I first met Ian D. Moore in an indie author facebook group to which we both belong, and then was invited by him to join the team that evolved to produce the inspired You’re Not Alone – An Indie Author Anthology. https://www.facebook.com/yourenotalone2015 Ian has been the driving force behind this, and has worked incredibly hard to make it happen. Knowing him has been a privilege, especially as I’m aware of the personal grief that first fired his enthusiasm to create a way to contribute meaningfully to a charity dear to his heart. I wanted to understand more about the man as well as the writer, and so I invited him to be interviewed on my blog.
Ian, what else can you tell me about yourself?
Well, my full title is actually Ian David Charles Moore, which is quite a mouthful to say the least. I’m a 43 year old trucker, originally from Birmingham, West Midlands but have been living ‘up north’ in Yorkshire for the last 10 years. I have two sons aged 16 and 9 and a step-son aged 17 and step-daughter aged 15 with my partner of almost 4 years. I tend to be quite practical, not the most emotional person I know. If it’s broken, I’ll try to find the fastest, most efficient way to fix it. If it needs doing, I’ll get it done, one way or another. In a nutshell, that’s me.
What about your writing history – when was the first time you decided to write, and what prompted you to begin?
I have always loved the written word. I’m quite inward focused in real life, not one for making small talk, and I usually avoid crowds. This has meant that I find it much easier to write than to talk, though it is arguable as to which one I do best. So far, I’ve just one fully completed novel entitled Salby Damned. The idea came from a radio broadcast I heard about fracking. It triggered an immediate response in me, and the story was originally written on my Samsung mobile phone and posted chapter by chapter in real time on to Facebook – until it got to be too big. It took just 7 weeks to write the story, and a further 9 months to edit it. This was my first attempt at a full scale professional novel. I had written a few short stories many moons ago, never published and long since lost. I’m prone to poetry from time to time, sometimes funny, sometimes a little more serious.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
My younger sister Helen was the one who gave me the push to write a professional story. She knew that I could write and encouraged me to try to write a ‘zombie story for grown-ups’ – that’s what she asked for. I hope I didn’t disappoint her.
When did you decide to write in your chosen genre?
From a very early age I was always fascinated with the darker side of life, the horrors and thrillers of this world, from the bizarre such as Animal Farm, to the plausible and one of the greats, Fahrenheit 451, and then, when I got older, James Herbert – Portent, and Dean Koontz to name but a few. The macabre, psychological, paranormal and generally weird always seems to pique my imagination. It felt right to write in a genre that I love so much.
Tell me more about the concept behind your book. How exactly did you get the idea?
Well, as I said, I was given specific instructions by my sister to write an adult zombie story. And then, at work trucking one day, the radio announced that gas and energy companies could now legally drill under our houses from miles away to extract shale gas… the creative juices started to flow, and the ‘Deadheads’ were born.
What about your life outside of writing?
Life is very busy, as you can imagine with four children, two of which (mine) still live in Birmingham over a 120 miles to the south. I spend my days off alternating between home life in Yorkshire and time with my boys in Birmingham. My trucking work sees me out 60 hours a week on the road and I also run an internet based bed/mattress business which can mean long hours delivering nationwide in my free time.
What makes you laugh?
Lee Evans, generally speaking. His humour is outstanding. I warm to people who don’t take life too seriously – it is far too short for that. I find that seeing my children happy and smiling lifts me beyond words, and equally to see my partner happy also turns a dark day into bright sunshine.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
The Head of NASA and the complete crew of Apollo 14 – what a story they would have to tell.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
In the Arms of the Angel by Sarah McLachlan – it’s a VERY haunting melody. https://youtu.be/3pvf_OBuJVE
What are you working on now?
Currently, every waking minute is spent on the Indie Authors Charity Anthology, along with a multitude of wonderful writers, to complete a book of short stories in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It is a very exciting project indeed and, as far as I’m aware, a first for the charity.
I also have the sequel to Salby Damned in progress – Nathan Cross is still semi-naked and walking out of the shower towards a gawping Evie… but that’s enough for now. And then I’ve another book I’ve started, something a little different in that it’s a paranormal thriller – thought I might try and bend my genre a little, reach outwards and see if I can do it. Watch this space…
You have created some great characters. Which one is your favourite?
In Salby Damned, it would have to be Colin Snape. He was just the best character to create, everything loathsome in a human being and I got to write it all down… a lot of fun indeed.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
Nathan Cross would be Hugh Jackman, Evelyn Shepherd would have to be Keira Knightly. The officers in the book would be Hugh Laurie and Sean Connery. Corporal Simms would have to be played by Uma Thurman.
Are you like any of the characters, and if so how?
Nathan Cross was based upon my experiences – he is smarter, braver and considerably better looking than me, but hey, that’s why I write fiction. No, really – he has a lot of my traits and would do many of the things I could see myself doing.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
Salby Damned literally poured out of me. It’s as if it had been waiting for years to be written down. I was gutted when I came to the end of the story, and honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to write another again. Truthfully, I still don’t, but I seem to be inspired none the less to try. The plots, characters and scenes I could see in my mind’s eye as if I were actually there.
What is your main reason for writing?
I love to write. For me, it is an escape and allows me the freedom to express my feelings in a way that I struggle to do in spoken words. If, by some miracle, others enjoy what I produce, that can only be a bonus. Do I write seriously? Yes of course. Does it matter to me what I put out? Absolutely. Am I competitive in my writing? No, but I think we should all push ourselves to be better if we’re going to sell what we write.
I‘ve only read your first book, Salby Damned, so far. Is it going to be part of a series?
You’ll have to wait for the sequel! Even I’m not sure where it will go yet, but I do have a couple of open options.
What for you are the best and worst aspects of writing?
Having the freedom to create whatever you want is very liberating. Your own worlds, scenarios and characters can come to life from mind to paper. I think I’ll always get excited when the first proof of a book drops on the mat – that has to be the best moment.
The worst bit is the dreaded editing. It can be time consuming, frustrating; heartbreaking at times too, especially if you’re learning the ropes as you go along – as I have, really. It is a necessary evil though – polish your work until it shines… then go and polish it again.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
Marketing means different things to different people, depending upon how you see yourself as a writer. There are some who thrust flyer ads and media into the public eye on a daily basis – they may depend upon book sales for income. I do not. I’ll advertise every few weeks or so but have found the best way to get sales is to socialise with other like-minded souls. There is no better advert than a FREE one in the form of a review that is reposted several times. It carries so much more weight.
Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.
Although fairly diplomatic, I’m a fan of body art – tattoos to be specific. You would never know it to look at me, even in a short-sleeved shirt, but I have three, AND a piercing. Perhaps it’s my rebellion against ‘the norm’. I successfully gave up smoking after 28 years almost 6 months ago to the day. Is that mundane enough?
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
My work remains self-edited. It is not easy as an indie to afford the high prices for editors and they may not be in tune with a writer’s style or expression. I choose to self-edit but have a team of willing victims… I mean volunteers, who will read a new piece and either throw it back at me or hand it back with a wink and a smile.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
Self-publishing has been a roller-coaster ride of blood, sweat, tears and laughter. It is a learning curve, an ongoing thing, and to have published one, or even three books doesn’t make you anywhere near an expert. Anyone can self-publish, but you must have a certain discipline to get it right and to a high enough quality. The high point for anyone has to be seeing your book online, and possibly googling your own name and having it come up! The low points are when you go back to look at your work after a few weeks and wonder why on earth you wrote it that way – so begins the after edit fallout.
What is your advice to new writers?
If you have a story – tell it. Go and find yourself a good online writers group, not a paid review group. A group where indies meet, like a watering hole. Get to know them, participate in the posts and events – you’ll learn more in one week than you’d learn in a month on your own. There is a lot to learn – writing the story is the easy part, but don’t give up! Polish your work until it glows in the dark and ALWAYS get a second opinion.
Who are your favourite independent writers?
From those I’ve read so far as follows: Lesley Hayes, Patrick Christopher Power, Tom Benson, Nico Laeser, Eric Lahti, Sharon Brownlie, to name but a few. These are the ones who stand out for me.
Who are your favourite authors?
I’ve always liked Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Nelson De Mille, Ray Bradbury and recently Andy McNab.
What is your favourite book?
There are two that have stayed with me. By The Rivers Of Babylon – Nelson De Mille and Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
What book are you currently reading and in which format?
I’m currently reading Sharon Brownlie’s e-book, Betrayal – a gritty, gripping tale of revenge.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
My kindle and possibly a good MP3 Player loaded with music.
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
I can be quite solitary sometimes, away with the fairies in my own little world, usually immersed in thought about a plot or character. My temper – while longer as I’ve gotten older, is still pretty short though I have a lot more scope for understanding now than I once did.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
With the introduction of e-readers, kindles, mobile phone apps, everyone becomes an instant book critic. There will be some who delight in leaving a good, honest and positive review, and to balance those there will be others who leave a negative one simply because they can. The thing about reviews and criticism is to take what is important from them, to look objectively at what has been said and see if it is based upon truth or emotion. In sticking your head above the parapet and putting your work out there, it is reasonable to expect that some will like it, others will not – don’t try to please everyone!
You can find Ian and read more about Salby Damned by following any of these links: