Growing up in Ontario, Canada, MJ was the only child of a single mom. MJ’s passion for the arts ignited at a young age as she wrote adventure stories and read them aloud to close family and friends. The dramatic arts became a focus in high school as an aid to understanding character motivation in her writing. Majoring in Theatre Production at University, with a minor in English, she went on to teach both elementary and high school for 10 years throughout Simcoe County.
MJ currently lives with her husband and young son in Caledon, Ontario. She keeps busy these days writing, editing for Love Knot Books, and helping coach Indie Authors. She firmly believes that if she hadn’t been born a Virgo, she would not be half as organized as necessary to accomplish everything in her daily agenda.
In Conversation With: MJ Moores
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author MJ Moores. Can I offer you anything to drink before we begin?
Ooo! Yes, please. It’s a little chilly in here so a hot chocolate would be amazing, thanks 😊.
Chilly? It’s Winnipeg in August. Where the heck are you?
LOL! Indoors with the A/C cranked. The outdoors and I had a wild love-affair when I was a kid and we’re not much on speaking terms anymore.
But hot chocolate is yummy.
I read that you majored in theatre. Any memorable roles?
Actually, I majored in Theatre Production… so no “acting” roles (lol) just stuff behind the scenes. I’ll never forget the time I was Head of Sound on a production at York University and I accidently hit the button for the next sound change and it totally ruined a serious, heartfelt scene in the final moments of the play. What I excelled at, though, was costuming and bossing people around. So, when I got the position of Wardrobe Manager, I got my best grade ever (A+)!
Hey, without the “behind the scenes”, there are no scenes. Right?
Exactly. How can the “show go on” if there’s nothing to perform on? I just love the creative aspect of scene, prop, and costume design. Really feeds my need… just like writing.
What was the very first story you wrote?
I know I wrote little half and one-page stories in the early days of elementary school, but the one I recall as being my first “legit” story was in grade 4 – I was 9 years old. We were asked to write a 2-page short story on any topic we wanted. Weeeeeeeeeellllllll… let’s just say that I handed in the first chapter (7 pages, double-spaced, in cursive writing) to a 12-chapter middle-grade book staring me and my friends on a wild Lord of the Flies-type adventure (didn’t read that book until gr.10) called The Enchanted Jungle Figure. It was my first foray into urban fantasy. I still have the manuscript and hope to one day find the time to dust it off and get it published.
By looking at your bookography (yeah, let’s use that word), I see that you write in a few different genres. Fantasy—because there’s dragons on the cover, Steampunk—Gears and hot air balloons, Sci-fi—planets, Romance—couple on the cover (and the one with the rose). Did I miss any?
LOL! Nope, that’s all of them. What binds my stories together is that they all revolve around adventure and journeying toward knowledge/greater understanding of life and/or self. Yes, even my sweet college romantic suspense novels are like that. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything I write that doesn’t incorporate a thread, undercurrent, or sub-plot of romance in some way. So, really, in my head it all ties together nicely.
Do you think this segments your audience too much, or is it a way of broadening your reach?
I think I just like to write a lot of different stuff (LOL). The sci-fi/fantasy go hand-in-hand as they are mostly written for a YA market. And while my romantic suspense books appeal to a different type of reader, they are also YA in feel, as opposed to NA (which, quite frankly, is far too steamy for me!), and comprise of adventure sequences and “kids” trying to find themselves (I can call them kids as I’m over 40 now). It makes marketing challenging, for sure. Because of that, I’ve decided to move forward focusing more on my sci-fi/fantasy love while keeping in the YA genre. My urban fantasy series D.E.M.ON. Tales is co-written with a friend of mine and while it’s written for an adult audience one of the reoccurring characters is a bubbly, thirteen-year-old, First Nation’s genius lovingly referred to as Junior. We also have a sassy 19-year-old agent anxious to prove her chops. These characters make the series open to upper YA too… and the tongue-in-cheek humor doesn’t hurt 😊.
Do you have a favorite book or author?
Oh, yes. A couple, actually. I absolutely fell for Kristen Britain (Green Rider Series) but when I learned early on that she only released one book every two years I knew I couldn’t rely solely on her to keep my reading habit in check—
One book every two years? That’s slower than me. I’m at a one/year rate. Now I don’t feel like a slacker. Sorry to interrupt, please continue.
I know, right? I can generally produce three a year but that includes novellas. Still, Kristen’s books are traditionally published and they are huuuuuge (sings: “I like big books and I cannot lie…”). Anyway, that’s when I discovered Maria V. Snyder and her Poison Study series. You know, I even got to meet both authors at a local sci-fi/fantasy writer’s conference I enjoy attending. They signed my books and I was careful not to fan-girl too hard 😉.
Let’s pivot to music. Do you have any favorite artists you like to listen to?
I was schooled about my taste in music recently by a young millennial. Apparently, I like what’s referred to as “Dad Rock”. Yep. Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Nickelback, Daughtry, Shinedown… even Bryan Adams. That said, I’m sure if “Mom Rock” was a thing that would classify the other half of the music on my MP3 player: Madonna, Sass Jordan, Alannah Myles, Pat Benatar, early Kelley Clarkson… but I’m not quite sure where my love of Evanescence falls (LOL). Basically, anything I can wail to at the top of my lungs.
I was going to make a snide remark about Nickleback, but everyone has their own opinions, so let’s move on.
LOL! As I said, I like to “wail…” I didn’t say anything about genius talent.
Are you ready for the lightning round?
Lightning? Yikes! I’m not a fan of storms but I’ll do my best.
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).
Social media platform you use the most but wish you didn’t?
Ha! Facebook (@AuthorMJMoores BTW)
What’s the most underrated food in Canada?
Pancakes. Maple syrup gets all the glory.
Favorite season. Not seasoning—Wait. Sure, let’s go with seasoning.
Autumn and Garlic (I’m sure you can smell my breath from here)
Name one thing on your bucket list.
To visit Malta, where part of my family is from.
Scariest animal encountered?
A giant Dock Spider. They’re bigger and harrier than some frickin’ tarantulas out there!
Oh, I agree. See one of those things comin’ at you when you’re neck-deep in water . . .
Exactly! You get it. Only I’ve encountered them in the dead of night too, half asleep (me not them), on the wall of my family cottage. Heart attack in a can… on a wall?
And… what does MJ stand for?
Well, if you ask anyone I knew back in high school they might say Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan (one odd-but-lovable friend called me Marvel-J). These days I get a lot of Mary Janes (both the original Spider Man’s love interest and the green weed variety). Truthfully, though, it’s simply Melissa Jane. There were too many “Melissa’s” in my year and I wanted to be, well, unique. So I transitioned to my initials and never went back. Only my family call me Melissa (and usually when I’ve done something wrong – lol).
This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share? Just my website (www.mjmoores.com) since I already shared my Facebook author page. I’ve got some great free starter reads for anyone interested in joining my newsletter.
The story behind Free Book Friday:
I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?
Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.
Summer Science Fiction Feature: New to you authors
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Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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