A Conversation with Marsha A. Moore

A Conversation with Marsha A. Moore: Author of The Enchanted Bookstore Legends Series

BF: Can you describe your journey to publishing your first book?

MM: I didn’t aim to be a fiction author. My path evolved to this end. While growing up I enjoyed reading, and for that reason I followed an English minor college program, actually just for fun along with a Biology major. Years later, I worked as a rock music reviewer. During that time, I was inspired by some of those experiences and tinkered with fiction. Initially, I wrote fiction based on the world of rock music. Through a lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my first attempts at fiction, which were posted on a music forum. He repeatedly encouraged me to submit my creative writing. Over time, I came to believe him and did. After that, a new world opened up and it’s been a wonderful time.


BF: You recently made the switch from traditional publishing to self-publishing. What made you choose self-publishing?

MM: My first two books were released with a traditional publisher. Wanting to expand to include other houses, I submitted the first of my Enchanted Bookstore Legends, Seeking a Scribe, to many agents and other publishers. I received very good feedback, but also with concerns that the book was balanced more toward fantasy than romance, which, for them, made it a less marketable work. I was asked to rewrite to correct the balance, but I wasn’t willing to change that much of my story. Several agents and publishers gave me those same comments. Over time, I became less interested in creating a book that industry folks believed would be trendy. I wanted it to be as I envisioned. Looking back, I’m very glad I chose to go Indie with this series. I love the storyline across the five books (three are released) and am very proud of it.


BF: Would you ever consider going back to the traditional way of publishing?

MM: Not in the near future. I really enjoy the freedom to organize my time. I’m very self-motivated and like to set my own pace, rather than work to a publisher’s schedule. Also, although with self-publishing I do more jobs, I also claim more ownership and responsibility for the quality. I hire a professional editor, but all other tasks in the production are mine. Compared to traditional publishing, I work harder on each book I self-publish, and I’m more satisfied and proud of the result.


BF: You consider your work to be fantasy romance. Can you define that and also give us some examples of key elements that are prevalent in the genre?

MM: Simply, fantasy romance is a blended genre where the fantasy elements are more important than the secondary romance theme.

Expanding on that idea, the protagonists often begin their journeys by escaping abusive or oppressive environments. But because of the romance element, their goals are not to become free from all social ties. Instead, most characters search for a new community or social group where they truly belong, and eventually love blossoms.

Fantasy romance is expected to have more complex magical systems, approximating more closely what we see in high fantasy than genres of paranormal romance or urban fantasy.


BF: What is your writing routine like?

MM: Through the years, I’ve varied my routine a lot. During my first couple of books, I wrote more methodically as part of my normal day. It was a good technique to develop discipline and keep my mind focused on writing. When I began my fourth book, I changed to writing in concentrated periods, usually making writing my main event for several weeks. My novels are written over 3-4 of those concentrated sessions. I’ve found my writing is best when I submerge in my story and live with my characters. It’s definitely more fun to spend a week playing “Let’s Pretend” in my elaborate imaginary worlds than grinding out a couple of pages per day. I always look forward to my writing “vacations,” and eagerly clear out the household chores. In fact, my house is about to get cleaned in a quick way since I feel the need to spend a week writing. That writer’s muse can’t be denied!


BF: You wrote a series called The Enchanted Bookstore Legends. What inspired you with this series? How did you come up with the story line?

MM: It’s basically a fantasy lover’s dream, being able to step into a favorite book as a character. I know my initial inspiration came after watching the recent Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. From that, I wanted to work with parallel worlds and have a heroine who must save the fantasy world from danger.

I envisioned a series with the magical complexities of the Harry Potter world, but for grown-ups, with characters who faced more complicated life issues. I had strong opinions about choosing my heroine’s age. I wanted her to have experienced enough hard times to be able to truly appreciate true love, honor, courage, fairness, all that is good. In this way, she can truly commit to whatever obstacles lie in the path to happiness. She knows herself and is determined. As the series progresses, I admire her strength.


BF: How do you feel about social media for writers? Is it essential that writers build a platform prior to publication?

MM: Social media is something today’s authors must use to reach readers. However, mastering each type will drain your time and creative energy. Be proficient in most, but master the ones you enjoy.

Building a platform prior to publication saves time once a writer becomes published. The process of publishing, no matter which route, is incredibly consuming. There is no time during that process to create and learn how to maintain websites, blogs, and social media connections.


BF: You recently took a trip to Italy. Did you get any writing done while you were there? Did anything in particular inspire any new ideas?

MM: The trip was wonderful and certainly recharged my creativity. I did gain some ideas for fantasy settings at some of our stops. I was captivated by how the narrow maze-like street layout of Venice bustling with people contrasted with the almost eerie silence of the canals while riding in a gondola. I’m sure that and a few others will show up in my next novels.

I did write on the days at sea during our cruise, as well as on the flight home. The trip was so relaxing, my mind cleared and allowed space for new writing ideas.


BF: What are you working on now? What’s next for you?

MM: I’m writing the fourth book in the Enchanted Bookstore Legends. There will be five total. I’m still enjoying working with these characters, letting them grow and develop. I’ll miss them when the series ends, but I do have a new series planned that I’m looking forward to. It will be more magical realism than high fantasy.


BF: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

MM: Don’t work alone. Use a critique group or beta readers. They keep me motivated, cheer with me for my successes, and support me when any hardships come along. My group is local, though the Florida Writers Association. I think it’s extremely important to find a local crit group rather than working together only online. We benefit so much from collectively brainstorming how to solve everyone’s writing problems.


For more information about Marsha or her books, visit: www.marshaamoore.com.

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