Jess Moore on Story Writing, the Wrath of Hermoine & Love
Today on my blog, I have the joy of interviewing Jess Moore, fabulous romance author and scarf knitter. Her books are toted as "beautifully written" with "heartfelt and deep" characters. She lives in North Carolina and is a self-proclaimed social-media poster of too many cat pictures.
No worries, Jess. There can NEVER be too many cat pictures. *wink wink*
So Jess, what is the first story you remember telling (not necessarily writing)?
I can’t remember ever telling stories. I do remember having dreams of writing them as early as middle school (11-13 years old). The first one I wrote as an adult – and unbelievably deleted afterward – was about a teen who made a decision that split her story into two paths. Each chapter alternated between the two storylines until in the end she was back in the original moment and knew the choice she needed to make.
What was your favorite game to play as a child?
This isn’t a game, but my favorite thing to play as a child was Barbies. My best friend and I spent countless hours (over many years) playing Barbies together. Complex storylines. Homemade clothes. We created worlds and lost ourselves in them, and I love the innocence and creativity of that time in our lives.
How many languages do you speak? Which is your favorite?
Only English for me. I do not count the two years of French I took in high school, because it left me with the ability to say only a few useless phrases and greetings.
Who inspired you to write your debut novel?
There wasn’t a who so much as a what that inspired my first book. I wrote The Guilt of a Sparrow as a way to help heal some trauma from my past. The book focuses on Magnolia Porter, the surviving child of a single mother, after her brother has passed. That part of the book was my story. I’d struggled with guilt for years, being the child still alive, and never feeling I could be good enough. My mother and I also fell into a very co-dependent relationship during those years following, and I wanted to write it out. That makes it sound like the book is more memoir than fiction, but that isn’t the case! The characters and their stories are entirely fiction – but the emotions were my own.
You are asked what your least favorite color is, knowing that it will forever be erased from existence. Would you give your answer?
I would definitely not answer this. I love colors and want them all to exist!
Star Wars or Star Trek?
One hundred percent, no question, Star Wars. I’ve seen all the movies many, many times, and my kids are big Star Wars nerds. I know more than I would ever want to actually. Haha. And though I’ve tried to watch Star Trek a few times, I never got into it.
If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be?
Is there a superpower for energy? I would love to feel really awake and energetic every day!
Oh, man! I could use a bit of that, especially the older I get!
What are your hobbies (besides reading and writing)?
Listening to music. Walking. Art (I’ve gotten into drawing on my iPad – I used to paint more).
I have seen some of your drawings. They are amazing! Do you hire out??
Ok, sorry, sidetracked. So, what is your favorite sport to play or watch?
I am decidedly non-sporty. The only sport I consistently watch is Moto-GP, which my husband got me into, and we like to keep up with as a family.
How fun! Do you ride motorcycle? Come visit and we will get you riding the prairie trails with dirtbikes! There are several local tracks, not Moto-GP, just dirt and jumps and such.
We all have a favorite author (or several). How about you? Do you have a favorite author/book?
Because this is an impossible question, I’ll narrow my answer down to my current top three romance authors: Penny Reid, Catherine Cowles, and Susannah Nix.
Have you ever played Kubb? Did you have to look it up before answering?
I did look it up, and while I have never played it, I think it looks fun. We camp a lot, and it seems like a fun set to bring along and play on our trips.
My family enjoys playing the game, probably more than cornhole or horseshoes.
The zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure?
A good red blend wine (think 19 Crimes), Walker’s shortbread (the Scotty dog ones), and dark chocolate. I could survive quite some time with those items to keep me happy.
I know whose place I'll be heading to...
If you could have authored a book, which one and why?
I’m happy to have authored my own and to simply enjoy reading others. I appreciate the different voices of other authors and how they can surprise me while I read.
What movie sequel would you erase from history, and why?
There. Are. So. Many! The first one that came to mind was the sequel to The Neverending Story. I think it sticks with me so strongly because it was the first time I realized – as a child – how epically disappointing sequels could be.
I'm sure I saw it, but I must have intentionally blocked it from memory. Falcor was my introduction to mythical flying creatures that weren't dragons or pegasi. Appa was the second.
You won the mythical lottery and are granted the use of a magical creature for one week. What creature would you pick, and why?
House elf. But I’d treat him/her fairly, and not ignite the wrath of Hermione.
Good idea. It didn't work out so well for Sirius.
What is one food you could never bring yourself to eat, and why?
I come from the land of pickling things like pigs’ feet and tongues. No, thank you, I’ll pass.
But what about pickled crab apples? My daughters and I made them last fall, and they are amazing, like a jar of apple pies apples.
Tell us your favorite "dad joke."
It’s inappropriate to tell a Dad Joke if you’re not a dad – it’s a faux pa.
Cake or pie?
Lemon Pie. The creamy kind, not the jelly kind, topped with meringue. (My grandmother’s recipe, if I’m being picky).
Hmmm, you'll have to share that recipe...
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, The Heart of a Peach, released in August, and is all about living up to expectations, or rejecting them and finding your own way. I write about love, hope, and happiness within the messiness of life.
The Heart of a Peach Olivia Hamilton can do no wrong. Or at least that's what the community of Fox River, North Carolina thinks of the odd but sweet young lady. She's hiding a past she'd rather forget, engaged to the town's most eligible bachelor, and longing for someone to see past the mask she wears. Olivia wants to find herself, forgive herself, and fall in love with someone who sees and embraces her flaws. Denver MacKenna grew up the fiddle-playing prodigy of not only his hometown of Fox River but of North Carolina and the surrounding states. He plays obsessively and tours as often as possible, escaping a life of loneliness at home. Until he meets a beautiful siren who calls to him and has him making plans to settle down. Denver knows it's wrong to covet the elusive Olivia, but finds himself inexplicably drawn to the brief glimpses she gives him of her true self.
The Heart of a Peach can be read as a stand-alone small-town romance novel, or as the sixth book in the Fox River Romance series. To read as a series, start with The Guilt of a Sparrow.
Do you have a favorite character that you created? Why or why not?
I am unabashedly in love with all the characters I’ve created. They are real people to me, and I feel lucky to have been able to tell their stories. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say Dominic MacKenna, because he’s sweet, funny, flirty, friendly, genuine, and an all-around wonderful person, and it was a treat to write his story. Also, Lola Donovan, who made a mistake and then punished herself far too much, and had a heck of a time coming to terms with forgiveness and acceptance. (You can read Dominic’s story in The Worth of a Penny, and Lola’s story in Saving Grace).
Thank you so much for visiting with me today!!
Keep on shining!
Jess's books are available on Amazon.
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Stay peachy Jess!