Love Bytes says hell and welcome to author John Terry Moore who stops by our blog to talk about new Dreamspinner Press release “A Nice Normal Family”.
A NICE NORMAL FAMILY
I’m John Terry Moore, I began using my middle name around twenty years ago and it sought of stuck. I was a civil celebrant here in Australia at the time (I’ve since retired to concentrate on writing) —- but using the middle name helped differentiate me among the competition. I’ve continued to use it because I rather like it! Terry is a family name and also my late Dad’s name so it’s sentimental for me as well.
“A Nice Normal Family” launched today, September 30th.
It’s my second novel to be published by Dreamspinner Press, the first was “Black Dog” in 2014.
On Sunday, October 2nd. we’re holding the Australian launch at our home here in Geelong, Australia.
My partner Russell and I celebrate our 33rd. anniversary the same day.
Firstly and importantly “A Nice Normal Family” has a love story between two guys. It’s important because it carries the story from the beginning to the end. They meet as ten year olds and at the end of the book they’re mid-forties —in 2035.
Intrinsically linked to one of those characters is dyslexia, the central theme for the book.
My partner Russell’s dyslexia, how it affected him as a young person and how it has played out in his subsequent life has been my inspiration.
The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means difficulty with words. Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with reading and spelling despite having the ability to learn, they just learn in a different way.
It’s a trait affecting up to 13% of the population.
No two dyslexic people are affected alike, just like the rest of humanity they’re all different from each other.
But importantly, one of the generalities of dyslexic people is that almost all of them have at least average to high intelligence.
Some of their differences actually allow them to think on a different level altogether!
Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Rockefeller, Agatha Christie, Steven Spielberg, Harry Belafonte, Winston Churchill, and Richard Strauss were all dyslexic, as were many other famous people through history.
So the storyline is embedded with our dyslexic hero who goes from a council employee to being the nation’s leader; but only after he becomes part of a successful partnership with another guy.
The third element or theme involves Australian politics. How we’ve had to suffer the idiotic behavior, the name calling, the personal attacks, snouts in the trough, etc. where politicians would rather score points by denigrating their opposition than doing what they were elected to do — represent their electorates and run the country!
Where even within political parties the factions are fighting it out regardless of the disunity it promotes. The treachery of it all, as factions turn on their leaders, further alienating the public.
And all the while the media is having a ball, always ready to whip up a story where none exists, never letting the truth get in the way of a good story.
And the public, the people who put them there as their representatives, are forgotten.
Yes it is depressingly so, but I turn it into a good read! Trust me! Our hero does things to Australian politics and the Australian federal parliament that only people with commonsense could initiate!
And there’s not too much of that around these days!
The fourth and final element or theme is Asia. And the relationship (or lack thereof) that Australia has with Asia.
It is predicted that by 2050 50% of Australians will be able to trace their ancestry back to Asia at the current rate of immigration. Yet as a nation we tend to ignore many of the relationships and business opportunities so close to the north.
Russell and I are great travelers. In particular we’ve spent some time every year for the last 25 years or so usually in some corner of Asia. The knowledge we’ve picked up has been most useful in putting this book together. Thailand has a strong presence in the book for the very best of reasons. Thailand has never been colonized by the Europeans, the Thais managed to keep everyone at their borders, including the Christian missionaries and consequently as a nation is quite unique in Asia and the world. As a result the Thai people are a very natural race, there are very few moralistic hang ups and a sense of family exists that is second to none in our experience.
It’s no accident that the two children on the front cover are somewhat Asian in appearance, perhaps Eurasian!
The book charts the progress of Australia heading blindly towards economic oblivion long after the mining boom, and rather than exploring new markets, and new income, tries to trim her sails, turning inwardly, blithely cutting back on the essentials of health and education, unaware of the potential economic benefits of her closest neighbors.
Not China, not India, but ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. Ten of them, —– Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar (or Burma) and the Philippines.
Most of them even now with a burgeoning middle class, not so concerned with the cost of imported goods, but with quality products and reliability of supply.
So whilst this may also appear a dry topic, it does take you on a tour of the ASEAN countries and is quite entertaining. Trust me!
When we travel I carry my trusty iPad with me and usually find I can concentrate better than at home without the distractions of my own office. About a third of “A Nice Normal Family” was written at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand in August / September last year while we were there on six weeks vacation. We had a small apartment and I wrote for around three hours a day.
I’m currently working on “A Little Bit Different” the first of three shorter books in a series called “Love in the Australian Bush.”
“A Little Bit Different” explores a subject which fascinates me —- love between two guys who both identify as straight. There is plenty of evidence to suggest both factually and in fiction that there are many same sex partnerships out there with one straight partner, the other gay.
But seldom where partners both identify as straight and each make the journey to being part of a same sex relationship.
So I hope it will be a good read!
Does Australia as a background to a storyline interest you?
What about the exotic locations within South East Asia?
What about the cut and thrust of political life, the intrigue, the treachery and the potential danger of an extremist group plotting to bring down a government?
Or a beautiful love story involving two friends, one gay, one straight who finally commit to each other, allowing each other to bloom?
The love affair where the dyslexic boy goes from a council employee to the nation’s leader, his true potential unlocked by the partnership?
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 30th, 2016
A Nice Normal Family—Blurb
Jackson “Jacko” Smith is dyslexic, but like many people affected by the learning disability, he is highly intelligent. His best friend Sammy Collins helps him get through school and unlocks his potential. Jacko progresses through the ranks of local government until Mother Nature intervenes and the straight boy and the gay boy become a couple.
As Jacko and Sammy start a family and challenge social mores, Jacko enters politics, horrified at the direction Australian government is taking. With Sammy by his side, he can achieve anything and rises through the ranks to the highest office in the land, driving Australia away from its British colonial roots and engaging with its neighbors in Asia like never before. Economic growth results, and while most Australians are supportive, a small group of extremists might endanger everything Jacko has built—including his life.
Through the love and the strength of their partnership, Jacko and Sammy rise above their ordinary lives. Because love is never ordinary.
With Matt’s help I found a stall selling magnificent orchids, and after explaining their purpose, the owner giggled and put them together into a stunning presentation vase.
Then I bolted for the room, peace offering in hand.
I arrived outside the door realizing I’d left my key card behind, so I rang the bell like a florist with a special delivery.
The door flung open. He’d been crying, and my heart nearly broke in two.
“Jacko, where have you been? I was so worried about you I was nearly sick.”
I couldn’t say anything much because I too was choked up, but I managed to thrust the flowers into his hand and say, “These are for you. I’m sorry I made a dick of myself.”
His eyes shone.
Sammy always loved flowers; he loved growing them, displaying them, and I knew he loved them as a gift.
“Well,” he said with a grin, “they’re beautiful, thank you, but really I’m as much to blame as you are.”
“No, you’re not,” deciding I had to ramp up the stakes. First I had to wipe away his tears, very unromantically, with my thumb. Then I did what I have should have done many years ago and kissed him, on the lips. Beautiful, full, puffy pillows they were, and suddenly the world lit up, it was like someone had just turned the lights on.
We stood there gazing at each other in bloody wonderment as we leaned in and did it again. There was love in Sammy’s eyes, but I could see the concern also, one of the benefits of some dyslexic people seeing things on a different level.
John Terry Moore and Russell Baum, his partner of thirty three years, live in Geelong, Victoria’s largest regional centre, one hour from Melbourne, Australia. Many factors influenced John in the writing of this novel, not the least of which has been Russell’s dyslexia, how it affected him as a young person and how it has played out in his subsequent life.
John’s interest in same sex partnerships, economics, politics and Asian affairs have also played a major role in the storyline.
John and Russell have travelled extensively throughout Asia for many years. Studiously avoiding western tourists, they have inserted themselves into the culture and the daily lifestyles of the local people and consequently have a unique overview and understanding of Asian nations, (ASEAN in particular), and the relationships those countries have with Australia.
John completed his education at Hobart Matriculation College, and held a number of senior positions in the automotive industry over a thirty five year period, working separately for three Asian motor companies.
He has been a civil marriage celebrant and funeral celebrant for many years, (now retired), witnessing at first hand rapidly changing Australian public opinion questioning traditional family structures and also questioning Australia’s place in the world. Australia remains tied to the British Commonwealth, yet with the fastest growing global economies only a few hours away in Asia, the messages Australia sends to its neighbors sometimes appear confusing and unhelpful.
John is a passionate advocate of same sex marriage and equal rights for same sex parents and their children, encouraging, supporting and driving the push for marriage equality in Australia. That LGBTI people should finally be embraced as an integral part of society, removing the scourge of homophobia and the risk of self harm, replacing it with humanity, commonsense and love. That only when everyone is treated exactly the same under law will society begin to heal itself.