Thursday, April 11, 2013

It All Began with Penguins and Mexico

It all began with penguins and Mexico. Okay, I obviously don’t mean there were penguins in Mexico. Just bear with me for a moment, and I’ll explain.

I grew up along the banks of a lake in rural Louisiana. We’re talking the country—no red lights or restaurants. I went to a school with about 100 students total in Pre-K to 12th grade. I did not ride a rollercoaster until I was 14 or board a plane until I’d nearly turned 20.
The lake where I grew up
Growing up, I read books about far-off places filled with centuries-old traditions, unique languages, and endless layers of history. I longed to see the world and write as my career and when I grew up, God gave me the opportunities to fulfill both of these dreams.

My writing journey began in the pages of my first notebook, which had Hello Kitty plastered on its front. I’d scratch out notes and little stories in my six-year-old penmanship. These scrawls expanded to diary entries and short stories.
Me (on right), my brother and Mom in front of our house (Mom's going to hurt me for this one. lol - Check out my alligator visor hat. hehe)
My first inclination to form words into a book stemmed from my fifth grade teacher placing “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” in my hand. I love the book. It has humor and adventure and the conclusion that all things are possible—even having penguins as pets—although that was never part of my dream. This book and my teacher’s encouragement did awaken my desire to write and become an author someday.

Enter my next influence—travel. I’d made a few rounds through some of our U.S. states by the time of high school graduation, but I was eager for my first international adventure.

It was that summer when God gave me the opportunity to serve him in Mexico, sharing the love of Jesus with children at an orphanage and the surrounding villages. I also felt His leading to study journalism and Spanish at university.
In Mexico with some ninos (kids)
Throughout college, I learned more about writing, God, myself, and the vast cultures of the world. I spent school breaks teaching English in Serbia, studying Spanish in Costa Rica, exploring Egypt and Jordan, backpacking through the U.K. and France, and returning to Mexico several times.

In all this time, God was preparing me to fulfill my dream of writing a book and tell His story through it. All the lessons He has taught me, people I have met, and places I have seen form a vast pool to draw inspiration out of for my novels.
Salzburg, Austria
To me, my passion for globetrotting, writing, and serving Jesus Christ go hand-in-hand. It is my faith, travels, and love of history that form the backbone of my writing. Through my writing, I hope readers can explore the globe from wherever they are while also deepening their understanding of major historic events, fascinating cultures, and most importantly, faith in God.

I’m thrilled to join fellow writers, travelers and believers in the ICFW blogging community. I look forward to sharing more about writing, travel, and faith in future posts. Happy Travels and God Bless!
Scuba diving in Puerto Rico
Here’s a little teaser about my debut novel, which is set in both Louisiana and Germany.

1938 Germany: An American Nazi’s quest for truth leads to treason. Her story remains hidden for decades—until now.

Two women of two generations struggle in search of love, forgiveness, and a chance to follow their hearts and shed broken pasts. But will faith be enough?

Do you share a similar story to mine? Are you able to look back now and see the way God has led to His calling on your life? I'd love to hear your story.

Morgan Tarpley is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also a historical novelist currently seeking representation. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her interests include acting in her local theater, photography, and singing.

For more information about Morgan, visit her website ( and blog ( You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.


  1. Welcome to International Christian Fiction Writers, Morgan, it's great to have you join our community of writers.

    Wow you have had some interesting travels, lots of material for novels. I love the teaser for your debut novel which sounds like a fascinating read.

    1. Thanks so much, Ruth Ann! I'm happy to be here. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping in and commenting. :)

  3. Love your pictures! Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hi Carole! Thanks so much for stopping in and commenting! :)

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  5. Hi Morgan! A great introduction! What wonderful background for a writer!Tell your mom it's a great picture and I'm impressed with her fish!