Hi Sharon, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a 50-year-old former military brat who works in the insurance filed by day and is a writer by night. I currently reside in Creedmoor, North Carolina. I attended UNC-Greensboro as well as North Carolina Central University where I studied Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. I caught the reading bug early and have fond memories reading the Betsy books as a child.
I consider myself to be a well-rounded reader and regularly support authors in a variety of genres, That variety feeds my craft, as does my longtime experience living all over the world and being thrust into numerous situations in which I was regarded as “the other.” In neighborhoods, classrooms, work environments, churches and social situations, I frequently discovered I was the only person of color… occasionally, one of very few people of color. Themes of inclusion and the search for identity or home have, as a direct result, found their way into my personal philosophy and, ultimately, my writing.
It was in the late nineties that a fellow church member encouraged me to share, in written form, my many spoken positions on weighty matters. The outcome of my taking that advice was a stint writing opinion pieces for a small, local newspaper, followed by another for the “singles” section of my [then] church’s newsletter; an online e-zine; and Anointed, a print magazine.
After a series of dreams in 2001 and 2002, which prompted me to begin journaling my dreams, I realized I had wandered into the premise of my first novel and, consequently, with over two million words under my belt, my first fiction series. I officially caught the author bug, but never had a work published until I finally submitted her first novel in the fall of 2015 and was signed to New Season Books.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to write quality books that people can feel, enjoy and come away better after reading them. I want to tell complicated stories that mirror life in all of its beautiful ugliness.
Which writers inspire you?
Wow. I read a lot and admire so much about so many authors. My short list would include Bernice McFadden, Walter Mosely, David Baldacchi, Natalie Baszile, Ernessa Carter, Alexander McCall Smith, and about 30 more authors whose names come to mind.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on the second installment in the Under The Shadow Of The Almighty series as well as toying with another novel that I wrote back in 2007 but never published.
What genre are your books and why?
So far everything I have written would be classified as African American fiction.
In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
A bold rollercoaster that leaves you feeling breathless.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Wow. My book has a couple of leads but the character of Jason White would be played by Morris Chestnut.
When did you decide to become a writer? I never really decided. I just did it and that’s what I ended up being called. I never made the decision. It seems to have been made for me,
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I am a part-time writer.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I really don't have a certain time that I write. I get it in when I can get it in. I have to have to be alone though. I do not write well with ‘people noise’ around me.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No I don’t but I am wordy when I am in creative mode so I can easily write a few thousand words in one sitting.
Where do your ideas come from?
The Under the Shadow of the Almighty series came from a dream that stalked me for months. Another work I have yet to publish is loosely based on my past dating history. There is also series I want to write was borne of my imagination.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
My initial approach to the Under the Shadow of the Almighty series and the first installment, Hidden In Plain Sight, was to simply write what I saw/felt in my dream. With this second installment, I have opted to use an outline since I am pulling from what I wrote 15 years ago and having to clean it up, etc.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I am learning to say more using fewer words. I am also learning the value of taking the reader ‘there’ versus being safe in my writing. Initially I wrote like I was transcribing a documentary. I have since learned that it is okay to let the reader see and feel what I saw and felt.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Keeping the word count to a minimum! LOL If I had my way, Hidden In Plain Sight would have been about 180,000 words long.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing was allowing people into what I experienced in my dreams. I lived with the complete story so long that it is personal. I struggled to get the story out with clarity. I want the reader to see the mental movie I saw in my head. It’s hard to describe something to someone who has not had the same experience, been to the same place, etc. that you have.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Dialogue. For some reason, dialogue comes easy for me. Keeping the narration concise is the hard part.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It’s hard to say. I think it took me roughly eight or nine months to write the two million (plus) word series back in 2002. I had the luxury of toying with the first installment off and one for 14 years. Working on cleaning up and rewriting the second installment will be the true test of how long it takes me to actually write a novel.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I would love to see my work on the large or small screen. I would like to have at least one novel, from each of the three series I want to write, published and doing well with readers.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You have stories to tell. Sit down and write. I wasted so much time in my twenties doing nothing when I could have been writing.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? This is hard. There are so many people. I have grandparents and great-grandparents I never got a chance to know before they passed away. There are celebrities as well as biblical and historical figures I admire. I guess if I had to only choose one, I would want to meet Jesus in the flesh.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? You don’t ask easy questions do you? *smile* If there was any book I could have authored it would be Through The Looking Glass/Alice in Wonderland
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Die empty. What I mean by that is that they should empty every story in their head out onto paper so that by the time they close their eyes for the final time; they have given all they have to give to the world. They should write even when they aren’t sure where the story is going or what they will do with it when they are finished. They should write and allow every emotion to flood the page – holding NOTHING back. It is easier to take something out than to add it later on. EMPTY everything on the page without apology. Tell your story like you are talking to someone without the 5 senses. Give them eyes to see your story, ears to hear the voices, nostrils to smell the scents in the scene, etc. Don’t be afraid to take them there into your story with you.
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube: @sharonmwrites
Amazon Author Page: Sharon D. Moore
Amazon Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Plain-Sight-Shadow-Almighty-ebook/dp/B01JBKHIZY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Also autograph copies with a personal message from the author are available at www.SharonMoore.net.