I’ve been talking about writing a book for a long time. In fact, I’ve started two. Two amazing books. Okay, I believe one or both would be amazing if I actually finished writing and then published at least one of them. For now, this is just an aspiration. A goal I will achieve… one day.
For my friend and inspirational fiction author Katie Morton this is not just an aspiration, but an accomplishment. She has written not one, but two novels. Two interesting, unique, and fun novels which weave real theories in personal development with an engaging story line.
Her novels — Secrets of People with Extraordinary Willpower and the recently released Secrets of Successful People — are part of a series that follow main character, Kelly Ryan, as she tries to achieve self-actualization. Kelly is flawed, sometimes outrageous, but also very real in her struggles and insecurities.
Katie shared some insight into her unique “inspirational fiction” genre and her purpose behind writing these books. You can learn more about Katie at KatieMorton.com or purchase her books on Amazon, both are now on sale!
Q: Combing fiction with a self-help book seems like such a unique idea. Did you model this new “inspirational fiction” genre after anyone? Did you always want to write a book like this?
A: I got the idea to write self-help fiction when I was single, living in New York City, working at CNBC, and began writing my first novel in the early 2000’s. I felt tortured and angst-y at the time, and writing felt healing and soothing to me. (It still does.) The only problem at the time was that, as a young adult trying to navigate a tough career and dating landscape, I felt clueless and unevolved. Truthfully, I could barely help myself, let alone write a self-help book.
So I wrote a novel that was a ‘good try’ in terms of basic chick lit for a 20-something audience, but it didn’t have that element of impactful wisdom that I wanted to be able to share with readers. So I never published it.
Fast forward about 10 years, and I read The Alchemist—which I would consider to be in that same genre of inspirational fiction that I’d been aiming for, and it was great motivation to give it another go.
I knew more at that stage of my life when I undertook writing Secrets of People With Extraordinary Willpower. I’d been able to help myself out of some difficult situations, and I felt much better prepared to help readers make similar progress in their own lives.
Q: What inspires you to write, to create, and to share your work?
A: I often feel “internally disorganized” is the best way to describe it. My self-esteem needs work. I swing between arrogance and shame. I can feel like a victim and then lash out—which means I’m not always as nice as I like to think. You know, basic human stuff. None of us is perfect.
The good news is that we are all magnificent and deserving of compassion and unconditional love.
When I write, I’m often exploring our baser human instincts—fear-based stuff and the ways we’re uncomfortable in our human-ness: for example, the stress of work and trying to make a living…feeling uncomfortable in our imperfect bodies…wishing for deeper connection with our friends and family, but being lucky if we can close the gaps.
Becoming aware of human nature helps us to see our reactivity and patterns. Once we’re aware of them, we can work a little harder at breaking these habits and correcting pain-causing behavior—and in the process, improving our lives, which can bring us closer to satisfaction and happiness.
We often feel like we’re not making progress, because many of us wrestle with the same issues repeatedly over the years, but what we might not notice is that we do improve little by little, each time the problems swing back around again. We hack away at the roots of the issues and we get closer to resolution each time we attempt to solve the problem. (So don’t give up!)
Q: When you wrote your first book, Secrets of People With Extraordinary Willpower, did you know it would be the first in a series of books?
A: I’m not sure I was thinking that far ahead. I had an inkling, maybe, but I was really just focused on the task at hand. It felt like a massive undertaking at the time.
Q: Many of your main characters are seriously flawed. Were any of them based off of anyone you know in real life? Do you see yourself in any of the characters?
A: The characters are a mixed bag of many people, both real and imagined, but there’s no single character that represents a single real person.
That said, I’m probably a decent mix of Kelly and Earnest. Kelly represents my baser instincts, all of my neuroses and insecurities wrapped up into one persona. The voice of Earnest (not his jerky, shady, rip-off-artist part)—I’m talking Earnest’s higher self—the wisdom he shares in his lectures came from a mix of my intuitive / higher self, from research I’ve done, and from what happened in my real life when I applied that research and was able to improve my ability to beat back some harmful habits.
Q: Who is your favorite character and why?
A: That’s a tough question. I love Kelly because she’s probably the most familiar to me. But at the same time, she can be slow-to-grow and causes herself a lot of unnecessary heartache and strife (just like a real person!) I often wish she would just go from point A (unevolved and unhappy) to point B (perfection—or at least not such a disaster) a lot faster, but then there would be no learning process, and thus no book.
I do love Earnest as well. He’s so dastardly, and has enough of his own blindspots and lack of self-awareness to make him really fun to write. I love that he supposedly has this iron-clad willpower, but he clearly just shifted his addictive tendencies away from food and alcohol towards sex and money. A lot of people who struggle with addictive behavior go through the musical chairs of different addictions until they (hopefully) settle into healthier behaviors.
Q: How much of the theories and practices shared are real? Are you an expert in this field?
A: It’s all real. I hate to call myself an “expert” because I don’t have formal training or a diploma. I didn’t conduct my own scientifically rigorous studies in a lab with subjects. I studied the literature that’s available to all of us over the course of several years and, in the process of digesting that information and writing articles, came to some key understandings that I saw played out in real life within me, around me, in the news, and among my extended network.
Q: What’s next? Any future plans for Kelly Ryan? How about for you?
A: Both myself and Kelly Ryan are about to go through a serious evolution that is going to bring us to a higher plane. The next book will see Kelly grow into more insight and peace. She’s going to become less of a fumbler and more of a force. I see her being a source of wisdom in the next book, rather than solely serving the role of the seeker. But I don’t have a plot yet—the muses have yet to reveal the details of the next book, so this is all subject to change.