed at their port of entry, all in all made Moore-Morrans’ immigration a “…Poverty to Poverty” ordeal. The Morranses, a family of four now, Mom (Mary), Dad and two daughters (Audrey and Shirley) finally did manage to purchase a new home at Hillsburg, Ontario in 1970.
 
“We’ve come a long way,” he writes. Indeed they had come a long way in many and varied ways on a road resembling an obstacle course. I was fortunate, but many an immigrant will identify with Moore-Morrans’ experience. I dearly recommend Ian’s book. An eye opener for sure.
 

Note: Harry G. Kapeikis, a fellow British Columbian, immigrant to Canada and self-publisher, is the author of two excellent published memoirs entitled “Exile from Latvia: My WWII Childhood from Survival to Opportunity” and “Beyond All Dreams: Coming of Age in Post-War America.”

AN INVITATION TO VOTE AGAIN FOR IAN MOORE-MORRANS, A FINALIST IN THE AUTHOR’S SHOW CONTEST “50 GREAT WRITERS YOU SHOULD BE READING”

Seal-2013Finalist-300On September 18, 2013 we blogged an invitation to vote for Ian Moore-Morrans as he entered the first phase of The Authors Show 2013-1014 contest “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” which ended on November 1st.  We greatly appreciate any and all votes cast. Enough of you did vote for him so that now Ian is a finalist in the second (and final) phase of the contest. This is an invitation to AGAIN VOTE FOR IAN in this final phase.

Here is the information from Danielle Hampson, Executive Producer of The Authors Show:

The final phase of our contest is now open for voting through December 1, 2013. The top fifty authors with the most votes will be included in the 4th edition of  “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” to be published in January 2014.  A special prize will also be awarded to the top winner in each book genre: Fiction, Nonfiction, Children and Christian.  To view the names of all the finalists and to vote for your favorite author in our final phase, go to: 

http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow50Writers2013-Contest-Finalists.html.”

Thanks in advance to those of you who will cast a vote for Ian. We are including a copy of Ian’s entry into the contest which asked for him to write about his journey as a writer. We hope you will enjoy it.

Best wishes,

Ian and Gayle Moore-Morrans

Why I Write – My Writing Journey

by  Ian Moore-Morrans

Author of From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada

Folks remark that I have a gift for gab and storytelling. However, whatever free time I had was taken up by music-making. Important as it was to me, writing took a back seat to making music.

Though growing up in abject poverty in Scotland during the Great Depression, I was fortunate to attend school until I was 14. I liked learning and tried my best to do well in my class work. My English teacher had remarked about the quality of my essays and compositions. When she mentioned that I should become a journalist after I finished school, I found it an intriguing but totally impossible suggestion. I could only conclude, ‘What a picture that would be—me sitting at a desk with holes in my shoes and no underwear!’

When schooling was over, I had to find a job. Working as an apprentice to a local blacksmith, I had neither time nor energy to write, though I earned some money and built up muscle. My free time was spent learning to sing and play an instrument as part of the Salvation Army. Music-making became my passion.

Four years later I joined the Royal Air Force. Finally I had decent food, clothing and living conditions plus an opportunity to learn a trade—Flight Mechanic Engines—and to continue to play in a band. I served in England, Wales, Scotland and the Suez Canal Zone in Egypt. Being far away, I enjoyed writing letters home and hearing remarks about how exciting I made my life sound and how much folk learned from reading what I wrote. I was to benefit most by corresponding with my pen-pal. Mary and I kept up a steady correspondence and then met in Glasgow just after I returned to Britain. We were soon married.

Whenever I had a chance at work or leisure, I told stories when I wasn’t singing songs or playing my trumpet. I fancied myself an entertainer but never thought of trying to earn a living at it. After five years’ service, I left the RAF. Not only did I have a wife to support; we were soon blessed with two daughters. I found work as a machine fitter in the steel industry around Glasgow. After awhile I applied for a clerk’s job in a big steel company. When interviewed, the supervisor mentioned that one of the biggest problems in the job was reading what someone had written. He asked me to write the numbers from 1 to 10 and also spell each one out in longhand and then print the words in capital letters. “Very good” he said, “at least we’ll have one person whose writing is legible. When can you start?” I couldn’t believe that was the test! Soon, my “penmanship” earned me a better job as a shift scheduler.

Having been misled by the inflated promises of an unscrupulous Ontario official, we got “itchy feet” and headed for Canada. Arriving in 1965, we soon found that my promised machining job was not available, nor were we in a financial position to buy a house as we had been led to believe. After five years of misadventures finding and keeping jobs and suitable homes, we finally reached the level of prosperity we had had in Scotland.
My family and I continued to live and work in Canada, moving almost every year to a different house, town or province (and different band) as jobs came and disappeared. I never seemed to have time to write down my stories, though I told plenty of them, both true and made-up. Finally, in 1995 at age 63, I decided if I didn’t start writing, I’d never do it.

In longhand over three evenings, I wrote “My Friend Jimmy,” a children’s story about a budgie that had no wings. Then I bought a simple, used computer and studied a learn-to-type book. I rewrote my children’s story and sent it away to a publisher, thinking full well that he would deem it the very best children’s story he had ever read! Soon I could just about paper the wall with rejections. ‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘where there’s life, there’s hope.’ I went on to write others, thinking that I’d give “My Friend Jimmy” a try again at a later date. (Now, 17 years later, my wife/editor is starting the layout for “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a highbred of the original story!)

Next, I tackled my life’s story. Several times I’ve encountered people who heard my Scottish “burr” and then told me of Scottish ancestors. After inquiring, I would hear they had died and the family didn’t even know where in Scotland they had originated. Finally, I vowed to write my life story to avoid that state. Thus began the long process of remembering and writing into the wee hours of the night over the course of several years. I ended up with two volumes called “From Poverty to Poverty” and “Came to Canada, Eh?” Again, I submitted manuscripts which were politely rejected.

In 1984, I taught an adult class for men who had metal-cutting lathes and wanted to learn how to better use them. I loved this first and only experience of formal teaching. Later, I wrote a “how-to” book about machining steel, written for the type of people I had been teaching. Completed in 1998, I called it “Metal Machining Made Easy.” I did all of the 60-odd illustrations by hand. This was published in 2002 through Writers Exchange in Australia.

Shortly thereafter, my wife Mary died. I vowed to go on with life, continue to write but also to socialize and enjoy what time I had left. Then came the most significant encounter of my life. I started a conversation with an attractive widow about the eclectic assortment of stories I had begun writing after retirement. When I learned that Gayle was working as a magazine editor, I began to envision a future of our living and working together. We married in 2003 and, after she took an early retirement, we bought a motor home and set out to explore Mexico. While basking along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Gayle started editing my stories while I sat at the laptop and did re-writes, as well as writing a story of revenge called “Legal Hit Man.” Later moving inland to the mountainous north shore of Lake Chapala, we became residents of the world’s largest community of English-speaking expatriates. We joined the local writers’ group and met some wonderful writers from around the world. Soon my short story, “The Moonlit Meeting,” was published in a local magazine.

We returned to Canada in 2007 and now live in British Columbia. We have since published two books with a Scottish flair—a novel of adventure and time-travel, “Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie” and my memoir “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.”

Age has caught up with me. When I first started seriously writing, I sketched out a few notes and went to work with everything flowing fairly smoothly. I kept going at all hours and wherever I was. At present, after over five years of illness, it’s becoming harder to find the energy to write. Luckily, I have a number of manuscripts waiting for Gayle to work on. Then I read through edits, give my approval or comments, and let her do the rest. Aren’t I fortunate?