Transporting readers through the character of Dan Steele has given Cinnaminson author John Morse great joy. He recently published his second Steele book, “Chokepoint,” a sequel to the 2018 novel “Half Staff.”
Morse’s book journey started long before he wrote his first story. He majored in English in college and even took a creative writing class. He spent 25 years in the Navy before working at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown as an official documents writer.
Those two experiences resulted in an idea that eventually spawned his first book.
“Coming up on retiring from Lockheed Martin, I said, ‘You know what? I would really like to write a book,’” Morse recalled. “I had this story cooking in my head for a number of years and I said, ‘Well I’m just going to try it.’
“I eventually started putting things together and I had 20,000 words, then 50,000 words. I said, ‘I had a novel here, let me try to finish it.’”
“Half-Staff” follows Steele, a former U.S. Navy Seal who loses his family and is called back to work for the government to combat domestic terrorism. In Morse’s second novel, “Chokepoint,” Steele is called upon once again when a Russian general escapes from prison and holds an international waterway hostage with nuclear and chemical weapons.
“After the first book, I had another idea to write a sequel,” Morse explained. “The first book is a domestic thriller, but the second book is much broader. The second book is actually based on a story out of history.”
“During the 1600s, when coffee first became a drink of choice, people would go to Yemen,” the author said. “There’s a city in Yemen called Mocha and that’s where they grew coffee up in the hills. At the time, the Ottoman Turks controlled the Arabian Peninsula and proposed a tax on all vessels going from the Indian Ocean up through the Bab-el-Mandeb, into the Red Sea. So I figured I would try to modify that story.”
For Morse, the second book became much easier to write as he continued to work on his craft. He honed his skills describing the foreign countries in his story by using his Navy experiences in the Middle East.
“It’s very therapeutic,” Morse noted. “I really enjoy writing and reading and seeing how other authors do things … I want readers to be entertained, but also be a little nervous as they are brought into a world that could actually potentially happen.”
“It’s really fulfilling and fun for me. It’s fascinating to do this and to get people’s reactions. People become emotionally invested in the story and the characters. I have developed a following and they are already asking about the third book. It’s very rewarding.”
Readers can find Morse’s books on Amazon for Ebook and in paperback, under John P. Morse or John Morse. To contact Morse,email him at John@johnpmorse.com.