Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Introducing Sam Morton

Yo, yo! What Up? Slammin’ Sammy is in the hiz’ouse with a little sumpn, sumpn.

Okay, that’s the extent of my effort to be “hip.”

By way of introduction, I am Sam Morton, a member of the Quake team of teen fiction/young adult authors. I am a former professional wrestler, trained by the Fabulous Moolah who, for 25 years was the WWE women’s champion. For ten years I wrestled people like Wahoo McDaniel and Ivan Koloff. Out of the current crop of superstars, I wrestled two who are still around—Rob Van Dam and Viscera.

So how did I come into writing as a profession? Two words—Pat Conroy, author of such books as Beach Music and The Lords of Discipline (both Hollywood feature films). Conroy went to The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and so did I. If you don’t consider yourself a reader, go to the library and pick up one of Conroy’s books. You will, as I did, immediately fall in love with words and language. He is a masterful writer. He’s a transformative writer. Read him, and your life will change. Mine did.

My first novel, Disavowed, came out in 2006. Besides being a pro wrestler, I was also a homicide cop for ten years. Disavowed is an adult crime novel, a police thriller based on my experience.

What made me want to try young adult fiction? Simple. I had a story to tell, and it has to do with a remarkable, inspirational 15-year-old young man named Austin Pierce Whetsell.

In my newest novel, Betrayed, (due out in August of 2009, BTW), it’s an election year and Senator Ben “Pitchfork” Stevens from Texas made a campaign promise to stop illegal immigration. He virtually has. Problem is, people trying to cross the border seem to disappear. That’s a dilemma for 15-year-old Austin Pierce whose father is a political consultant and whose best friend, Rico Alvarez, happens to be in the United States illegally. When Austin discovers Rico’s beautiful cousin Veronica helps people cross over illegally, he faces a decision: should he help his friends or help the FBI to stop the senator? Either path could lead to danger, even death.

The real Austin went on a mission trip to help renovate a church in Mexico. Just before the work week began, he and the guys from his youth group decided to go swimming in the ocean. Before heading to the beach, Austin called his grandfather to tell him about the trip so far. At the end of that call, he said, “Grandpa, what if God intends me to do this the rest of my life?” Two hours later, Austin was gone forever, caught in a rip current and swept out to sea.

His last words haunt me and I knew his story needed to be told, his spirit of helping others carried forward. And so, Austin Pierce, the teen spy, was born. Betrayed is only book one from The Austin Files. Look for another adventure to soon follow, thus Austin Whetsell and the example he set lives on.

You may find it surprising that adults could find true inspiration in the example of young adults. But if you’re a teen reading his, give yourself more credit. There are people around you with incredible courage, resolve, and determination. And if you look inside, you just may find it in yourself.


Norm Cowie said...

I did NOT know you were a wrestler? How come this didn't come up during dinner at Printer's Row?

Regan Black said...

He's promised to wrestle in stilettos if we can find his size!


Chris V. said...

Hey I thought we were doing a Quake calendar or something?

Norm Cowie said...

I'm trying hard not to picture him in tights.

Iris said...

Hey Sam. I think its great that you are helping to immortalize the original Austin's efforts. Awesome!

Anne Carter said...

Sam, this is an incredible story. Can't wait to read it. Such a nice tribute to your young friend.

And Norm, how come you didn't know about the wrestling? Even *I* knew about that... :^)