Julie C. Morse, Author
There’s a Chinese proverb that resonates loudly with me when I think about my journey to becoming an author. It says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
I always knew I should, and would, write a book—but twenty-some years ago, life took me on a detour that put that dream on the back burner for a very good reason. My son, Greg, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I was twenty-nine at the time, pregnant with my daughter Kristin, and my life priorities changed in the flash of an x-ray. Nothing else really mattered but health and family for many years. To help pay the bills, I freelanced for Chicago newspapers and helped market non-profits. When finances demanded, I entered realty—a field I love to this day. I have no regrets about putting my author dreams on hold for a while. My son recovered fully and my daughter remained healthy—and they made my most important dreams for life come true, bar none.
My children are now grown, living healthfully and working happily. I’ve weathered a few more tough storms over time, including divorce, only to find a peaceful harbor with my soul mate Jeff Sunderman, whom I married in 2004. Together we have a family of six grown children, plus the joys of their spouses, significant others, and our first grandchild born in 2011. Add in two dogs, Piper and Lady, and a horse named Rain—and I believe we now officially qualify for menagerie status.
So now, at long last, it’s time to follow my dreams as a writer, first and foremost. I have planted a new tree of life in the form of books, my books. The first two, When Billy Went Bald and Out of the Box, are both reflective of a “can do” life philosophy that has grown within me ever since Greg had his first surgery. The seeds for that tree were sown by my father, a self-made Horatio Alger clone, who raised me on his own brand of Norman Vincent Peale-styled positivism. But the true development and test of my life philosophy came through my life challenges, successes, and failures. If I had written books in my thirties, as planned, they would have been very different from those I have written today—and I think, honestly, not as good. In my fifties now, I’ve rediscovered my youthful passion for writing, enriched with a depth and breadth of lessons learned through life itself. My books are also helping me pursue another life passion—to help inspire people in life and work via my own style of “can-do” motivational speaking.
My children’s book, When Billy Went Bald, based on my son’s own experiences, chronicles a little boy’s triumphant journey through cancer and treatment-related baldness. Net proceeds from the book benefit the Sunshine Kids Foundation’s life-enhancing work on behalf of children with cancer and their families. I am gratified that Midwest Book Review said, “When Billy Went Bald is an exceptional contribution to the field of children’s health and education.”
For adults, my new Out of the Box creative nonfiction book tells the real-life story of an inspirational mystery man, Bob Harris—a septuagenarian whose own can-do attitude shines through life tales of which Kirkus Reviews said “Forays into the Middle East, across Russia on the Tranbs Siberian Express railroads and up Mt Everest read like the greatest of adventures.”
(For more information, please visit the website page for each book.)
My dreams have come true with the publication of these books, and I’m working on more dreams to come—a women’s anthology, an inspirational nature book, a cancer support guide, and more children’s books, too. I am filled with excitement for my new role as an author and with gratitude for every reader who chooses to join me on the journey.