Morning lovelies. Today I’m delighted to welcome Laurie Morgen to Meet the Author. We’re chatting about writing, doing amazing, fun things with her ‘descendants’, travelling back in time to settle scores…., her most recent book, Travelling by Train: The Journey of an Autistic Mother and much more…..
True life story; autism; parenting as an autistic person; overcoming challenges; resilience; trauma; children’s stories.
Tell us a bit about yourself:Laurie Morgen is an autistic author, workshop facilitator and public speaker. Based in the East Midlands, she designs and delivers training to raise autism to a more positive profile and works to debunk the common myths surrounding a misunderstood community.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I’ve always wanted to write; actually, scrub that. I’ve always written. I’ve always wanted to be recognised for it. My one, published, adult book is a true story, my own and covers a 12 year period that, at the time, felt like forever. Two thirds of the book, perhaps, is about a situation I found myself in when my youngest son was five weeks and five days old and I had to rush him to hospital. He went into a state of collapse in the bathroom at home. He didn’t come home until he was almost 18 months old. He was found to have a non accidental head injury. He had bleeding between his brain and skull. The conclusion was he’d been shaken. I couldn’t prove I hadn’t done it. The Social Services became immediately involved and they said it was either me, his father, or both of us together who had caused the injury. I definitely don’t want to go into it here so you’ll have to buy the book and read it yourself. It was definitely a story that needed telling but I sat on the idea for about 15 years until what became the first chapter was written for a university assignment. My course leader encouraged me to continue it. I did that but it was a project I picked up and put down an awful lot.
How many books have you written and published?
The bulk of my writing hasn’t been for books so “Travelling by Train -the journey of an autistic mother” is the first one not to be gathering cyber dust on a virtual bookshelf.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
It’s a children’s story called “Neville Lays an Egg” that would make a great book with a bit of tweaking. It’s on my website and you can find it just by Googling the title. I now have a little grandson called Miki and he loves chickens. He’s 6 now but was 4 at the time and really wanted a chicken called Neville. When my son told me, I couldn’t stop laughing. The little lad hadn’t realised chickens are always female. I just kept thinking, “Neville? What kind of a name for a chicken is Neville?” It became the opening line of the story. The story centres around Neville, a rescue hen, who is so annoyed at being given such an awful name, she refuses to lay any eggs and starts to get really bad tummy ache. The little boy in the story visits her every day and tells her he loves her and pleads with her to lay him an egg for his breakfast. Finally, Neville comes to her senses and eggs start flying out at a great rate of knots.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Not so much “do” as “be”. I had three main wishes: to be funny, to read as well as the storytellers on Jackanory and to be a boy. I’ve managed two out of three with a moderate amount of success and I’m still working on being funny. At some point, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and ride around the country on a motorbike digging up exciting stories.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
My first full time job was at the age of 17 and I was a butcher. I actually didn’t eat meat but I didn’t want my mum to know I’d dropped out of college and signed on the dole. I got about 75p an hour. My job was boning out full legs of pork and gammon and removing ribs from sides of lamb. We worked with incredibly sharp knives and I got a lot of self inflicted cuts. I then went on to work in the kitchen of a warehouse, which is where I met my first husband and the father of my two older children. He was one of the HGV drivers. Other jobs I’ve done have been mainly the kinds of things actors do when they’re between jobs.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
I suppose you also want to know what I’d do. To be honest, I’m getting quite old now so if I went forwards too far, I’d probably be dead so I’d go back in time. There are a few people in my past I wish I’d thumped so that’s exactly what I’d do but I’d learn to box first. I may well have ended up in prison so my future would have looked quite different from my current present.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Now I live on my own, I seem to have acquired quite a lot of pets and I love spending time with them. I’ve got dogs, cats, rabbits, budgies, hamsters and gerbils. If you pinged my house into the middle of wood and back to the 17th Century, I’d probably have been burned as a witch because a slightly eccentric, bohemian life seems to suit me. My older two grandchildren, who I normally refer to as descendants on account granny sounding a bit twin set, pearls and knitting, think I’m amazing. They are actually my youngest son’s partner’s children but we don’t care. We have the most incredible fun. On my birthday this year, I decided we’d camp out in the garden and have a pirate adventure. This meant, quite naturally, digging a whopping hole in the garden and burying a treasure chest full of shiny junk and chocolate coins. I left clues around the house to “X marks the spot” and they got to dig it back up. It’s the kind of thing you can do when you’re supposed to be grown up and there’s nobody to tell you off. The best thing in the world is doing batty stuff that sends them home happy and hearing they haven’t shut up about it.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
It’s probably a very long list but much of it centres around having prophetic instances where something just occurs to me. It’s not like hearing a voice in my ears but in my gut. I had one when my daughter was 10 days old and I’d just got home with her after our first trip out following her birth. I distinctly remember having that “voice in the gut” sensation telling me I’d have another baby and it would be a boy. I did, of course, almost 5 years later but had no idea he would have a different father. When he, the youngest, was in foster care and I was fighting to stop him from being adopted, I kept going back to that time and thinking why I would have it if my baby was going to be taken away. It really kept me going through the worst period of my entire life.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Ignore the people who tell your handwriting is crap because you’re going to get to 37 and learn to use a keyboard to type it all up anyway.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could choose any superpower, it would be to turn myself into an eagle and fly. The whole idea of flying and swooping over forests and lakes and feeling that incredible freedom would be amazing.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
It isn’t a typo but writing pyto makes me snort with laughter. It’s a typo of typo and other people can’t understand why I think it’s so funny.
What is your favourite word and why?
My favourite word isn’t in English, it’s German and is ausgezeichnet. It means excellent. I just love the way it sounds.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
A mother’s fight for her children
Behind clinical approaches to autism are real human beings with real lives. This is just one of them.
Written by an autistic parent, this book looks at the situation they faced when playing a game where nobody told them the rules. What would you do when faced with such circumstances?
What would you do to fight a system that assumes guilt until innocence can be proved?
How would you fight for your children’s right to a family life when your approach to life is to simply tell the truth?
This is a story of resilience and determination in the face of great odds, driven by a mother’s love for her children.
thank you so much for coming to chat to us laurie! Time at your house sounds amazing!!
If you have any questions or comments for Laurie, then make sure you get in touch.
Have a wonderful day my lovelies