Additional Titles Set to be Released this Year
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (Jan. 27, 2017) — Monmouth University Professor of Journalism John Morano is set to have a busy year outside of his teaching duties. His story of the last Guadalupe petrel, A Wing and a Prayer, has just been re-released in a 25th anniversary edition and additional titles are scheduled to be added to his environmental adventure series in 2017.
Morano was in graduate school when he saw a television news report about the last surviving hamster of its kind. He thought that writing about an animal on the verge of extinction could make an interesting story, but he determined that a hamster wasn’t the right animal for the story he wanted to tell.
He decided that he needed a bird, because a bird could cover great geographic distances and make his story global.
Morano pored over ornithological guides until he came across the Guadalupe petrel, a seabird that is believed to have gone extinct in 1911 after feral cats and other species were introduced to its breeding grounds on Guadalupe Island, located off of Baja California.
“The world is so fragile,” he noted. “We can wipe out a species without knowing it.”
That fragility is part of what spurred him to create the story of Lupé, a Guadalupe petrel, breaking free from captivity in hopes of finding his way back to his breeding grounds and discovering a mate.
“I think that a good journalist gives voice to the voiceless,” he said. “I believe in that ethic. What population is more voiceless, that can’t speak for themselves, than endangered species? I thought that I could tell their stories and give them voices.”
When he first began submitting the book to publishers, he said that they couldn’t see an audience for the book. “They said, ‘You’re writing a children’s book for adults and we don’t know how to market it.’”
After an initial round of rejections, he found a publisher and the book sold out its original print run. A Wing and a Prayer would go on to be reprinted a total of six times.
In the years since A Wing and A Prayer was first published, Morano has added two more titles to what is now known as the John Morano Eco-Adventure Series. The books have been endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy. The Grateful Dead even gave him permission to use their lyrics for free because they liked the idea that an octopus in his second book only spoke using the band’s lyrics.
Now, a quarter-century after they began, Morano’s eco-adventures are set to have their biggest year yet. His current publisher, Grey Gecko Press, is planning on re-releasing the second book in the series, Makoona, in April and the third book, Out There, Somewhere, in the summer. Around the holiday season, Morano will publish the newest installment in the series, Flocks of One. When the fourth book is released, his publisher has plans to release a hardcover anthology of the first three books.
Morano said he is compelled to keep writing, but acknowledges that making money from these books is not his top priority.
The fifth book in the series is already in the works. Its subject will be red wolves; a species he calls “wildly endangered.”
“I can’t not do this,” he stated emphatically. “You can have [fictional] superheroes — they’re fantastic — but I’ll take a real octopus any day of the week. They’re my superheroes.”
The John Morano Eco-Adventure series is available at major online retailers and at local booksellers.