The Twelve(ish) Days of Authors – Day 7, Moira J. Moore

23 Dec

Next up is someone I’ve befriended on livejournal for several years, author Moira J. Moore. When I picked up her first novel, Resenting the Hero, I was expecting some sort of wacky slapstick. What I got instead was a well-thought out novel that, while having its occasional funny moment, I’d say would be more of a character-driven adventure novel with two non-fighter leads. Now, throughout this interview I’ve linked the covers to the amazon pages, besides Heroes Reward, which I’ll link to its Goodreads page.  

Those that enjoy her books tend to blame the covers on the idea that we were getting a romp:

 ResentingtheHero

Maybe I shouldn’t get her fans started on the covers…

Moira J. Moore is a fantasy writer who unfortunately happens to be a lawyer. The first six books of her Heroes series was published by ACE, and she self-published the last book of the series, Heroes’ Reward, in November, 2012. It can be found on her blog at http://www.livejournal.com/184589.html  and through the Smashwords site here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/262941

 

Moira is most active on her blog, moiraj.livejournal.com, as well as on Facebook, but also has a twitter account she barely uses and a webpage, moirajmoore.com.

 

Tell us about Heroes’ Reward, and who you think would like it.

 Heroes’ Reward represents the clash between the two most powerful forces on the continent, and it’s what all of the earlier books were preparing the characters – and the readers – for.  A lot of themes and characters from earlier books are brought together.  It’s not as light as the earlier books, and it has less humour. However, those who enjoyed the political subplots that were creeping into earlier books should enjoy this one.

 

One of the things I really liked in Resenting the Hero was that you explained how you not only had humans living on a non-earth world, but you explained how they got there and that they weren’t counting on all the natural disasters. Was there a reason for the explanation of The Landing?

 There were several reasons why I wanted the characters to be descendants of people from Earth. One big one was I wanted Lee’s inner voice to be informal and full of slang that readers would instantly recognize. I didn’t want to make up a bunch of terms for various things – such as aristocratic titles or swearing  – that people would have to learn and would keep tripping over while they read. I wanted Taro to be Japanese. I liked the idea of referring to lines from Shakespeare when Taro was speaking in a manner that confused Lee, because Shakespeare always confused me. But I wanted to write a fantasy story, not science fiction, which meant the society had to be cut off from the original space explorers, and one of the reasons for the disasters was to bring the culture back to pre-industrial level of technology.

 

 If Taro wasn’t a Source and most of the rest of the story stayed the same (granted it was because he was a Source he was treated the way he was, but let’s pretend he was more or less shunned by his family and his brother still died) would he have kept the title of Duke of Westsea or would he still have given it to Fiona? 

 I don’t know that I could make the story work without Taro being a Source. He would have never left Flown Raven, and would have never been properly educated. He would have either been set up as duke as a puppet for his mother, or he would have been passed over completely and left to rot in his room. He would have never even learned about Fiona and would have been too mentally damaged to show any initiative.

 

Do you have a favorite character? How about least favorite?

 I never thought about having a favourite character, but I’m going to go with Aryne. I like characters that can be brutally honest one moment and give a charming smile the next. My least favourite is the Dowager Duchess. She has no redeeming qualities and I can’t stand complete jerks.

 HeroStrikesBack

Bench-Dancing: What was the inspiration and do you have any professional dancing experience?

 I have since learned that there are actual dances that are similar to bench dancing, but at the time I wanted to create an activity that was part dance and part sport, with a definite winner and loser. I wanted Lee to be good at something that didn’t involve the mind, something that brought out her emotions. She strives to be calm in every other part of her life, but when she is dancing, she is determined to win and practically feral about it. Seeing her dance for the first time is when Taro falls in lust – not in love – with her. 

 The second part of your question made me smile. No professional experience at all, though I took Irish dancing lessons as a kid and have tried belly dancing.

 

Do you have any other projects in the works?

 I have started work on the first book of a new series in a new world. It’s about a small group of scouts being sent by their military into the enemy country with a nefarious mission. The oldest and most used non-romantic premise in history, but I wanted to try my hand at a devil-may-care captain.

 

What are your favorite toppings on a pizza?

 Bacon, bacon, and bacon. And feta cheese.

 

In the spirit of sharing, tell us about a book by another author you adore.

 

I love Dorothy L. Sayers’ mystery series involving Lord Peter Wimsey. I love how the English use language, Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey seem amazingly modern considering the books were written in the 1920s and 30s, and the books stand up to rereading.

 

 What’s the best movie you’ve seen so far this year, or are you anticipating seeing anything over the holiday season?

 No lie, my favourite movie of the year is a tv movie about Canada’s first prime minister before he was prime minister and before Canada was a country.  John A.: Birth of a Country tells the story of how John A. Macdonald and his nemesis of many years decide to work together to forge the British North American colonies into a single country. I seem to be developing a taste for movies about political figures.

 

What’s the best way to spend a single day during the winter holidays?

 That really depends on the weather. A nice warm sunny day is a great time to go skiing, but when it’s grim, I really do love to eat food that’s bad for me and write.

 HeroesAdrift

If you could win a vacation to anywhere in the world where would you go, who would you take, and what would you do?

 I would love to go to Australia. I have to admit that I would go by myself. I enjoy travelling alone best, because I can do whatever I want on a whim. I’m not an outdoor person, but I would spend a lot of time admiring the landscapes and swimming.  There are cave paintings. I definitely want to see at least one performance at the Sydney Opera House.

 By the way, Shidonee from Shidonee’s Gap is how my Japanese students pronounced Sydney.

 

Where did you get the idea for Resenting the Hero?

 I was teaching English in Japan while writing the book, and that experience was an enormous influence, and not only on Taro’s name and appearance. I thought the constant strange weather and natural events – I once felt six minor earthquakes in one day – seemed something that would be interesting to address in a fantasy setting.

The title itself came from hearing a famous athlete referred to as a ‘hero,’ not because he’d done anything heroic, but because he was a successful athlete, and it bugged me. Real heroes are members of the military, police officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers, etc, and they don’t get nearly the attention or money that they deserve. The book addresses the fact that some professions are glamourised while equally important occupations are virtually ignored.

 

 How do you feel about writing the novel length as compared to other formats?

I don’t know if I have the skill to create a whole new world and develop characters within a short story or a novella. Those formats also don’t allow for many subplots. I enjoy writing novels best because it gives me a good amount of time to show and not tell regarding character, relationship, and plot development.

 

Did you get into to publishing a novel off the hop, or were you in any magazines or anthologies previously?

My first published work was a novel, but it took a couple of decades of trying to get there.

 

HeroesatRisk 

Every author has the most loathsome part of the craft – what do you hate the most? (Editing, marketing, coming up with titles, ect)

 I absolutely hate proofreading. Proofreading is tedious in general, but at that stage of the process I’ve reread the book so many times that I really want a break from it. 

 I’m terrible at marketing myself and I pretty much don’t do it.

 

Do you have anything else in the works we should know about?

 Only the work on the Team series.

 Are there any subjects that are for you taboo? If not, are there any subjects you would find it best to tread carefully on?

I find rape and torture very disturbing to read. I won’t read a book if I know such scenes are in it, and I tend to put the book down if I come across one. I can’t imagine ever writing about them.

 

Tell us a bit about your writing style – is there anything you find really easy or, really hard? (First person vs. third person, short stories vs novel length, ect).

I think I’m pretty good at dialogue and consistent characterization. I’m not very good at description – I’ve had readers tell me that they just couldn’t visualize settings – and action scenes. I’m not fond of physical action in general. When it comes to movies, I’d prefer if they just put up a black screen with “Car chase here” or “These guys fight and John wins.”

The only difficulty I have with writing a first person narrative is that I’m bound by what Lee perceives. I can’t portray the actions of other people outside of Lee’s company. That can be frustrating.

 

 If you could have dinner with any three literary characters, who would they be and where would you go?

Sherlock Holmes, Peter Wimsey, and Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables.  They are all very clever but have completely different personalities. The elegance of tea and sandwiches at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa is appealing to me.

HeroesatRisk 

For you, what makes the difference between a ‘good’ book and a ‘great’ book?

I’m not one for what people call literature, which I usually find a chore to read for one reason or another. I want fun dialogue, characters I like, and a happy ending. I can lose myself in that and don’t end up counting how many pages I have left. A good book makes me smile, a great book makes me laugh.

 

Do you have any recommendations for writers who are putting the finishing touches on a manuscript?

I think a writer isn’t really finished until someone else has seen the manuscript and provided feedback. Pick someone who will provide honest feedback but isn’t out to undermine you in some way, because there are people who will only want to discourage you for reasons that have nothing to do with you.  Make revisions, then take a bit of a break in order to write a final draft with fresher eyes.

 

Do you have any favorite couples in fiction? How about a pairing you never understood the appeal of?

 My favourite couple is Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey, largely because of the respect they show each other. They’re clever as well.

 I feel like I’m bashing someone, but she’s a huge bestselling author and even if she stumbled across this comment, she wouldn’t care. I am baffled by the popularity of J. D. Robb’s In Death series. I find Eve thoroughly unlikeable. She talks so much about showing respect for the dead when she usually can’t be bothered to show it to the living. Roarke is horribly arrogant and abusive. I remember him shoving a pill down Eve’s throat when she refused to take it herself. And wasn’t he the head of some enormous crime organisation?

 I have to admit, though, that I flat out don’t like “alpha” male characters. I don’t like characters that need to control others, that have no respect for the wishes of others, or that need to be turned into decent human beings by other characters. They should be decent human beings all on their own.

 

What, if anything, do you celebrate in the coming weeks?

 I celebrate Christmas, but none of the religious aspects.

 

Tell us about Christmas at your place.

 We have a small extended family, with only two children, so our Christmas is less crazy than that of most people. It’s really just lazing around for a couple of days, eating food that’s bad for us, and watching movies. Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and The Princess Bride are a must.

 

 Have you gotten all your holiday shopping done?

 Yep. I spend a few weeks just looking around and getting ideas, then spend a day buying everything before the malls get really crazy.

  

Is there a Christmas Carol you can’t stand?

Blue Christmas. It makes me want to take a baseball bat to the radio.

 

What’s your favorite Christmas Special?

Scrooged.

 

Do you have a special talent unrelated to writing?

I used to be able to play the oboe fairly well, but it’s been about twenty years since I’ve played.

 

Without consulting official sources, who would win in a race around the world: Superman or The Flash?

Superman, because he can fly.

HeroesatOdds

You are suddenly faced with a zombie apocalypse. You have three weapons (unlimited supply of ammunition, please specify if you want anything special – like flaming arrows) and a strategy. Go!

I think I’d be one of those people who’d get killed in the first five minutes.

 

Would you like to leave a shout-out to anyone? (this could be a link to a local event or a chance to wish everyone a happy version of the holiday you celebrate) OR Would you like to leave us with a link to something?

 I can’t name names, but there are those in my neighbourhood who have suffered horrible medical situations. Even affordable health care doesn’t include the lost wages of parents who need to be by the child’s side while they’re in the hospital, or smaller expenses like gas to get to hospitals that might not be in town, and parking, etc.  There are families like that in every neighbourhood. So rather than donating money to big charities, why not donate directly to that family, or offer to babysit the other children, or provide meals?

 

Can you come up with a limerick for us on the spot?

Lord no.

 

Name a fad you never understood or, a fad you wish would go away.

That bit with guys wearing their pants half way down their backsides. And they’ve been doing it since I was a teenager! Aren’t these things supposed to go out of style?

 

Who is the better villain: Voldemorte or Darth Vader?

Darth Vader: He has both magic and Death Stars.

 

If I asked you how to crochet, could you teach me how? If not, could you teach me to play croquet?

I’ve never done either of these things.

 

What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?

Well, ACE decided that for me, but I don’t regret it, and I plan to self-publish all future books, because I get to make all of the decisions. It might not result in a marketable book, but I feel better about what I’m putting out there. Also, the covers of the first six books were just horrible, it was so disappointing, and I get to decide on the cover. People might not like the cover of Heroes’ Reward, but I do.

 HeroesReward

 

Is there any advice you’d like to give anyone considering going the self-publishing route?

 Please please please don’t publish with a company that demands you buy a bunch of books up front, and investigate publishers before signing anything. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America site has a section called Writers Beware, which provides information about scams that is useful for all genres.  http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/

  

What has been the hardest part about self-publishing Heroes’ Reward?

 It was actually the editing process. The freelance editor was brutal, which was good for the book but hard on me.

 

 What has been the most rewarding part about self-publishing Heroes’ Reward? 

I liked having overall control over the story. The editor made suggestions, of course, and sometimes I followed them, but I didn’t have to make any changes to the basic plot.

  

Care to leave us with an inspiring quote?

 Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~ Winston Churchill

 

Thank you for joining us, Moira! If you can’t find Heroes’ Reward, once again you can find the link to download it on her livejournal or on smashwords. I’d also like to give a big thank-you on behalf of us readers – I’ve yet to finish the series, but I’m very impressed with your dedication to continue the series on your own. 

 

Hey, only one more sleep until Santa comes! I have a double-header coming tomorrow. I’m taking Christmas off to make a turkey and throw my brother-in-law into a pit of lava in Mario. Priorities!

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