About the Author
I feel I should preface this with an apology because while I love creating pretend characters and the trademark for my novels is likely to be a gripping introductory first-person prologue from my lead, I find describing myself quite tedious. I’m just not all that interesting. So, (big breath) here goes…
An avid lifelong lover of the written word, I read at least a book or two a week, and on a really great vacation, five to seven. When I’m not working, reading or writing, I spend my free time enjoying the outdoors with my family, mostly at our home on a small lake in Southwest Michigan, occasionally visiting a tiny rustic hunting cabin in Colorado and every once in a while, when we’re blessed with means, a Spring break vacation in the Caribbean.
I must admit, I’m very much a newbie at writing. But… as a goal oriented positive thinker and self-learner, I've devoured twenty-some non-fiction books on the craft since deciding to become an author in early 2012. And, as a business operations manager, a big part of my job is written communications: business process documentation, internal and external professional correspondence and of course, the inevitable and incessant email. I have a couple of published magazine articles to my credit and a B.S. from Purdue University where I studied IT, engineering and chemistry.
That’s right, science. Nothing even remotely related to writing or language arts. But oh, this is good. When I was in college, I had a freshman English class where just about every paper I turned in came back with an A- and a comment like, “Did you write this?” or something to that effect. After several of these—and because there was very little red ink elsewhere—I asked what the minus was for. The professor’s only response, after I assured him I wrote it, was to change it to an A. Maybe I should have listened to what he didn’t say.
From my earliest memories I never really knew what I wanted to do. I changed majors five times in college. But after sitting down and writing my first story over the course of the summer of 2012—between a full-time-and-then-some job and two young children—now I know. I want to be an author. That first story will never be published. It has way too many speaker attributions and adverbs. And story structure? What’s that? Now I know better. But it touched my heart and that’s something.
My stories are contemporary character driven tales of normal every-day people and the challenges we all face in real life: love, friendship, parenthood, morality, mortality, compassion and faith. My favorite novels are those that reach down deep, wrap up my whole heart and soul, make me laugh, and cry. And those are the types of stories I want to write. I want to touch people’s lives. I want my reader to feel better, be better, love better, because they read my words and took them to heart. I want to inspire, to comfort and to breathe faith and hope into anyone who may despair that they’re alone in this world.
I really expected it to take more than a couple of tries to get it right, but my beta readers encouraged me to submit my second book, Angel Beneath My Wheels, assuring me it’s a great story and well written. Six months and forty-nine query letters later, I landed an agent who then helped me find a publisher. My first book was released on February 29th, 2016!
If early reviews are any indication, I've accomplished at least some of what I set out to do with Angel Beneath My Wheels. I hope you enjoy it too. If you'd like to receive monthly short stories about real people who touch the lives of others, and announcements of future releases, please join my email list here.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
A few years ago, with two children entering their teens, my husband and I became frustrated by the lack of family appropriate movies. Our children were too old for Disney and Pixar and they definitely weren’t ready—in our minds anyway—for PG-rated films. Sadly, we simply stopped going to the movies.
Later that same year, my mother-in-law, a prolific reader like me whom I absolutely adore, recommended a book to me. I read it and, while it was a good story, the writing was lame. It made me think, Heck, I could write better than that. The more I thought about it, the more I talked myself into it. People around me—at work, at home, on several boards I’ve served on—often ask me to handle the correspondence or proofread for them. Obviously others thought I had a way with words. So I gave it a shot and fast-forward three years to February 29th, 2016 and Angel Beneath My Wheels was published.
2. What is your current WIP (work in progress)?
Right now I’m working on an inspirational romance called Mourning Dove. It’s about a thirty-nine year old woman who loses her husband in a motorcycle accident and two years later meets a rising star Hollywood actor who convinces her it’s time to move on. There is some interesting backstory though that I’m working to weave in. The woman grew up in the slums of Detroit. The actor volunteers as a mentor to inner city kids in LA and the two of them find common ground in their desire to improve the odds for our nation’s underprivileged youth. And the ending: think Casa Blanca (a sacrifice ending).
I also wrote another story while I was waiting on my debut novel to come to fruition (the publishing process for Angel Beneath My Wheels took fourteen months.) My latest is called Providence and my agent sent it out to publishers in mid-February. I’ve received a few rejections but, God willing, it will find a home with a publisher soon. I think it may be a bit too much non-Christian content for the traditional large Christian publishing houses. You can read more about that one on my website, KathrynSueMoore.com.
3. What does your writing process look like?
Well…I have a full-time (and then some) job so my writing time is very limited. I use Excel to lay out an overview of my story and flesh it out by ensuring there is plenty of conflict in every scene. Along the way, I make a list of my characters and their attributes, emotions, backstory, etc. then I write a first-person prologue from the character who I think might be my protagonist. Sometimes that changes. Then I start writing each scene, usually not in order. Don’t ask me why. I don’t really know. Sometimes I can visualize certain scenes better than others and sometimes a scene, even as I add it to my spreadsheet, I know it’s temporary or might not be needed.
That’s my first draft. Then I let it simmer (as Steven King would say) for a few weeks and move on to something else. When I come back to it, I’m in serious edit mode. Omit needless words, ensure my opening line is rock solid and enticing, ensure my opening scene is the right one, that it makes the reader care, really care, about my protagonist. I highlight the lines/scenes that “sing” to me and scratch out (using MS word) the ones that grate. Then I review the highlighted ones and try to apply what worked in those to the scratched parts.
From there, once I have what I think is the best second draft I can create on my own, I give it to my alpha readers – my husband and my mother-in-law. From their feedback, I’ll revise as needed, and then it goes to a small group of beta readers. Revise as needed, and then I have it professionally edited, which is a bit costly but I think it’s worth it. Then I send it to my agent.
4. What authors have inspired your writing?
Nicholas Sparks’ earliest works are the best and I would definitely consider him the most influential on my writing style although I’m certain I’ll never create an ending where the hero dies in the end. I loathe disappointing endings and a few of his have frustrated me to the point where I stopped buying every book he’d ever written. I also really like Steven King and at one point, back in college, I’d read everything he’d ever written. I guess I like the tight, draw-you-in, type of writing those two authors are known for. I’d love to bring that type of writing to the Christian Romance genre. Hopefully I have.
5. What inspired the idea for Angel Beneath My Wheels?
When I sat down to decide what to write, I kept two things in mind. It had to be a story my whole family would enjoy and it had to be something that would make a great movie.
I decided on a love story because every good movie contains a great romance, but I wanted it to be one my husband would enjoy. So when my brother described an interesting film called Gas Hole, an eye-opening documentary that alleged a massive cover up by oil companies, it sounded like the makings of an intriguing story and one with a definite modern-day interest, given the volatility of gas prices. According to the documentary, “Big Oil” has been suppressing innovations in fuel efficiencies for years, even going so far as to murder at least one very bright young inventor who had the idea for an engine that ran on vapor.
Like many men, my husband and son are into cars. Coupled with my above-average-for-a-woman knowledge of engines, mechanics and chemistry in general, I came up with the idea of a young woman who, like me, grew up working on cars with her father. My husband and son love NASCAR too so I thought that would provide an exciting backdrop as well as tie in nicely with the idea of fuel efficiency.
And finally, above all, I wanted it to be wholesome and family friendly, with a meaningful message for young people. So my heroine is a young woman of faith who’s made a commitment to God to save her virtue for marriage. She wears a purity ring and the story explores how difficult it can be for a young woman to retain those ideals in our modern culture.
6. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I absolutely love the outdoors so I’m very active. I walk, sometimes run, hike, play volleyball occasionally (when my kids are willing to let me join their sometimes way too competitive games) and I’m really excited to try wake surfing this summer. And of course, my favorite place to write, is outside, down by the lake with my headphones on.
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