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.


  1. Great interview. It must be nice to come from a family of writers. That equals a lot of support.

    1. I hadn't thought of that but you're completely right. And it's awesome to feel as much support as possible when writing something that's hundreds of pages long, that you put so much time and thought into...who knew it would be so hard, eh?

  2. I know my Mom has always liked to write, and my kids love to, and I'm partial to it myself, but when my Grandpa sat down and wrote out a book of the history of his boyhood neighborhood, it was a revelation. Writing is in our blood, and we all do it becuase we can't help it! And that is a very good problem to have.

    1. Agreed, it is a very good problem to have. Isn't it so cool to have background stories into the lives of people you love? Very nice that he was able to sit down and do that. I'm sure it added insight into who you are as well.

  3. What a great wish to have granted! It is reassuring to have a little reminder that published authors are real people too, not mythical creatures; real people with real insecurities and just as much balancing in life that we do.

    'In...out...now off to write' love it ;-)

    Just one question...coffee, hot chocolate or a bottle of something lovely???

    1. This was exactly, exactly, what I had in mind when I was posting this piece...the idea that they're not mythical creatures, that they're real, that they push through the struggles too.

      Love it.

      Answer to your question -- a bottle of something lovely, of course (especially when you word it like that), though what I consider to be lovely will definitely vary based on time, season, mood.

  4. Wow great interview, I also love the look of your blog, I went ahead and joined keep up the great work and good luck on your writing.

    1. Thanks for joining, Brandon, and for all your kind words. Moore was really awesome to work with and her answers were so well thought out, so insightful. She continues to give updates about her process on her FB page, so definitely join if you want to know more. I'm excited for her book to come out.

      Thanks for the good luck on my writing as well. Trudging, trudging along :)


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