ENGLEWOOD, N.J.– It took a near-death experience for Englewood native Adrienne Morris to do something she said she was born to do: write.
"After years of telling students to take a chance on their writing, I decided it was time I gave it a try myself," said Morris, a former St. Cecilia's High School teacher. "The previous year I had suffered a serious blood clot and was one blood transfusion away from death."
Inspired by her Civil War fascination, Morris penned "The House on Tenafly Road ."
The house was just a short distance from the since closed high school where Vince Lombardi once coached. The latest cover of the book features a turn of the century photograph of the house given to Morris by the current owner, who restored the place.
While writing, Morris was told the home was set for demolition, "so in my imagination, I restored the house to its former 1860’s glory —with a beautiful garden to boot."
While researching, Morris said she discovered "that many Civil War veterans were sent home with addictions to morphine and laudanum."
Her novel then became a story of one man’s search for a family and redemption.
"John Weldon believes his best friend Simon McCullough is partially responsible for his addiction and travels north to Englewood to confront him but falls in love with Simon’s sister and that’s when things get complicated," Morris said.
Englewood's rich history made the city the perfect setting for her first book, Morris said. "I fell in love with the city when I worked there, and my great-grandfather lived on James Street, so I always had a sense of family connection when I walked around with my students."
Morris now raises children, goats, sheep, chickens, and dogs in Saratoga, N.Y. She moved there after falling in love with an ex-military man, she said.
She continues to write about the same Englewood families.
"I was so interested in the offspring of the people in the first book I found myself writing four more books about them," Morris said.