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

Coming Soon: Came To Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad

Coming Soon: Came To Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad

Exciting News! I’ve just begun the publishing process for Ian’s and my fifth book! Second time publishing with FriesenPress.

The next weeks and months will mean continuing on with keeping my nose to the computer and now dealing with their publishing consultant.

I’ll keep everyone apprised of the progression.

Title of the book: “Came to Canada, Eh? Adventures of a Scottish Nomad.”

It covers Ian’s astounding adventures in the years 1970-2004, including the many moves all over Canada of Ian and his first wife, Mary, Mary’s death in 2002 and our whirlwind romance and marriage in 2003 prior to our move to Mexico in 2004.

On February 22nd it will be exactly a year since Ian passed away from a sudden stroke.

Bringing this book to fruition has helped the grief process and kept him close to me.

Gayle Moore-Morrans

Here’s a photo of “traveling Ian” eagerly arriving at Glasgow Airport on a visit to the Old Country in 2000.

Analyzing your own writing

Analyzing your own writing

IMG_4104Pictured here is the entrance to our tiny apartment in Winnipeg where we will be completing almost a year’s residence by the end of May. This display of three of our published books is our small attempt to advertise our publishing efforts of the past. Getting settled in after our move from British Columbia last summer and re-adjusting to apartment living and a return to a city we left eleven years before, finding time to celebrate being with family and friends we had left behind, plus the daily struggles of adjusting to Ian’s disabilities have taken their toll on keeping up this blog.

Our previous reblog, “Is the first sentence the charm?”from  Take Five Authors inspired Gayle to go back to our previously published writings and take an analytical look at our opening sentences, both the stories written by Ian and the articles we have shared written by Gayle. Did our opening sentences do their job of grabbing the reader’s attention. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t. Here’s how we think they add up:

Ian’s how-to book Metal Machining Made Easy. metal-machining-made-easy-cover-largePreface: “Congratulations, you’ve finally decided that you are going to make full use of that lathe that’s sitting idle in your workshop. Or maybe you are just thinking of buying a little lathe, and wonder if it would be worth your while, as you don’t know much about machining steel. You think it looks too technical and complicated. Well, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. All that is required to do some exacting machining is the ability to read, some common sense and a little patience.”

How does this measure up? I think, for a how-to book, it certainly would grab the attention of anyone who would be looking for a book about machining metal – a rather select group of do-it-yourself types. It would encourage someone who has the right equipment but lacks the no-how to get some valuable pointers on how to use the equipment. This first sentence in the preface adds some personal interest to a factual subject.

Ian’s adventure/time travel novel Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie.Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie

Chapter One. Engulfed in the Phantom Battle: “Calan and Malcolm McKinnon were twin brothers. Both were twenty-two years of age and just an inch less than six feet in height. Calan was the studious type, always wanting to get to the bottom of things and happiest when he had problems to solve. Malcolm was just the opposite–carefree and always ready with a joke or a quick remark no matter what the situation. But most important, they were the best of friends and, like most twins, were in harmony with each other.

“The brothers had traveled north from their home in Edinburgh to Inverness, Scotland, to witness the strange phenomenon of a phantom battle. This so-called ‘battle’ was slated to happen just after dawn during the month of May at the small Loch Ashie, just east of the much larger and more famous Loch Ness. Their adventures began after Calan read a story written in the August 1999 issue of The Scots Magazine describing the battle and quoting witnesses who saw the battle during the month of May. He decided he just had to be there to see it, anything of a mysterious or historical nature certainly interested him.”

How does this measure up? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Boring!!! Editor Gayle is hanging her head. How did this get by me? Perhaps it was even me who arranged the beginning to read as it does. (Sorry about that, Ian.) In retrospect, I wish I had come up with something a lot more exciting by bringing in the phantom battle in the first sentence such as “Calan and Malcolm could hardly have known that simply trying to witness a phantom battle would have put them into the thick of it.” Perhaps it is time for a second edition/printing. (Would that I had the time.)

Ian’s memoir From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada. Cover full size

Chapter One. The Cold and Hungry Early Years. “Thinking back on my early childhood, the most miserable over-all time was when it was evening, dark outside, middle of winter, clothes damp and cold from the rain, no oil for the lamp, no candles either, which meant no light of any kind in the dump we lived in, no fire to warm me a wee bit and no food. As a wee boy of six years of age, I was just sitting all alone in a dingy one-room flat. My hair was wet and water was still running down my face from the rain. I was shivering and my teeth were chattering, as I sat hoping that maybe someone would come and light the oil lamp. Maybe that someone would have a few lumps of coal and there would finally be a nice, warm fire started. If I got too hungry I could always fill my belly with cold water; then I didn’t feel so bad any more–well, for maybe an hour.”

How does this measure up? Brilliant (too quote an over-used British expression that Ian heard way too often on his last trip to the old country). Ian paints a woeful picture of his early surroundings that have had such an impact on his life of striving to overcome the negatives of an impoverished childhood. It certainly grabbed my attention and had me wanting to read more, especially since my childhood was such a contrast.

Ian’s children’s chapter book Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie.  JLJBL Book Cover

Chapter One. Jake Wants a Pet. “Every kid needs a pet; at least that’s what Jake believed. Jake was 11 and would have loved a puppy for company–something he could have fun playing with when he got home from school. But he knew that his wish would never happen because of the scare his mother got when she was a little girl. She had been bitten by a dog and, since that attack, had always felt nervous and uncomfortable whenever any dog, big or small, happened to come close to her. Even tiny dogs upset her.”

How does this measure up? It immediately establishes the conflict that Jake wants a pet and, for some reason, hasn’t got one yet. As a child reader I would want to find out how Jake solved this conflict, especially since “every kid needs a pet.”

Ian’s short story The Moonlit Meeting. Leprachaun

“A big full harvest moon had risen high in the sky the evening I climbed to the top of Mary’s Mountain, a steep hill close to the edge of the small town in the Scottish Highlands where we had recently moved. There were strange stories about the place. Some said it was haunted by a ghost named Mary who had been murdered up there many years ago by a jealous lover, and that her ghost still roamed the area, especially on full moon nights. Others said an old sea captain had hanged himself from a tree up there after losing his sweetheart, his ghost wandering around looking for her. I didn’t believe in things like that and wanted to prove to myself it was all a lot of nonsense.”

How does this measure up? The first sentence alone sets the scene but I think the second sentence is needed to really grab one’s interest. Better yet, would be the last sentence of the paragraph. The rest of the sentences flesh things out. To get the full impact with the first sentence, perhaps it would have been better to turn the sentences around thus: “I didn’t believe all the strange stories that I’d heard about Mary’s Mountain and decided to prove to myself that they were all a lot of nonsense. A big full harvest moon had risen high in the sky the evening that I climbed that steep hill close to the edge of the small town in the Scottish Highlands where we had recently moved. …”

Gayle’s short story “An April Swim in Paradise” Flora around swimming pool

“With the sun’s rays a bit deflected as the clock nears four, it is finally time for my daily rendezvous with my beloved pool at our new home in Mexico. I don my orange flowered swimsuit to contrast with the turquoise pool walls and lavish on some sunscreen. My swim shoes await me at the brick steps that surround our upstairs bathtub; but first I need to shake them out in case any wee scorpion has decided to take refugee in one of them. (Thankfully, one hasn’t.) Grabbing my sunglasses and a towel from the clothesline downstairs, I descend from the terrace to the front lawn and down the steps into the pool. Scotty, my husband, has already moved the solar blanket off the water, skimmed the water’s surface with the pool net and turned on the pump so the water is shimmering fresh and turquoise in the sunlight.

How does this measure up? It’s harder for me to analyze my own work. The first sentence is descriptive and sets the scene. But would it have been better to begin with trying to shake out a scorpion from my swim shoes? That would have started with a possible conflict situation. 

Gayle’s blogpost: “All Moving Companies Are Not Equal. Let the Buyer Beware!”100_0726

“We called it ‘The Move From Hell.’ Okay, we didn’t literally move ‘from Hell’ but from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, more like Paradise than Hell. Yet, our move proved to be ‘hellish.’ In May and June 2015 we made what we sincerely hope is the last major move of our lives from Vernon, British Columbia to downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two moving companies contributed to making our move less than ideal: Two Small Men With Big Hearts (TSM) in Kelowna, BC and AMS Transportation Ltd. Inc. headquartered in Dundalk, Ontario. The latter company was the most “hellish.”

How does this measure up? I’m satisfied with the opening sentence and wouldn’t change it.

Gayle’s short story: A Scorpio versus Scorpion  ScorpionVectorImageVP

“Scorpio may be my sign of the Zodiac, but that’s really all I ever wanted to have to do with the creatures!”

How does this measure up? I’m also satisfied with the opening sentence. It establishes my sign of the zodiac and relates it to a real life scorpion which I sincerely hope I never again encounter. I think most readers would be curious to read further.

Gayle’s magazine editorial “Life’s Lessons Reinforced”  

Gayle-Editing at Esprit Magazine, Winnipeg-2004

“Beginning to write this column brings me full circle since the last issue of Esprit. Then, my horrendous fall and seven breaks in right leg and arm bones resulted in the need for someone else to write this column. Now, after 14 weeks in hospital (most of it in rehabilitation), I have two more days before going home and this editorial is due. What a place this has been to glean ideas for the topic, “Body and Spirit!” I would not have chosen the classroom, but every minute in this environment has reinforced some important lessons in life.

How does this measure up? The first sentence isn’t very dynamic, however, since it is a regular magazine column, it is probably an ok beginning and sets the scene for writing. The rest of the paragraph is more interesting and attention-grabbing. I probably should have reworded the opening by starting out: “What a  place the hospital has been to glean ideas for this issue’s topic, “Body and Spirit!”

OK. I wrote this blogpost almost two months ago, intending to expand on it when I got time. However, time has g0t away from me. We are in the throws of another move and I’ll probably not be able to come up for air again for awhile unless I find time to blog about the glorious 84th Birthday Party I threw for Ian a few days ago. On May 31st we will move to a bigger apartment in our same Winnipeg life lease apartment house (and to the penthouse floor!!). Tonight may be the only free time I can take before that move is over so this blogpost is finished. The process of analyzing some of our published writings has been fun and educational. I hope it will encourage me in my future editing to put more emphasis on the importance of effective opening sentences to a piece of writing. Thanks to Take Five Authors for the blog that got my analytic juices started.

Gayle Moore-Morrans

 

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Friesens banking on books

Friesens banking on books

We are reprinting an article from the Winnipeg Free Press concerning the impressive Friesens Corporation which published Ian’s memoir, From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada. Our next posting will deal with a recent trip we took to see the presses in motion and to pick up more copies of Ian’s book.

ALTONA — More than 20 million copies of the Robert Munsch children’s classic Love You Forever have come off the presses of Friesens Corp. in Altona since the book was first published in 1986. With the new Manroland XXL press Friesens unveiled Tuesday, it will be able to print any press run four times as fast.

Source: Friesens banking on books