By Jane Dail
Saturday, September 7, 2013
A Greenville man kickstarting a new company hopes to see his new venture gain traction with readers and writers, as well as further his love of travel.
Paul Morin started Old Harbour Press earlier this year after he published the first work, “Silk Armor” by Claire Sydenham, in April.
The book takes place in modern-day Turkey and follows a defiant veiled girl named Didem. She escapes her small village and begins studying at a university, where she meets an American man named Victor.
The two engage in a love affair but face threats and obstacles along the way after Didem makes the decision to stop wearing a veil.
While planning their escape, secrets Didem thought she left behind with the village come back to haunt her.
Morin, an adjunct instructor at East Carolina University in English as a second language, said his own experiences across the country and overseas helped his reading, and ultimately publishing, interests.
The Nebraska native moved to the Greenville area in 2006 after the destruction from Hurricane Katrina forced him to relocate from his home in New Orleans.
He and his wife, who also works at ECU, both lost their jobs at Xavier University of Louisiana after the hurricane devastated the area and the school completely shut down for a full year.
“We lost our jobs,” he said. “We had to evacuate, and Greenville’s where we ended up.”
Morin, who has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master of fine arts in creative writing, then began working as an editor for a corporate magazine before he worked for ECU.
“I knew I wanted to create a company, I knew I wanted to get more involved with writing and reading,” he said. “It just seemed like a natural step to start a publishing company.”
Before living in the Big Easy, Morin was working as a writer and editor for a software company when he decided to teach overseas and began working in Turkey.
He lived there for a year and ended up meeting his wife.
The couple then moved to Cyprus and stayed for several years before moving to the United States so his wife could further her education.
“We thought we should see what the U.S. was like,” he said.
Traveling and experiencing different cultures shaped his interests, something that may turn into a possible niche for Morin’s publishing company.
“I think you can be really narrow-minded about literature without having a world view,” he said. “… Before I lived in Turkey, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea how to judge a work that was based on or about Islam, or the veil or anything like that. Now I have a much better sense of how these other cultures live.”
Though Morin’s favorite books tend to be about travel and intercultural experiences, nothing is set in stone.
“There are a lot of good books about travel — it happens to be one of my favorite kind of novel,” he said. “Right now, we’re guessing on a niche, and basically I think the niche comes to you.”
His travels even inspired the name of his company.
Morin said when he was in Cyprus, he lived near a harbor that dated as far back as the 10th century called the Old Harbour and was once under British rule, hence the spelling.
Morin said he may work to possibly partner with Turkish publishing companies to make the books available to a wider audience.
The book is currently available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.com, and Morin is focusing on getting reviews, including from literary blogs, and seeing how the first book performs.
“Right now the focus of the company is on making our first title a success,” he said. “I think it’s a quality book, naturally, and a lot of people who have read it so far are giving it four or five stars. The idea that you can write a good book and still get anybody interested at all is part of my motivation for creating a publishing company.”
Morin said he hopes to publish other works and welcomes manuscripts from writers, who may benefit from working with a local company rather than through traditional means.
“Publishers in New York, they’re looking only at the bottom line,” he said. “They have to. It’s a business. But smaller and independent presses are willing to try something that may not have much wide appeal.”
Morin said though his company’s focus at the moment is primarily on writing about travel and other cultures, he is looking into the idea of publishing a short story collection about Eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks.
“We may separate it into two titles, fiction in one and essays in another,” he said. “I’m confident there’s a lot of good work out there that fits this description but hasn’t seen publication. …
“That might be the next project.”
Contact Jane Dail at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.