The Book Smuggler’s Den loves authors who reach out for online presence help! Steven M. Moore is the author of six series and many other sci-fi, mystery, and thriller novels, including the “Esther Brookstone Art Detective” mystery/thriller series and “The Last Humans” post-apocalyptic thriller series. We learned a lot from Steven about his writing experience and the advice he has for authors-to-be.
What inspired you to write a book?
Books, plural. Reading has always been an inspiration. I read a lot of mysteries, thrillers, and sci-fi as a lad (thrillers were called adventure stories back then). I had the hubris to think I could write them too. I waited a while to do that because life got in the way a bit.
Was there a book or author that you admired that played a role when developing your book?
Books, plural. Christie for mysteries, H. Rider Haggard for thrillers, and Asimov and others for sci-fi (although his Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun are also mysteries). It’s hard to pin down one major influence.
It is often said that to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?
No. Many of my characters express opinions I don’t share. The spectrum of human behavior is wide, and I cover a lot of it in my books to make the fiction seem real. My books are as complex as human beings are; I don’t do simple.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who writes only when they feel inspired?
Now I spend a lot of time writing, but that includes novels and short fiction; blog posts about reading, writing, and the publishing business; reviews; and interviews. (I also have a separate blog for political articles.)
Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
Writing styles are like fingerprints and DNA. I just try to maintain a balance between the various elements that characterize a story. I do believe in minimalist writing, though: I give readers just enough information so they can create their own images of characters and settings. That way they can participate in the creative process.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing? What would you say is the most natural aspect of writing?
Storytelling is innately human, but the hardest thing to accomplish with fiction is to make it seem real, even if it’s sci-fi or fantasy. Probably what comes easiest for me in storytelling is dialogue. A person who read my very first novel Full Medical commented on that.
Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Never had it once. I got going after 9/11 because I collected what-ifs, plot ideas, character sketches, ideas for settings, etc. for many years, and still do. You can even jot these down at a coffee bar or restaurant! Reading a lot also gives you new ideas. For example, I always wondered why Dame Agatha didn’t team Miss Marple up with Hercule Poirot. The “Esther Brookstone Art Detective” series in a way is my answer.
Why do you call some of your novels “evergreen”?
While I’m very much into protecting our world’s flora and fauna, many authors’ books are “evergreen,” i.e., as entertaining and current as the day the writers finished their manuscripts. During Covid, I maintained my sanity by binge-reading complete series of British-style mysteries, for example; they were all evergreen! I fear that too many readers look for recent publication dates and ignore these evergreen books. My first novel, Full Medical (2006), is about human cloning; that’s still a hot topic.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Read, read, read, and write, write, write. If you’re a born storyteller, the ideas will come. Don’t have expectations that are too high, though. There are a lot of good authors out there writing good books. I know because I’ve read them!
Are you working on something new at the moment?
I just finished publishing the ninth and last novel in the “Esther Brookstone Art Detective” series titled Celtic Chronicles. I have several other WIPs I’ll get back to after a brief respite.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Publishing runs the whole gamut from 100% DIY to the Big Five publishing conglomerates. Please realize that good stories can be found anywhere in that whole spectrum. While I’m a mongrel, having tried both self- and traditional publishing, many self-published novels compete very well with those Big Five ones. Use the blurb and “peek inside,” whether online or at your favorite bookstore; reviews; and websites like Smuggler’s Den to select books you find interesting, not those someone says “you just have to read.”
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