Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Tonya R. Moore Interview
5/3/2010 10:16:12 PM
An interview with Sci-Fi, speculative fiction author, Tonya R. Moore
LTS: Today’s guest blog features Twitter pal and talented author, Tonya R. Moore. With so much on the go, I don’t know how she finds the time to write, but she does! My blog mission is to find out more about her website ‘Big Universe’, her novel ‘Earthbound Exotica’ and what makes this writer tick. Tonya, let’s start with questions of a personal nature meant to enlighten us and embarrass you! Just kidding! I’d never do that to you, or I might, but later when you’re so into this interview you won’t be able to back out! Seriously now, I’d like to begin with a little info about you. I understand you were born in Jamaica. Where do you call home and what do you do when you’re not writing?
TRM: Yes, I was born and grew up in Jamaica. It's a truly beautiful country, by the way. I currently work and live in Bradenton, Florida. I'm still searching for a place I can truly call home. I hope to find something of the sort someday. I have a full-time job, so I'm usually working when not writing or... ahem... being hopelessly distracted by shiny things. I generally try to sneak a few hours of sleep in there somewhere.
LTS: Stories and writing have always a part of your life since you were a youngster, but was becoming a published author a life long dream?
TRM: I have always wished for it. I've never been a confident person, so becoming a published author has always felt like an impossibly lofty dream. Despite this, I truly love to write and I have a burning desire to share the results of those efforts. With that in mind, I do what I can and hope to see where that takes me.
LTS: I know you write horror, urban fiction and speculative fiction, but your genre of choice is the Space Opera. Can you explain to me what is the difference between Sci-Fi and Space Opera and why it is your favorite to write?
TRM: While the focus of Science Fiction tends to be centered on technologies and ideas about existence and the nature of the universe, Space Opera is more concerned with the drama borne by interaction between people and cultures. At least, that's my take on it. Stories that portray humanity or other beings thriving or struggling and mingling or warring with each other or alien creatures and cultures of the distant future or in far flung regions of the universe have always really electrified me and continue to stir my imagination. Space Opera stories tend to be built around interpersonal relationships and the way they are tested or strengthened by the tumultuous dynamics of those fantastic settings.
LTS: Interesting answer! Now I feel like I've learned something new. As for your book, I understand your novel ‘Earthbound Exotica’ is a collection of short stories and urban fantasy flash fiction. Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they take a peek into this ebook?
TRM: Earthbound Exotica is a very random selection of short stories and flash fiction that I already have posted on my site. I wanted to present something of a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the many haunting themes that define my fiction. The result was something somewhat abstract but I hope... potent. I have a great difficulty reading electronic fiction on my PC because there's always something else that I feel a need to be using it for, it seemed there might be some readers out there who'd appreciate the option of downloading to a mobile device.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Do you have an agent or are you currently represented? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
TRM: I'm not currently represented. I have a work in progress that I expect to complete during the summer. Once that novel is complete, I will be seeking an agent. Being unrepresented, I can't share any experiences. I can only pass on what I've learned from my own research into the subject.
Most Importantly: Be patient. Be persistent. Be proactive.
Writers need to pay attention to Agents' requirements and adhere to those when submitting their work. We shouldn't expect phenomenal results overnight. Overnight, success happens but more often than not, it happens to the writers who already have faced rejection countless times. Don't take it personally. That's just the nature of the industry. Keep writing. Keep submitting your work with the hope that someday it will bear fruit.
Many literary anthologies as well as electronic and print publications are on the look-out for shorter works of fiction to publish. Why not work on a few between your larger projects? Garnering a few writing credits here and there will certainly help get your name out there.
A writer should always be striving to improve his or her craft. If Agents or Editors do offer criticisms of your work, try to glean something useful from it. Try to put yourself in the reader's shoes. Think about all the things you've disliked or found lacking in books you've read and try to correct those elements in your own work.
The world of publishing is constantly evolving and writers need to double their efforts to keep pace. Maintaining an online presence for the sake of your work, is becoming a necessity. Every writer should have a blog or website that includes information that will allow industry professionals to contact him or her. There's a vibrant online community of writers and readers on many social networking sites. Joining in and connecting with these wonderful and talented people can eventually be a great boost for your endeavors.
LTS: Good, practical advice! So now, what made you decide on self-publishing ‘Earthbound Exotica’ and making it available via Smashwords.com?
TRM: I happened to see someone's tweet about National Ebook Week (March 13th-17th) for the very first time. What a wonderful concept! Since I've been quite interested in electronic fiction lately, I really wanted to become involved in some tangible way. I figured that fast-tracking one of my planned projects--compiling a sample of my work and making it available for free download would be a great way to accomplish that. Smashwords.com was the obvious choice because they've become the most popular digital fiction provider and they offer downloads in multiple, easily accessible formats.
LTS: You have a very cool website where you showcase a number of special projects you have underway. From a blog about your creative pursuits to a web fiction directory and a speculative fiction collective called the Hive Mind to a page called Girls with Guns, it makes you one busy lady! I’m intrigued by the Girls with Guns page. Being a martial arts instructor with a passion for weapons, particularly the sharp, pointy kinds that kill quietly than ones that waste a person with an explosive bang, what is this about and what are the guidelines to fit into this anthology?
TRM: Thanks for the lovely compliment! Personally, I just have a thing for kickass (can I say kickass here?) female characters, whether they wreak havoc with their fists, guns or blades. I also love guns. They're obnoxiously loud, they have that vicious kick and that burning smell, when you fire... A female character with a gun makes for a very potent combination no matter what genre. Brent (MadeinDNA) and I were lauding the awesomeness and versatility of this particular theme when one of us (I forget which) said: "We should do an anthology surrounding this theme!"
Here we are a few months down the road. The project is in full swing and the response has been fantastic, so far.
The Girls With Guns anthology will be published on Smashwords and made available for Free download. There is no payout–the anthology will be free to readers. Authors retain the full rights to their work. We only require one-time digital publication rights. Our intent is to give some of the awesomely talented writers out there a chance to gain a bit of exposure while offering readers a taste of bold and unapologetic fiction.
We have set the following Basic Guidelines:
Email Submissions to Tonya R. Moore (mikodragonfly [.t] gmail.com) or Made In DNA (made.in.dna [.t] gmail.com)
The title of your email message MUST be “Girls With Guns Anthology Submission”
Be sure state your name or pseudonym, contact info, homepage and your story’s title at the beginning of your email message.
Paste your story into the body of your email message after your contact info. We will not open submissions sent as email attachments.
We prefer block style paragraph formatting. As long as your main character is or encounters one or more girls with guns, any setting from space operas to urban melodrama will be considered for inclusion.
We will consider short stories up to 7500 words in length. Flash Fiction submissions won’t be rejected but they should be at least 1000 words in length.
LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
TRM: I am hopelessly undisciplined when it comes to following a writing schedule. I have tried many times and failed. I do my best writing simply, when I feel like it. Thankfully, I get that feeling quite often. I do wish I were more organized. I would accomplish so much more! Unfortunately, trying to force myself only results in decreased productivity.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
TRM: I'm a bona-fide pantser but I try to be reasonable about it. Once a story idea starts taking solid form in my mind, I generally need to do some basic plotting and character sketches--even a bit of research, sometimes. I tend to take a minimalist approach in that regard, mostly because I detest doing it. My stories tend to evolve on their own - to that end, extensive plotting ends up being more of a waste of time than beneficial.
LTS: With one ebook available and so many writing projects under way, where do you find your inspiration?
TRM: Inspiration is usually out-of-the-blue. I'll hear a certain song or something striking catches my eye, etc and it just randomly sparks a flash of a story. I'm constantly living out several story-lines in my head but I simply don't have the time or where-with-all to articulate them all at once. I often become very frustrated at myself for not being able to do that.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
TRM: It depends on my state of mind. Generally, I just need to tidy up my desk, gather my notes and have a drink or some tea or coffee handy. My concentration deteriorates when I'm stressed so sometimes, I'll trade out the coffee for a bit of something alcoholic. Sometimes, I need certain music for certain scenes. Sometime I need absolute silence or the tv on in the background.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
TRM: When I get stuck, I try shifting between projects, since I always have several in progress at once. If that doesn't work, I'll take a short break from writing, since writer's block usually signals burnout. If there's no improvement after a few days or so, I try my hand at random (small scale) writing challenge. My "Daily Drabble" challenge was such an endeavor. It's amazing how helpful making a point of writing one small, random piece daily can help get the words flowing again.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
TRM: So many wonderful authors have influence the evolution of my work. It's hard to even narrow it down to just one. The first to come to mind tight now are Anne McCaffrey and Ray Bradbury. I was in love with McCaffrey's "Acorna" and "Rowan" series long before I even knew that Space Opera was a coined phrase. As for Ray Bradbury, stories such as "The Foghorn" and "A Sound of Thunder" have always filled me with wonder and challenged my perceptions of the universe and what it means to be human. I'm always trying to capture even just a tiny bit of the earnestness and wonder that they poured into their works.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
TRM: Much as I may fret that most people end up hating my work or find it too boring to even keep reading, I have discovered a stubbornness in me that makes it impossible to change my writing style or subject matter for the sake of gaining a large following. I don't know that my writing has touched the lives of others. I don't know that it ever will. One can only hope...
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
TRM: The most important thing I've learned is to remain faithful to myself. At the end of the day, writing and story-telling are more important to me than getting published. While I really hope to reach that goal someday, it's not worth losing my sense of self in the process.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
TRM: Although it's one of my favorite activities, I haven't had a chance to do much reading lately. I'm afraid I've fallen pathetically behind on my reading list. I took on a number of time-consuming projects at the start of this year. I'm thrilled to be so productive but it does mean that a number of other things I like/want to do keep getting shelved when I prioritize those that have deadlines.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from the genres you are familiar with to tackle something completely different? Can your fans expect a Volume 2 to ‘Earthbound Exotica’ in the near future?
TRM: A second of 'Earthbound Exotica' isn't outside of the realm of possibilities but I have no plans for that, at this time. At the moment, I'm working on an urban fiction novella that will be available as an ebook sometime between now and summer. In addition to the GIRL WITH GUNS anthology and the two on-going Space Opera serials on my site, my current projects include the episodic serialization of Blood Binds--a fantasy adventure in eFiction Magazine (monthly) and the final draft of my aforementioned novel. I find that I'm working on more Space Opera type stories these days but the truth is, I do have a tendency to shift gears from time to time. I wouldn't be surprised if the genres I find most interesting change again. Five years is a long way off and I'm not sure what direction my writing will take. Even so, I have several projects in the works and at least 3 in-progress novels that I really want to complete over the next two years. At the very least, by then I hope to be able to confidently say that I haven't squandered my time.
LTS: If it is time well spent and in the end, you are satisfied with your work, how can you feel like you've squandered your time? In my mind, it's a major accomplishment! Thank you for spending some time here on my blog and in sharing in your passion for writing, Tonya! For more information about Tonya Moore and her writings, check out: Website: http://www.tonyamoore.com
Follow Tonya on Twitter: .mikodragonfly
Where to buy the book: Free Download from Smashwords:
(Earthbound Exotica is not available in Print)
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