Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Interview: C.S. Moore

link to original here
Wish granted – I’ve been pining for an author to sit down and chat with about their writing process, their hopes and fears, their challenges. C.S. Moore gracefully agreed. I’m so excited because I’m currently reading her promo and it is? Intriguing. Fast. Haunting. Inspiring. I was invested in her main character from the first scene, which is not my usual. Scars of the Earth is Moore’s debut YA novel, originally self-published through Amazon.com, but since picked up by a publisher with a re-release date tentatively set for January of next year. What a dream, right? 

Except it's real, and today Moore sits down to answer a few questions posed courtesy of readers in my last post: 

My name is Cynthia Frederick, my pen name is C.S. Moore. Moore is my maiden name and I happen to come from a family of amazing writers. No one ever tried to publish or do anything professionally; writing has just been an enjoyment that ran in the family. I live in Idaho with my husband and family. I have been married for almost four years and have two children and absolutely no spare time whatsoever. If I do have a spare moment to myself I will steal myself the luxury of one of these things: bubble bath, good book, chocolate anything, or my favorite past time writing. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I can honestly say that I have always enjoyed writing. I like to look back at the dozens of stories I wrote as a child. I remember turning them into my elementary teachers even though there was never a writing assignment, what a little weirdo they must have thought me to be. But I think that anyone that has the need to write fictitious stories about fictitious place staring fictitious characters is maybe just a little bit weird, and that is fine by me. As an adult I wrote little bits of poetry and sometimes I thought about writing fiction, but mostly I busied myself writing comedy and doing stand-up.

What made you sit down that first day and begin to write your book?
I had the idea for Scars of the Earth long before I actually started writing it, but it wasn’t until my husband was deployed that I actually sat down and began writing. I needed to escape from my world even if just for a few hours; it was my therapy. It wasn’t until my amazing husband came home safe that I started to see that the story I was writing wasn’t just an escape for me, but an interesting story.

What challenges did you have in the beginning, and how did you push past them to continue?
The biggest two challenges that I faced were my lack of education and time. I have only a few college credits to my name and have been out of school for so long that I needed to re-teach myself the two headed beast that is grammar. Time is a funny thing in that you never think you have any; and then you have another child, or have to pick up a part time job while continuing to balance the load you had before the extras, and then you look back and say look at all of the time I used to have! Why didn’t I take advantage of it?

What is your world building process like?
I mostly write fantasy realism, meaning that these fantastical elements are written into the here and now. So my world building process is nothing compared to a Tolkien novel, but there are many things that I like to do. My story Scars of the Earth is about a group of people called healers, and although they do exists in the world that we know, they have their own community and set of rules. When crafting the Hovel, the healers and the main characters home, I tried to put myself there, standing in a hallway and described the way everything looked and the feeling I got while there. The most important thing to me in a fantasy or magical kind of world is to lay out the rules of your fantasy world and stick to them, so I paid close attention to everything that I was going to lay out. And if I got a brilliant fresh idea three quarters of the way through, I went back through the whole manuscript and made sure to put in little things about that, or take out things that may have contradicted it. Paying attention to little details and having them sprinkled thoughtfully throughout adds so much to a novel and is one of the million and a half reasons that I adore J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga.

How do you balance writing and being a mom and wife?
In all honestly sometimes the house of cards gets bumped and everything comes tumbling down, but for the most part I keep my responsibilities balanced by time management. My husband and children come first and garner almost all of my attention all of the time, and I (unfortunately for my writing) will gladly let them have every moment. So as all ‘self employed’ people must, I have to tell myself to sit down at the computer between such and such o’clock and no matter how high the dirty dishes are stacked in the sink or how much my kiddos want to play with mommy…I’m at work.

When did you know your writing was good enough?
I don’t know that anyone really sits down and thinks, ‘Eureka! This is good enough for publication!’ at least it wasn’t like that for me. In publication of my book, as in most things in life, I did everything backwards. So I write this novel and it is finished-just sitting on my computer and…now what? Well to me the step was obvious, I would self-publish on Amazon so my friends and family could enjoy my project three years in the making. Writing was never about getting published to me, I just loved to write. So after my family and friends ate up my book and really enjoyed it I was thoroughly satisfied. But then I was getting reviews on Amazon from strangers and book review blogs and the like, and they all enjoyed my book. That was when my sister said why don’t you send it in to a publisher, so I found a publisher I liked, submitted to them and they offered me a contract.

What gave you the courage to make your writing public?
I honestly never thought that anyone besides my friends and family would read it, so I wasn’t nervous about self-publishing on Amazon. If I had known that it would make it onto the kindles of hundreds of readers I may have been a bit more nervous. But as long as your self-esteem is not tethered to what others may say about your writing, (which is difficult for many writers as your work is such a part of you) then you should never be worse for wear. Remember that not everyone likes the same thing; every NYT best seller has both fans and haters.

How did you manage rejection?
I haven’t had to deal with rejection so much, not yet anyway. There were a few agents I sent a query to and didn’t hear anything back or got a mass rejection letter in return, but it never got me down for three reasons: First and foremost almost every writer has been rejected by an agent or publishing house-even the great Steven King-I believe the statistics are in the 99% rejecting rate. Secondly my hopes and dreams weren’t placed in a query letter; I have and will always write for my enjoyment whether it is enjoyed by others makes no difference. And thirdly I am a truly a horrible query writer so I was not surprised or hurt by the lack of response. How I can write a 70,000 word intricately laced novel and struggle with a few paragraphs will be determined by scientists in the future.

Who do you write for primarily; yourself or your readers, and are there some pieces you work on that are for your eyes only?
As I have mentioned before I write for me, but I do have my readers in mind in regards to the tale being weaved. It is the reaction of the reader that makes an author elated. Every late night the reader spends with your words, every time a jaw drops at your surprise ending, and every time a reader gets misty eyed with your heroine…those are the moments that make me and all authors glad that they stayed up until three in the morning searching for what their characters would do next.

How have you adapted from writing for the joy of writing to writing for a deadline?
I am just getting used to this and finding that it actually helps the process, it is so easy to say I’ll write later when it is just for the fun of it. When you have the first in a planned trilogy coming out on such and such month you better have the next in the installment not far behind.

Scars of the Earth is tentatively set for a release date on Jan. 2013. As we are in the first steps of the publication process I don’t put much weight on that date. I’d love to read some of your writing if you want a beta reader be sure and ask. Here is one of the reviews, as my book is now unpublished from Amazon the other reviews aren’t accessible, but this one is still on the book-review blogger’s website.


When I got my hands on Scars of the Earth from Moore herself, I wasn’t amazed by how much I teared up, but how easy she transitioned that sadness into elatedness within a chapter. The story in itself is very different and full of paranormal angst. As I read I felt myself anticipating a lot of plot holes, as that is what I usually get from such a ‘mixed’—having a lot of different genre features—novel. Surprisingly, I found none and was very happy when I finished the book with no confusions whatsoever. Moore’s characters are a lot of fun and mysterious at the same time. When you are presented with the MC’s, Amanda’s, world and history, you are literally blown away by the creativity. Demons, healers, and venom? That’s enough to set my blood ablaze.

I really enjoyed both Amanda as a character and Moore’s loveable way of portraying her through her writing style. The writing has a very erratic tempo, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. From the very first few sentences you know you are going to love the story, and the way Moore’s writing comes off as so subtle, yet meaningful is something I strongly admire. Especially with the way the story begins, a slow, heartfelt beginning is necessary.

If you are looking for different—if you are looking for amazing!—this is the novel for you.

Many thanks to C.S. Moore. Continue to like and follow her here, and definitely check out Scars of the Earth when it comes out in January. The countdown begins. 

Moment of Magic today:

This makes me breathe just a little bit easier. In and out, in and out...now it's off to write.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Angels and Djinn Cocktail Party

My brain is full of angels.

link to original here
Except the part that's full of djinns.

link to original here
But come to find out here, they all kind of hang out with each other anyway, so this makes the cocktail party in my head much more agreeable. Instead of keeping to themselves at the fringes they're starting to mingle.

Thank heavens.

So I'm thinking genie in a bottle which leads me to think of genies and bottles and then of course my mind wanders over to beverages and oh, wouldn't a lovely bottle of my favorite beverage just be the thing?

If you were able to sit across a table from your favorite author, a bottle of your best beverage cracked so you can share it between you, what would you ask?

In this case your favorite author is the genie, full of wisdom and wit. The conversation is not about wishes, but rather knowledge from experiences shared and imbibed. You get three questions. What would they be?

Moment of Magic today:

There was this moment where time seemed to slow... where the boys were playing together well, music was sifting through the background, wind was dancing through the windchimes outside, I'd caught up on a couple of my favorite blogs and was simply sitting to digest their words. Yum.

Here's the song...does it put everything together for a moment for you too?

Also, Sally O'Reilly is doing a fantastic series of discussions on plot structure(s) over here. This was magical to revisit today because I'm fumbling with some of my plot right now. She's my original blog crush. Definitely check her site out if you haven't already.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Confessions and Crushes

I've got a confession to make, but not yet.

First I'll tell you about my general routine. It starts around 6 in the morning and ends around 10 at night. Both of these times often shift up and/or down -- two or three hours at most -- but generally, 6 a.m. finds a bleary-eyed Deb trying desperately to fight her way out of bed. And 10 p.m. she's desperately trying to fight her way back in.

In lieu of a picture of me exercising...link to original here
Exercise, on a good day, follows.

Boys and the game of getting everyone ready follows after that.

Breakfast, playing, excitement ensues.

Beta goes down for morning naps around 10 a.m. which is a nice breather for me too because while I rock him quietly, cuddle snugly, to sleep, Alpha watches Sesame Street on the internet and everyone takes a little time to relax.

Then we clean.

Beta wakes up, we do lunch, hang out and play. Maybe we go to the shaded park across the street. It's too hot for walks, now. Have to wait for the summer to cool off to do that again because Beta's skin is sensitive to sun and heat.

Somewhere between1 and 2 in the afternoon the boys go down for a nap -- Beta happily so and Alpha not so happily so. And then I get to write. Many days I want to nap too, and some days I do. Most days I push through the afternoon slump, because when am I going to write if not when I'm tired?

Blah, blah, blah. My day goes on. My days go on like this generally, generally on. When people ask me why my children are fussy I can look at the clock and guess that they're ready for their naps or they're needing lunch or they're used to going to the park around now...

I no longer argue against the need for schedules and at least a little structure.

Here's where my confession comes in: I always peek at the end of books I'm interested in reading to see if I want to even start. If it seems like an intriguing enough end, I'll bite into the beginning, otherwise I put it back. Sadly and simply enough, I just don't have the time.

Do you do this?

But if I could read about or see the end of my day before I got up, would I? Would you? Besides the obvious and hearty shove of Responsibility, what makes you...or rather helps you...get out of bed in the mornings?

I'm just curious.

On another note, do you know about The Write Practice yet? Oh my -- and I blush -- it's another of my blog crushes.

This is the post that's got me thinking about schedules and confessions and reading the end of stories before I even begin them. You should read it, and I wonder what it will make you think about too. Do you agree with him? What are your thoughts?

Moment of Magic today:

A classic relaxation song. If you want a little extra mood, open this page in the background as well and let the two sounds interweave. Mmm, I love me some rain and Incubus.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monarch is for C

This is my thought process, only backwards:

...where do your thoughts go from here?

...and now I'm wondering -- who is the king or queen of your heart? And are you their king or queen in return? I wish this to be true for you.

...which leads me to think about the Emperor and Empress cards in the tarot deck, only he is the ultimate gentleman and lets his lady go first (she is III and he is IV). I, for one, love the Empress card. You?

...of the various titles that monarchs have, I tend to favor "emperor" or "empress," though Princess Diana obviously raised the bar for that title.

link to original here
 ...Monarchs, eh?

...and caterpillars too, of course.

Cherries (mmm.)

"C is for...?"

"What's this?"

Moment of Magic today:

Alpha knows his alphabet well enough now he feels confident in testing me. Pointing at the milk carton or the cereal box or a sign he'll ask me, "What's this?" and I'll reply, "Is it a T?" It's fun to hear him congratulate me when I get the letters right. It's just as much fun to hear him chortle when I get the letters wrong. 

Good game, my friends, good game.

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