Interview with FT Moore

When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story during class in sixth grade. It was a twenty page handwritten ghost story, which I worked on instead of doing classwork. After that, I continued to write stories to entertain my friends. Then through high school and college I wrote for and edited the school newspapers. I wrote my first full-length novel about twenty-five years ago, and continued to build up a trunk full of unpublished novels, until self-publishing arrived.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a non-fiction book published by a traditional publisher. It turned out they didn't do any marketing. They paid nearly a year after the books were sold. My royalties were such a small percentage of the sale, and I had no control over anything. It was an experience that made me realize I could do better on my own.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I like the ability that Smashwords offers to run special discounts, special offers, and the full variety of formats. This allows me to plan and run marketing campaigns to different audiences. It's also convenient to have one place where all distribution avenues for ebooks can be handled, without taking away my writing time to administer different accounts.

I also like the new pre-order feature. Smashwords allows me to figure out how I want to sell books, and have one avenue to handle the logistics.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love discussing my books with readers. I want to know how you felt about a character. Those characters, to me, are real people. I'm telling their stories. I want to know if I faithfully portrayed them to my readers. I want to know if my readers care about them the way I do. I want to know if readers believed the stories of my characters enhanced the readers' lives. Sometimes hearing someone else's story helps us to figure out our own lives, and I think of my characters as real people who want to help.
What do your fans mean to you?
I think of my fans as fans of my characters, rather than as fans of me. They are people who like Chance Kiernan, or Katie McLain, or Ray Plotzky. They are people who feel for Luke Trout or sympathize with Ann Kiernan. They are people who want to meet Juliette March. I see myself as the conduit who lets readers' stories be enhanced by the stories of my characters.
What are you working on next?
The Tempest Illusion, which is the Prequel to Copper Hollow, will be out soon. I'm not sure how soon, but hopefully before Christmas. Then I'm going on to Virgin of the Dawn Fire, which is the sequel to Copper Hollow. In the Tempest Illusion, Chance Kiernan shows his true character, and we learn what happened to his wife, Kate. It's set in the 1990's, and brings out the dangers of drone technology, as it was being built.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm a morning person, and every morning I wake up before the sun comes up. I love to watch the sun rise, and I'm always leaping out of bed, happy for another day. Grateful for another day. I live in the country, in the deep forest, actually, and early morning is the best time to catch a glimpse of a forest critter. A turtle, a fox, even a bear.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My lifelong career was in technology. When I'm not writing, I'm working out how to build a really practical solar generator, for off-grid living.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was called The Ghost of Carolyn Starr. I was eleven years old and I hand-wrote it in sixth grade, passed it around to all the other kids to read during class. My sixth grade teacher came to my house to explain to my mother that I was a writer. My mom said, "Oh, I read that, and it was trash." The teacher said, "Maybe so, but it's coherent trash, and there aren't many eleven years old who can write twenty pages that tell a compelling, if trashy, story."
What is your writing process?
Here's my process. For some number of years, an idea roams around in the back of my head, ripening. As time goes on, I drift toward researching and developing background for this idea. I collect articles and leads about the thesis. I throw them in a file.

Then one day, I write the theme of the book. This could happen while I'm working on something else.

Then another day, I expand on the theme, and make it longer, more like twenty pages. A sort of short story.

Then later, little by little, the characters start introducing themselves. I build the characters one by one, and write all about who they are and what their background and life stories are.

Next, the characters start building a few key scenes, and I write those down. They come out of order. They appear in the back of my mind, and I stop what I'm doing to write them down.

This process could take a couple of years. These are the books I'm working on in background.

When my work schedule says I'm now going to start working on this particular book, I take all my research notes, my characters, and my scenes, and I make a scene by scene outline of the book. Then I fill in the scenes, often out of order.

Finally, I cut out all the scenes, lay them on the floor, and put them in order. Then I fill in the blanks and turn it into something cohesive.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not really. I started reading at age 4, and most of my early childhood consisted of reading comic books. In fifth grade, I discovered the public library, and I made it a goal to read every psychology book in the library. I used to take the bus to the library, and bring home as many books as they would let me take. My passion was human behavior: how it worked, what it was about, what made it change. I lived in a household where "sticking your nose in a book" was considered undesirable behavior, and there were no books in my childhood home, except the ones I brought there. I left home at age 17 and never went back.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The old original Kindle, the first one made. The Kindle Fire was a copy of an iPad, and not desirable as a reader at all. The PaperWhite improved, and went back to the original, but the original was the best. You could hold it in one hand, and turn pages with your thumb, leaving the other hand free for the wine glass. Plus, you could read it in the sun, sitting on the deck. I still have that original one and that is what I use.
Describe your desk
My writing desk has a surface for laying out pages. I hand-write originals, and type them as I finish a chapter. My computer is on the L-shaped part of the desk. I type into Microsoft Word, using Styles. I don't use any writing software. The desk also has a number of crystals and gemstones in bowls around it. The whole room looks like Professor Dumbledore's office from Harry Potter. It's wizardy. The right of the room is a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, which holds print books of reference material. Every book ends up with at least a dozen research books behind it. I buy them in print versions, because I find it easier to look things up that way. The desk is in a loft office, overlooking a glass wall that looks into the forest. The sun and the moon shine in those windows, and it is very much like working outside, as it is surrounded by 3 walls of glass. I built this loft office specifically for writing, when I moved out here in the forest.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the coal country of Pennsylvania. I would call it a lonely childhood, and an environment one would leave as quickly as possible. After I left there, I lived in Philadelphia during my twenties, in Center City. Then I lived in Washington D.C. during my thirties and forties, and then ran away to live in the forest after that. I'd say I have always been an introvert, and enjoy being alone. One has to enjoy being alone to write.
Your Blog is not about writing or your books. What is your blog about?
My blog is the ongoing story of Mom and Dad Normal. They have a 20-something son living in their basement. He graduated from college and works at a minimum-wage job. Their daughter is a school teacher. It's about the children explaining the world to their parents. The parents get their world view from Mainstream TV. The children get it from the Internet, and Jon Stewart. I write about current events as the offline and online generations see them.

My books are about people living in a complex world. I like to show how each person looks at things, from their own value system. I think it enhances understanding of the human condition.
Why do you write?
Why? Because the alternative is insanity. My characters have stories, and they want them told. If I kept their stories inside me, and didn't share them, they would fester and mold in there. Then I'd wonder why I had rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia, or any of the many immune system diseases that attack from within. Story telling is a method of freeing the soul. I write because I must. The more puzzling question is: why do I publish? Basically, I publish so I'll have someone to talk to about my characters. Readers can be friends to gossip about my characters with. What do you think Chance Kiernan is going to do next? Or, hey, do you think Charlotte ever got a divorce?
Published 2013-09-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Copper Hollow
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,670. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Drinking 'shine, cheering at the chicken fights, hunting squirrels. Life in the mountains. Until the drones circled overhead, the folks of Copper Hollow didn't know they they had something to hide. Luke Trout graduated from high school and joined the Marines. Headed to Afghanistan to fight some Taliban. Chance Kiernan, Delta Force, landed in Copper Hollow to get some peace. Peace wasn't waiting.