Posted on May 16, 2019 at 9:17 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we’re interviewing author MJ Moores, who has a passion for writing speculative fiction and romance … but really, anything with adventure and a good plot twist.
Her short fiction and industry articles and essays can be found in a number of anthologies, and digital works.
She is proud of her debut sci-fi/fantasy series The Chronicles of Xannia, but is excited to be diving into three new projects: Flawed Attraction Romances (clean college romance); Shadow Phoenix Vol I (steampunk superhero); and DEMON Tales (Dept. of Extraordinary Monsters, Ontario).
SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to become romantically involved with?
MJ: Ooo! Well now, a lady should never kiss and tell, but then what fun would that be?
I would have to say I’d most like to become romantically involved with the rugged, yet scarred, Victorian-era reporter who will be making his debut appearance in Episode II of my new steampunk superhero serial “Shadow Phoenix” next month.
Check out the old TV series Dark Angel and cross that hunky reporter with the one on Alias and you’ve got Morrison (Morrie) Tweed.
I don’t usually fall for blonds, but there’s a healthy whiff of mysterious with Morrie that tantalizes my sensibilities.
As for the character I’d least like to become romantically involved with … hmm … I don’t think it would be fair to call out my “villains” or “antagonists” on this one.
So, I’d have to say Dezmind, from my series The Chronicles of Xannia.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s a hunk for sure and totally swoon-worthy, but his political interests and stubborn assertiveness would clash with my anti-political nature and even bigger stubborn streak!
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
MJ: The most surprising part of my career comes from support by other authors.
I mean, it’s great to be a part of a critique group or writers’ community, but I’m referring to authors I’ve either met in person or online who are so selfless in their time and support that I often feel unworthy when they give a new work of mine a boost on their social media — just because — or they include me in new opportunities I may not have discovered without them.
It’s truly humbling and echoes my own instincts not to horde information, but share it.
The most rewarding part of my career comes from engaging with uncertain writers (of all ages) and having my passion for storytelling rekindle or spark similar excitement in them.
I mean, I love reading a fantastic review, but I get mixed emotions about it — thrilled I’ve reached someone with my story, but battling a sense of undeserving and feeling like a fraud.
I’m not sure where that comes from except that it’s always easier for me to talk up someone else’s books than my own.
Finally, the most challenging part of my career is even having one.
I ventured into writing with publishing as a realistic goal back in 2012. I had always written, but my first book took ten years to write as I “learned how” (my craft) and rewrote it three times over.
But that’s not what I’m talking about. Quite simply, I haven’t reached the point yet where my writing career is doing its part to support my family.
My husband’s career pays the bills, and mine is supposed to be used for “fun stuff”. That was easy when I was teaching full- or part-time.
But now, my freelance and publishing house editing is only just supporting my writing habit (hiring editors, paying for cover art, buying books, publicity, marketing, etc.).
I’m having to dig in deep to see how other writers are making a living from their stories to improve my own income; and finding the time to fit that into my already crowded schedule is overwhelming.
But I have to, otherwise I’ll be going back to having a “day job” and writing only when I can scrape together a few minutes each day.
I’d like to take my son to Disney World someday (soon) and have regular family vacations again, but that means learning how to effectively get the word out about my books.
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
MJ: I don’t like being confined by boundaries. You can see this in my writing as I tend to cross-genres frequently and play with writing styles.
Like my character Taya, if you tell me I can’t do something, I make it my personal initiative to prove you wrong.
I write strong female characters who find themselves on amazing physical and emotional journeys, and learn not only how to love someone else, but also themselves.
Self-discovery is at the core of every adventure I write, be it in a contemporary setting, the past, on another planet, or in another realm.
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
MJ: Ahh… yes. Hindsight is 20/20. First off, I would tell myself to stuff being a teacher and look into the world of publishing, instead.
I always thought that because I was a writer, I could only either be a journalist (I hate current events and anything to do with politics) or an English teacher.
Even my guidance counselors and mentors never showed me what other options existed.
Secondly, I would tell my 2011/12-self to focus equally on learning about how to reach my target audience and make money selling my books, as on how to get published.
I’m behind the eight-ball on this one, for sure!
SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?
MJ: Many of my characters deal with the concept of identity. As I write YA and NA, it fits the age groups, but it can crop up as both major and minor plot points because it is still something I struggle with.
On the surface, you will see me playing with names within a given text, but it is so much deeper than that.
Let me ask you, what name does your heart identify you with? I grew up with my given name (Melissa), and being told my grandmother named me (my mom wanted to call me Carrie).
And, I grew up with nicknames appointed by my family (Plain Jane, Messy Jane, Munchkin, ‘Liss, the Purple Flurp, etc.), and by others (Mel, Melitzioso, Machete, Dragon Lady, and worse; yes, I was bullied).
In high school I was tired (like many teens are) of being called by someone else’s name (there were several Melissas in my year and had been since grade five), and dubbed myself MJ.
This is the name I’m most centered with, but lately “Mom” has been doing battle with my sense of self — so this struggle is far from over for both me and my characters.
I have heard that the things we both knowingly and unknowingly grapple with have a way of showing up in our writing until we are able to find a satisfactory understanding of them.
It will be interesting to see when (and if) I ever stop playing with my characters’ names and sense of identity.
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Categories: Author Interview