Featuring a Fabulous Novel! Playing the Genetic Lottery

Caitlin Kane knows more about the impact of schizophrenia than most people could imagine. Both her
parents were afflicted with the devastating mental illness, a disease that tends to run in families, and
Caitlin and her brother grew up trying to navigate the chaos of living with two schizophrenics. Her
tumultuous childhood left Caitlin determined to forge a peaceful and serene life for herself. Now 32,
she is living her dream. Married to her best friend, she and her husband are raising two bright young
children in the suburbs of Seattle. While her unusual upbringing has left Caitlin with emotional scars,
she enjoys the love and support of her extended family and her challenging career as a pediatric nurse.
But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t shake the obsessive fear that the family illness will strike
again, robbing her of her mind or stealing away the sanity of one or both of her children.

Terri Morgan is a freelance journalist who’s work has appeared in dozens of different magazines and
newspapers. She is the author of four sports biographies for young adults, and the co-author of two
others. She is the co-author of two books on photography: Photography, Take Your Best Shot, and
Capturing Childhood Memories, The Complete Photography Guide for Parents. Playing the Genetic
Lottery is her first novel. She lives in Soquel, California.

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Every morning when I first wake up I wonder and I worry. Before getting out of bed, before registering my full, aching bladder, before remembering what day it is and what responsibilities await — I assess myself for signs of the disease. I roll my eyes around the room, looking for phantoms that may have appeared while I was sleeping. For odd, moving sights, like my dresser transformed into a rolling automobile or roaring lion. To make sure that the clock radio on my nightstand or the framed photos on the bookshelves haven’t cloned themselves overnight and morphed into twins or even triplets.

Then I listen carefully. I hear Jason snoring lightly beside me. I hear the ticking of the living room clock. I hear the jangle of Rosco’s tags as he rolls over on his bed in the corner of our room. I hold my breath and listen for mysterious voices or alien noises. Then, once I’m sure I’m not hearing any unusual, strange sounds, I ask myself—silently so not to wake my sleeping husband—-a series of questions.

Who am I? What’s my address? Where do I work? How old are my children? What’s my husband’s name? Who’s the president? Only after the correct responses to the first five pop into my mind, and I chuckle to myself after answering “Calvin Coolidge” to the sixth question because I know good and well that Barack Obama currently resides in the White House, do I know I’m safe for another day. If I still have my sense of humor, and apparently my faculties, I’ve still escaped it.

Escaped the mental illness that afflicted and consumed my mother, my father and my brother. Escaped the schizophrenia that robbed them of their minds and me of a childhood.

I know that at 32 my chances of developing schizophrenia are miniscule and keep shrinking with every passing month. Despite that, I’m still obsessively terrified of developing the devastating mental illness that was an ever-present part of my formative years. It’s shaped who I’ve become, and I’ve worked for more than half my life to recover from its impact. My father, mother and brother all lost the genetic lottery, and their misfortune continues to ripple through my life even today.

My name, at least the name I go by now, is Caitlin. That’s the name I chose for myself 18 years ago when I fled my childhood home of horrors. I cast off the name on my birth certificate for the new one in hopes of casting off the madness that was my family.

Check her out at:  http://terrimorgan.net/

I loved this book.  It was scary, but I found I could hardly put it down.  I definitely recommend you read it!


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