RI Authors - Michael Morse
“My books are about people and creatures who struggle through their existence”
By Michael Morse
I tell the story of how my first book came together often; little yellow stick-it notes plastered all over Providence Fire Department’s Rescue Co. 1; in my office, in my pockets, on doors, on my dashboard – everywhere I went for four days. Then I explain how I put them all together over a one-year period, the result of which became my first two books, Rescuing Providence in 2007 (Palladin Press) and Rescue 1 Responding in 2011 (Post Hill Press). Two short story collections followed; City Life in 2015 (Post Hill Press) and Rescue 911, Tales from a First Responder in 2017 (Post Hill Press). In between all of the fire department related things I was writing my wife, Cheryl and I put together another book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home, published in February of 2015 (Skyhorse Publishing) https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JRZ2Y2
My knack for writing helped get me through a less than stellar high school experience. I was one of the the 1% of graduating Bishop Hendricken High School students who did not pursue higher education. Just wasn’t in the cards. I worked construction jobs, was a line cook, a bartender, cleaned offices and restaurants at night. I was twenty-nine years old when I became a Providence Firefighter, and forty-five when my first book was published.
I am truly fortunate to have had my work published by some reputable publishers. I do not have a literary agent representing me, not from lack of trying. For years I perfected query letters, put together writing samples, entire manuscripts and my resume and dutifully sent them off to every agent I thought would be interested in what I had to offer only to be ignored and rejected. So, I began representing myself. Being an independent author is much like pushing water up hill, a lot of getting nowhere fast and drowning in misery as the fruit of your labor. When you finally reach what you believed to be the top of the mountain with your load, you realize that the water you began your journey with has disappeared into mist, and all you are left with a bucket of sweat. But it’s your sweat, and nobody can take credit for it, or take it away from you. It will never dissipate, instead it transforms into written pages, chapters and books that will be around long after we have turned to dust.
My books are about people and creatures who struggle through their existence.
Again, I was fortunate. Stories came to me one 911 call at a time. I thought the people behind those calls were fascinating, more so than the people responding, so I wrote about the people I encountered. Seemingly small emergencies to me were major life events for them. I left out the more dramatic life vs. death struggles for the most part and focused more on what I experienced through my eyes as a fire department medic in the inner city as the true human condition. My job offered me a picture window into other people’s lives that I had no business being part of. The fact that because of whatever emergency befell them I was not only welcome, but eagerly admitted access into the most private moments stayed foremost in my mind as I wrote about their experience.
When I thought that the well of stories had run dry due to my retirement from actively responding to 911 calls, I was sorely mistaken. When we adopted a “little dog that doesn’t shed near Providence,” through Petfinder, little did we know that dozens of people from New England to Arkansas would be involved in getting Mr. Wilson Home. After weeks of activity we waited in a rest stop off of Rt. 395 in Mossup Connecticut with a group of other people waiting for their newly adopted dogs to be delivered. The experience was truly amazing, and the more I learned about the world of pet rescue, the more I realized that the writer in me simply had to tell the story.
Life is funny, every day things happen that at first glance seem rather mundane, but when the layers of seemingly insignificant events are peeled away, beautiful, complex stories are revealed. I am truly grateful to have the ability to tell those stories in such a way that people can enjoy them.
Captain Michael Morse (ret.), firstname.lastname@example.org, is the bestselling author of Rescuing Providence, Rescue 1 Responding, City Life, Rescue 911 and Mr. Wilson Makes it Home. He writes a monthly column for The Providence Journal, Fire Engineering and Fire Life, and is a frequent contributor at EMS1. Michael has been active in EMS since 1991 and offers his views on a variety of EMS and firefighting topics, focusing mainly on the interaction between patient and provider as a well-respected columnist and speaker. Captain Morse is a Johnson/Macoll fellow in literature from the Rhode Island Foundation. Follow Michael on Twitter and Facebook.