My characters, always surrounded by forces testing and often trying to compromise them, are exceedingly human yet have an indelible will and a deep inner vision of that drives them to experiences, people, places and in ways they do not always understand. But they feel. Deeply. And they will follow that vision or deep inner knowing to whatever end.
My main characters are very real to me. I admire them and care about them. As a novelist, I believe that is the most important key to writing a good, solid novel. You know your main characters as well as you know yourself. More, even, so when you are working you do not always know who is who. I hope I have achieved this authenticity of voice and individuality in my novels. I invite you to see for yourself. Cheers! JTM
O'ROURKE, THE MEDICINE MAN
Published July 2017. © 2013 (To view on Amazon CLICK HERE!)
O’ROURKE, THE MEDICINE MAN is the story of 50-year-old Bostonian John G. F. O’Rourke and his epic spiritual awakening - midlife crisis. That sets him on a journey into his mother’s Southern heritage and Cherokee ancestry to find his mysterious and much-loathed grandfather, Clovis Midnight Moon, The Famous Unkillable Indian of Bone Creek, Virginia.
The novel is written in the comedic literary tradition of Saul Bellow’s Henderson, the Rain King. O’ROURKE, THE MEDICINE MAN sees O’Rourke suddenly dissatisfied with the normalcy of his life. In two days he resigns his big career, sells his water-front condominium and puts his possessions in storage. In his fully-reconditioned 15-year-old blood red BMW 525i, with the clothes on his back and a wallet full of gold cards, he drives off into an adventure of incalculable strangeness and wondrous mysticism. He sets off to find a crass, sexist, racist, semi-literate 111-year-old magic man of huge eccentricity and few words to be his spiritual teacher, his maternal grandfather.
O’Rourke is never sure if Granddaddy’s comedic ignorance and vast eccentricity is his dull mind or unique mastery of Cherokee Hillbilly Zen. He alternates feeling he is the presence of an enlightened spiritual teacher and an idiot.
Clovis is the Famous Unkillable Indian who, for fifty years in the first half of the 20th Century, towed a 20’ long mobile shooting gallery on wheels all over the South. For a nickel, people could step up and take a shot at him with any shooting weapon they had. Five hundred thousand shots taken. Five hundred thousand shots missed. The journey within the journey, O’Rourke accompanies Granddaddy on his final tour as the Unkillable Indian. A journey into the haunted and superstitious South's most haunted and superstitious states. It lasts two years until Clovis’ death. O’Rourke and Clovis’s adventures throughout the Deep South are poignant, miraculous, ridiculous and hilarious.
O’Rourke’s real journey begins when he steps up to take on the mantle of The New Unkillable Indian. For the next five years, he plows through Southern state after state in a luxury 40' RV. Trying to find himself. Which he does, and a whole lot more. His wild adventures are, well, wild.
O'Rourke, the Medicine Man never its itself too seriously. Which in serious spiritual teachings is exactly when the most profound things occur. In the end, after one of the most strange, entertaining and implausible spiritual journeys of all time, O'Rourke finds what all the spiritual journey fuss is about. The ultimate enlightenment is when you find the simple pleasures in a colorful, honest, independent, respectful and just a bit magical human life, eventually, well led.
Published September 7, 2017. © 2013 (To view on Amazon, CLICK HERE!)
Meet 15-year-old poet savant, James Freer -- a bright, vocal, imaginative, charming and irreverent young man -- and lifelong resident of the Elsie Whitney Psychiatric Hospital and School in Magnolia Massachusetts. James suffers from Capgras Syndrome, a rare condition where the sufferer believes life is full of impostors – possibly even including him.
Another of author Jason Taylor Morgan’s deeply character-driven narratives that flow between the everyday and extraordinary worlds, MAGNIFICENT AMONG THE ANGELFISH presents James’ unique take on reality and his battle with it. Does he want to try to become sane enough to live out in what he calls Reality USA, life outside the hospital’s boundaries? Or stay in his ‘safe’, eccentric world in the hospital where sanity is fleeting and imagination is real?
Set in 1973, daily life on Unit 3 for Adolescent Boys is a moment-to-moment struggle to stay in some realm of sanity, not always the one preferred by hospital staff. Usually, it is tragic - comical bedlam, with many deeply sick teenage boys that on some days as James describes it, "it's like the Me Lie Massacre wearing red Keds."
James is an orphan, left in the care of the hospital as a toddler. Finally giving in to his deep need to find out who he is, where he came from and if he belongs to anyone -- James ingeniously breaks out of the hospital. In a ‘borrowed’ BMW and with his meds wearing off, he sets off into Reality USA to find his destiny. And, man, does James find it! MAGNIFICENT AMONG THE ANGELFISH is touching, always entertaining, tragic and joyful. You will never forget him.
BLACK ANGELS - A Retelling of the Book of Genesis
(Coming January 2019.) © 2017
Set in the 1920s in North Carolina, BLACK ANGELS is the story of 11-year-old Annabelle Rose Cass, a feisty and intelligent African-American girl living in the poverty and racism of the American South. Her father a successful farmer, Annabelle Rose has nine brother’s sisters that Annabelle Rose’s mother calls “my black angels.” The oldest and her best friend is her mild and imaginative brother John Thomas, “thirteen-years-old and smart as any white boy.”
John Thomas and Annabelle Rose both have vivid imaginations and spend much of their time playing Let’s Pretend games in their favorite places. One they call Old Floody, the Old Flooded Negro Cemetery. The other is an abandoned mansion built by a rich white family, the Strands, who mysteriously never moved in. It stood empty and anxious for a year before people began to sneak in and explore it. Annabelle Rose and John Thomas go to The Strand almost every day in their free time.
The antagonist of the story is a vile white man, Crown Turner, who is excessively cruel to blacks and is the local head of KKK. In a fit of rage after hearing that Crown Turner and his lackeys killed a black family in another county, John Thomas’ sweet disposition changes in that moment. He becomes hateful. He and Annabelle Rose come upon Turner in The Strand conducting a Klan meeting and gloating over their evil deed. John Thomas shoots Turner with his rusted old .22 rifle but only causes superficial damage.
The shooting of Crown Turner sets off a chain of tragic events. Except for John Thomas, Annabelle Rose’s whole family is murdered by Turner and his men, including Annabelle Rose.
Annabelle Rose, now a ghost (a feisty and intelligent one), and John Thomas’ adventures together take a violent turn. Through bitterness and grief, John Thomas becomes a hateful young man and turns into the legend of ‘Wisp Willie’ the mysterious and unseen killer of deserving whites. Annabelle Rose (still a ghost), tries to help John Thomas mend his ways as much as she can but to no avail.
One day, she meets God (yes, God). Who is a trillion-year-old skinny black man named Old Lordy, with a failing memory and no interest in being God any longer. He is looking for his replacement. BLACK ANGELS travels into ugliness and tragedy but finds redemption and beauty. It travels into fantasy but finds reality. The adventures of Annabelle Rose and Old Lordy are hysterically entertaining. And at long last, God is female.