Guest Author Interview with T. M. Moore!
Thank you author, T. M. Moore, for spending time with us and doing this interview! I know our readers will enjoy it as much as we do. If you're looking for more info, there will be links at the end of the post!
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: I have written several. I will start with Destiny’s Forge, my first one.
2. Can you tell me about the book?
Answer: It was based on some 30 short stories written for a fan club. I cobbled the manuscript together into a single story, with room for sequels and spin offs. It was Star Trek fan fiction, but my fan club adopted the rules that we should not use the original characters in a story, nor use the Enterprise. To keep our writing cohesive we built and named our own starship. Many of our adventures were based on the time of the movie series, but we were free of copyright infringement.
3. What is your writing process like?
Answer: I usually write stream of consciousness to draft out the plot, then go back and do research when I need to, fact check, and so on. If I find a better way to write something I will edit. At the end, I edit and proofread before publishing.
4. What did you learn when writing the book?
Answer: How well I could write, that I could preserve the basic story and also introduce new concepts into it without sacrificing anything I wanted to say.
5. What surprised you the most?
Answer: That I had characters who inspired me to write their origin stories after finishing the first book.
6. What does the title mean?
Answer: It’s a dual title. It talks about the starship my protagonist serves, and also about how much destiny can forge her fate and evolution.
7. Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?
Answer: Actually, it was myself. When I was writing for the fan club, I had to create a fictional character to serve as protagonist and crew member on the club’s starship. I simply integrated my beliefs and natural inclinations into my character. The other members did the same thing. We were toying with making a video but that was sidelined.
8. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
Answer: I know what happened. I wrote each character’s origin story, then took a story about the far future of the plot from Destiny’s Forge. I am still coming up with ideas to write each character into a series of adventures.
9. What advice do you have for writers?
Answer: Write until the cows come home. Write what you feel, think and experience. Do not let others tell you that writing is a waste of time. It is the only way you can express yourself in a permanent form, and the more people read what you have to say, the more of them will be educated and inspired.
10. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Answer: It actually energizes me. I am able to slip into a completely different world and escape the doldrums of the modern world. I practice inserting different voices depending on the timeline of a book so that I enjoy writing them, too.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Answer: Distraction, drink to excess, wandering attention, lack of gravitas about a project, lack of support from family and friends, emotional lack of self-esteem.
12. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Answer: Emotional disgust. These days it persists on end, until I break it by forcing myself to concentrate. The latest political climate makes it hard to even justify the effort to write, but I keep going nontheless.
13. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Answer: Several times. I don’t like my name, but now that I have established a library of my own my usual penchant is to use my name. I figure that if no one likes it they can go fish.
14. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Answer: I try more to be original. I try to keep to the covenant I have established with my characters. I mind their needs and wants more than my own. I try to remain consistent in each body of work, because I want readers to enjoy what I write, not treat it like a chore.
15. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Answer: I want each book to stand on its own. I had written several of my books in a series until I realized the readers would treat a series as an obligation to buy more books even if they were not interested. So, after a short battle with Amazon I managed to segregate them. They would realize that each book has its own plotline and follows one or more characters in a separate and distinct adventure. Only the subtheme persists throughout, and that is the connection between the books.
16. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Answer: 1 in process, 3 in development, and 1 series of children’s books planned for sometime in the future.
17. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Answer: I usually start by Googling terms and factoids before I start doing deeper research. Each page presents me with links which I then connect to and study before I begin writing my notes. As I am writing, I will sometimes come across words and other facts which I fact check before adding them into my narrative.
18. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: Part-time, about 20 years, while I pursued a career in a profession I was not fond of. I did not publish Destiny’s Forge for the first time until 2006. Before that, I was writing for practically free since 1983.
19. How many hours a day do you write?
Answer: It depends on how many other things I have to do to keep up my web presence, advertising, etc. Sometimes an emergency will crop up until I deal with it. Then I write as much as I want for about 4 hours solid.
20. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
Answer: I do not. I have not even entertained the idea of writing an autobiography. True I use my own experience to write a character, but writing about myself is not the idea.
21. What did you edit out of this book?
Answer: A whole section I wanted to leave into the latest edition. But I felt it was too many pages. I plan to put it back at some point in the future.
22. How do you select the names of your characters?
Answer: I used their origin points. For example, my protagonist in Destiny’s Forge is Antonia Bellero. I liked the name Antonia to begin with but did not have a last name until I heard something on the news about a small town in Italy. They called it Bellero. But my character is not Italian. She is from another planet. Another example: my character Robert St. John is British, (The Queen’s Marksman) a young nobleman who fights in Afghanistan and also fights against the villains of the book. I took everything I had seen from English films, television shows, and books to form his character.
23. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Answer: Probably nothing. I’m too old to be hired anywhere, as they would put it. I also design jewelry and have a site for that, so it’s not like I’m bored. But have not had a steady paycheck since 2008.
24. What was your hardest scene to write?
Answer: So many of them. It was not that the mechanics were hard, it was the emotional input into each one. There were a couple which brought me to tears.
25. What is your favorite childhood book?
Answer: McGuffey’s Fifth Reader. It was a pure text book which contained various essays and short stories by authors like Twain, Chaucer, Guy de Maupassant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, and others.
26. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: It depends. I wrote one book in nearly one sitting because I had a clear idea what I wanted to say. Others take on average about a month, because there are so many details in them that have to be cleared up.
27. Do you believe in writer’s block?
Answer: I had it for a while, with one book A Journey Written In Blood and its sequel, Swords of The Dragon’s Blood. The historical research took the longest time, and even then I ended up ditching some of it to keep the plots consitent and to not bore the reader with trivialities. But I did not write for about 6 months while I was dealing with real life.
28. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Answer: Computer. I can go from rough draft to final draft to galley on the same file, without wasting paper. Long ago I went through reams of paper trying to keep my stories straight. Now I can just read through and edit as I go.
29. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: When I was a preteen, and I read a lot of books then. I found the need to express myself the way the other writers did, and I started writing short stories and poems to keep myself in practice.
30. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Answer: Not hard at all. I remember writing something in the corner of my notebook one day, and I transcribed it to a lined piece of paper.
31. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Answer: No. I believe that restricting myself to such boundaries only limits me and my writing.
32. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Answer: I’ll start with an idea and sometimes it will go someplace else. I go back and review and if the prose sounds logical to me I will proceed.
33. Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Answer: To overcome what?
34. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
Answer: I read a great deal when I was very young. I read the usual required titles in school, but the best ones were from books I read in the library. Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe (though he seemed depressing), Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ray Bradbury.
35. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
Answer: It tells a story and has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The protagonist has an origin which is credible to the plot. The villain has an origin which is credible to the plot. The story must flow smoothly and educate as well as entertain.
36. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
Answer: I’ve had that happen before in the last 10 years. So, no more book signings.
37. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
Answer: Treasure Island.
38. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Answer: A significant portion. My characters are an extract of myself.
39. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Answer: Few, actually. Destiny’s Forge was dedicated to David McDaniel, a fellow writer and published author who died in 1977. He wrote books in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. series and a couple of Prisoner books. He encouraged me to write what was in my heart instead of formula. Another, A Pirate’s Daughter, was dedicated to Captain Jack Sparrow, the lead character in the Pirates of The Caribbean series of films. Still another was Francis Lederer, an actor who had a rather short career, but whose acting led me to dedicate The Mystery of Cranewood Manor to him. In a way he was the inspiration, even if the actual story had nothing to do with him. He features in the book as a supporting character to my heroes.
40. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Answer: My family passed away some years ago.
41. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Answer: A muse. I suppose everything I look at or experience is my muse. Sometimes an idea will smack me in the head from seeming nowhere.
42. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?
Answer: Some of them are, but only after working very hard. But I am not, and none of my friends are. I have some financial means but I am not even a millionaire.
43. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
Answer: No. I scribble whatever comes to mind and then have to go over it again before I am satisfied with a first draft.
44. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Answer: Yes. 30 years ago I submitted a manuscript I titled “Escape To Samarra” to several publishers, only to get rejected with the note that I had good writing but that the book itself was not a fit for what they were looking for.
45. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
Answer: No. I don’t know enough authors to have them spare the time.
46. Is writing book series more challenging?
Answer: Not really. It’s work to keep the same characters consistent with the books in the series, but writing a series is not that hard. I know because 8 of my books could be included in a series but again there is that obligation to readers to buy all of them. I don’t want to pigeonhole them that way.
47. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
Answer: I figure that if it is important enough I will recall it.
48. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
Answer: Once. I was not happy with the whole thing and threw it out as rubbish when all was said and done.
49. Can you tell us about your current projects?
Answer: Right now I am working on a nonfiction book called Science Fiction Films of The 20th Century: The 1950s. It is a catalog of films which were called science fiction (some were called monster movies) and were made in the 1950s. I am planning to write and publish more decade by decade. I started writing about them because my local SF club wanted to see more scholarly books in their library rather than have books which were more pictures than prose. Another book in the hopper is a western/scifi novel I call A Bad Night In Soledad, which is a break from the other 17th century novels. Then I will take up the historical angle with A Time of Blood and Roses, which is about the French Revolution. I have several more but they are waiting for me to even look at them. I keep text files of raw outlines until I can get to them. That’s how busy I am.
50. Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?
Answer: No. I took American Literature in college and I was competing with 30 other people. But my high school English teacher told me I had the gift.
51. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
Answer: No. Sadly, they were never that literary.
52. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
Answer: I have a partner but he cannot read fiction. But he is assisting me with the AV research I have to do for the SF film books, so sometimes we argue about which film is science fiction or just a monster movie. He is just as engaged with the research as I am, so popcorn nights are usually something on disc or on Netflix. I have given him a credit for his work in these books.
53. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
Answer: I don’t have nightmares per se. I have long rambling dreams about elements from my work or solving problems, some of which are truncated when I wake up. They are not worth writing about in the long run.
T. M. Moore is an author and illustrator who publishes under the Antellus imprint. She writes science fiction adventure, mystery, and nonfiction books on genre topics, with a view to educate as well as entertain.
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