I had a fantastic response last week to my interview with Chris, the Story Reading Ape. At the end of the interview I asked if any authors were interested in answering 20 of my questions, and this is how I met Kevin Morris.
Kevin is a remarkable author in that apart from his 7 published books of poetry and prose, he is also registered blind. Due to the wonders of the modern day computer he is still able to write the poetry he loves, which you can check out on the links below. Thanks Kevin, for agreeing to be interviewed!
Worldwide Amazon pages: http://bookShow.me/B00CEECWHY
Kevin’s Website: http://newauthoronline.com/
Kevin’s Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879063.K Morris
1. I recently visited Liverpool for the first time and was impressed with the Albert Dock area, the Beatles museum, and the general area around the Liver Building, which has been extensively rebuilt. Do you ever get homesick for the place of your birth?
Having grown up in Liverpool, I retain great affection for the city. I love the warmth of the people and remain fascinated by the history of the place. I visit often (family still live there) so, no I don’t get homesick, although I always enjoy going back to my roots.
2. Have you been blind since birth?
No, I lost the majority of my vision at around 18-months-old as a result of a blood clot on the brain. I can see outlines of objects (but not details) and appreciate the little sight I retain.
3. How did you learn to read braille?
I was taught to interpret Braille by touch (reading with my fingers) from 5-years-old. I still remember the first Braille book I read unaided, “The Story of Pets”.
4. How do you use ‘Jaws’ software on your laptop?
Jaws (Job Access with Speech) converts text into speech and Braille enabling me to use a standard Windows laptop. Once loaded Jaws works in the background allowing the user to perform the same functions as a sighted computer user. There are useful short-cut keys, for example insert f7 brings up a list of links on a webpage thereby aiding the user to navigate quickly to the desired link.
5. I’ve often heard it said that one or more of our senses will try and compensate if one is lost. Do you find that your hearing (or any of your other senses) is more acute than that of your friends?
I certainly rely on my hearing a great deal, particularly when crossing roads. I think my hearing is more acute than that of many of my friends due to me having trained it to be so. On a humorous note, when people ask the above question I sometimes respond with “pardon?” pretending that I did not hear their question!
6. Did your family encourage you to be independent from an early age?
Yes. I remember running around and getting bumped just as much as other children.
7. How long does it take to train a guide dog?
It takes approximately 18 months to train a guide dog. In addition, when receiving a fully trained dog the new owner spends 2-3 weeks training with their new companion. This is to ensure that dog and owner work safely together.
8. Is a guide dog with you until the end of its life, or is it only with you for a few years?
Many guide dogs will work until age 10-11. On retiring many owners keep their retired companions as pets. Where this is not possible the dog will go to live with family or friends.
9. Tell us a bit about your current work in progress.
I am in the process of producing a further collection of my poetry which will, I hope appear in early 2016. The collection will join “Dalliance; A Collection of Poetry and Prose” and “The Girl Who Wasn’t There and Other Poems”.
10. Do you prefer writing poetry, short stories, or novels?
I have written several collections of short stories and one longer story (“Samantha”) which runs to 29 pages. I greatly enjoy writing short fiction. However my output has been largely poetic over the last year or so. I find that poetry comes easily to me and intend to concentrate on writing poems. I have never written a novel.
11. In reality, what do you think the percentage is of students who actually do turn to the sex trade (as they do in your short stories) in order to repay loans?
The Guardian published an interesting article on this subject in early 2015, (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/mar/27/university-students-sex-work-living-costs-tuition-fee-debts). The article states that a research study conducted by University of Swansea found that 1 in 20 students had been involved in sex work at some point in their lives. Interestingly the research reports that men are more likely to become involved than women.
12. I cannot write with any noise in the background. Do you like absolute silence when you write, or like some, find that soothing music helps you to write?
I prefer absolute silence and will switch my mobile off to avoid interruptions. If my landline rings I will usually disregard it so as to avoid my concentration being broken. Having said that, sometimes the singing of birds reaches me as I sit writing. I don’t find this distracting and positively welcome nature’s music.
13. Which is your favourite book of all time?
I derive great pleasure from dipping into “The New Oxford Book of English Verse” as it contains poetry by so many wonderful poets. If I were to lose all my books with the sole exception of a single work, I would want that book to be “The New Oxford Book”.
14. I used to work in Anerley Library, near where you now live in Crystal Palace. Do you think libraries will become extinct in future generations due to I.T, Google, and Kindles etc?
Some of my happiest memories revolve around sitting in my school’s library lost in a good book so I certainly hope the answer to your question is no. However the truth is, I don’t have an answer. I hope libraries will evolve (as many have) by encouraging group activities thereby becoming focal points for the community. I was speaking to a volunteer at my local library recently who mentioned how children are taught to read in his library. Hopefully such activities will help libraries to survive.
15. What do you do for a living?
I work for the civil service.
16. Are you a good cook? What’s your favourite food?
Unfortunately I cannot claim to be a good cook. I do, however enjoy my food. I often eat curry at my favourite local Indian restaurant with friends. I also enjoy a good roast beef dinner.
17. Do you prefer to be inside or outside?
I enjoy both. I love walking with my dog, particularly in green places. I also enjoy sitting at home with a good book or enjoying a pint with friends in my favourite local pub.
18. Which one of your possessions would you save in the event of a fire?
My dog, Trigger.
19. Which song or piece of music is your favourite?
I am not sure I have a favourite. Having said that, I always find that Moonlight Sonata relaxes me.
20. Have you ever felt a ghostly presence?
Once, as a child I awoke from a dream and thought someone was in the room when, in fact no living thing was present.
Thanks again Kevin! I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you are an author or publisher and would like to answer 20 questions, please feel free to get in touch, as Kevin did, on http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/