Sherri Fulmer Moorer is in the hot seat today.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started seriously writing for publication in 2001. My first book was an inspirational Christian book titled Battleground Earth – Living by Faith in a Pagan World. It was published in 2004, but frankly I didn’t find much success with writing inspirational work. I think the reason is because when you do faith-based writing, you’re expected to create a “safe haven” for people, and I just can’t do that – I’m in the trenches of ugly reality with you, and my interest is in navigating it. I switched to writing fiction in 2007 and published my next book, a young adult murder mystery titled Blurry, in 2011. Fiction was a good move for me. I enjoy writing it so much more – it’s fun!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book? And how you come up with the idea?
Right now, I’m working on a science fiction trilogy titled The Earthside Trilogy. I finished the rough draft of Book One, titled Fracture, in October. I’m working on Book Two, tentatively titled Schism, now. It takes place in the near future (about 50-75 years from now) and is about aliens coming to Earth, but not in ways you expect: instead of landing in ships, they take over human minds live symbiotically in their bodies. It’s learned that these aliens came because another race of cyborgs have noticed the technological advancements of humanity, and they want to control us through our computers and machines. It really is a biology versus technology type of battle. The idea for this trilogy came to me when my father-in-law was in his final stages of dementia – in fact, I started writing Fracture five days after he passed away. He was the third family member I’ve lost to dementia, but this was the closest hit, and the hardest journey I witnessed. There was something about witnessing his final journey that left me feeling less than human, and I still can’t find a way to articulate what I saw, felt, and experienced during those last few months of his life. I guess fiction is an easier way for me to express it than straight reality right now.
When writing about something you don’t know very much about where does your information come from?
I do research. A lot on the Internet, but I also like to talk to people that know about what I’m planning to write about. For example, one of the protagonist in my work in progress is an electrical engineer. I’m not an engineer, but I’ve worked with and talked to many in my “day job,” so I would ask them my questions. Most people do like to talk about themselves and what they do, and they’re glad that you’re interested in learning more about what’s important to them.
What is the easiest and the hardest part to write?
The easiest part is the proofreading and beta reading, which I usually do together. I love that part because you have the story the best you can have it, and you finally get to send it to others that help you make it shine. The hardest part is writing the rough draft. Even if you know exactly what you want to write, it still takes the most time to get that first draft done. Everything after that is easier because you at least have something to work with.
Do you ever experience writers block? If so how do you find best to cure it?
I do experience it. I’ve discovered that it usually happens when I’m stressed out and trying to do too much. The best cure I’ve found for it is to take a break. I truly believe that writer’s block is your muse’s way of telling you that they have burnout, and you need to give them a break to restore the creative well. I miss writing when I don’t do it, but sometimes that break is absolutely essential for me to open my eyes to the world around me and find the inspiration waiting to be discovered. One thing I never do, though, is panic. It always passes. If you remain calm and just live, you’ll find that the ideas will flow again.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
First of all, thank you for reading my writing! Second, I hope it entertains and inspires them, and that reading my novels gives them the same joy that I experience when I read a good book. Third, I’d like for them to take from my books what’s meaningful to them. Yes, writers do have ideas and themes about what their books “mean,” but I think that good fiction can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I just want them to be able to relate to the characters and situations in ways that they find significant, whether it’s actually what I had in mind or not. I’m not one that’s offended if you see something different in it, so enjoy and be inspired!
What is your favourite part of a book to write and why?
The end. I love writing the entire book, of course, because it’s exciting to create your own worlds, but it’s satisfying to see it come to completion and see your vision has become a reality – on a computer screen, at least!
Where do most of your ideas come from?
Real life. For some reason, I find that I handle what’s going on “in my head” a lot better when I drop it into a fictional setting. I guess it gives me a different perspective. For example, I wrote Move after making a major work move that people thought I was crazy to accept and should have fought against harder. It gave me the idea of a novel about a young woman that resists change until it destroys her, and then she takes drastic measures to “go back,” only to find out that it isn’t possible. The idea turned so big that I wrote Obsidian, the sequel, a few years later when I had more “realizations” on what it really means to finish what you start and to do things the right way. As I recently told someone, “when you read a book, you’re riding shotgun to the author’s mental issues.”
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you would like to work more on?
I’m very happy to be writing science fiction now, and would like to do more in that genre. My goal would be for 50% of my novels to be science fiction and the other 50% be mysteries. I love them both!
If you could work with any author who is no longer with us who would it be?
C.S. Lewis. He was a brilliant person and a great writer. He had a keen mind and yet was humble enough to admit his failures. I would have loved to have been in one of his classes!