Yep, that’s right folks, another double posting day. And it’s fitting that i’m working my way through a series of blogs on interview questions…and I have an interview. I hop in the transporter and pick up this week’s featured author in Australia to discover he wants to go just down the coastline to Noosa Beach. He says it’s the best beach in the world and I have to give it a high mark. Sun, trees and people talking in a cool accent. lol.
Anyway, on with the interview. I have a feeling this make take a while.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I am a husband, a father to two young sons, and an avid book reader. I love browsing for books in old-fashioned bookstores and more recently online where I find it easier to track down early novels from authors I love. I live in Highett, which is a small suburb near the bay in Melbourne, Australia where I can indulge my passion for the ocean.
If I am not buried in a book I want to be body-surfing. Being Australian, I have grown up in the surf. Main beach Noosa which I mentioned above, is my favourite. My wife is American which also means frequent trips to Hawaii where our extended family can meet halfway and I can explore more beaches.
I also have a strong interest in science and emerging technologies. I have a science degree and worked for nearly a decade with Australia’s largest scientific research organisation where I was involved in a variety of fascinating projects and was fortunate enough to meet some brilliant individuals.
Melbourne is an eclectic, vibrant city and I am certainly not the most fascinating person in it. However I do have an interesting background in science which I try to bring to my stories. I am also a keen traveler and have explored some fascinating, extremely remote parts of the world. I have explored Australia and backpacked through Europe, South America and Alaska. I kept journals during those trips which were actually the first things I had ever written. I still have them, hidden away in the bottom of a bookshelf.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
People would be surprised not that I am an author, but for how long I have wanted to be an author. It is a secret I have kept for a long time. Even close friends only found out about my passion for writing when my book Dark Cure was published. I kept quiet about it initially because it seemed an unrealistic dream. I was also busy building a professional career where my focus was expected to be on achieving corporate goals, not on writing.
Keeping quiet about my writing was something I grew accustomed to and it has been a big adjustment in mindset for me to be as open about it as I am now. But it has certainly been a positive one and now I love talking about it to anyone who will listen.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as a rock star?
I have never been able to sing which killed any dreams of being a rock star. But my urge to write was a natural transition from my passion for reading. For as long as I can remember I have loved reading a wide variety of books. As a child I read anything I could get my hands on such as the Willard Price adventure series, every Enid Blyton story, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Doctor Who―basically anything that fired my imagination.
I grew up in Australia, where a family vacation usually meant a long car ride. Sometimes we would spend days in the car before we arrived at our destination. I usually passed that time glued to a book, when not arguing with my two sisters! When I ran out of my own books to read, my dad would lend me one of his Wilbur Smith, Robert Ludlum or Jeffrey Archer novels. When I finished those, I would stare out the window daydreaming, making up my own stories.
Those long car rides, nose buried in a book, were what I believe inspired me to one day want to write my own.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
Tough question! There are so many with whom I would love to share dinner and pick their brains on their writing process and how they launched their writing careers. First seated at the table would be Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, co-authors of the Agent Pendergast series and one of my all-time favourite books, Relic. These guys are ingenious and daring in how they throw themselves into their research for their books. I saw on their very entertaining website that they were once escorted by police from Hart Island in New York, a restricted location used as the city’s potter’s field. They used a boat to sneak in under cover of darkness to explore. They seem interesting characters whose wit comes through in their books and I’m sure they would have some great stories to tell.
Next would be James Rollins. I have a passion for books that weave science with gripping action and adventure of the style he writes. He also managed to juggle being a vet while an aspiring author, a journey I would enjoy talking to him about.
Obviously with my style of writing I would have the late great Michael Crichton seated at the head of the table. All of his books are on my all-time favourite list and he is one of the inspirations behind my own writing.
Gillian Flynn, Lisa See, Nelson DeMille and Frederick Forsyth are must-have additions to the table simply because I love their books.
Finally I would invite Adrian McKinty. When I am not writing thrillers I like to read mysteries and he is the author of some terrific locked-room mysteries. He is another whose cleverness and wit comes through in his books and would bring some fascinating stories about growing up in Northern Ireland, a background reflected in his Sean Duffy novels.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
I think my book, Dark Cure, is a great beach or airport read with its fast-paced action and fascinating setting. Immediate feedback from readers was that they couldn’t put my book down. The most humbling review I have received describes it as ‘First Blood’meets Michael Crichton.
Dark Cure is an action thriller about Karl Shepherd, an ageing former U.S. Ranger and his search for a cure for his daughter’s rare medical condition. This has led him to a remote biomedical research facility in the Amazon rainforest where a team of scientists has discovered a drug that might save her. But before he can celebrate they discover a rival drug company wants their miracle cure. Their intent: to use the cure to create an army of cognitively enhanced super-soldiers, launching a new age of genetic warfare―soldiers now closing in fast with orders to steal the cure and kill everyone at the research facility. The scientists’ survival depends entirely on Shepherd’s military training. But confronting him is the most technologically advanced military force ever assembled, led by a ruthlessly efficient mercenary.
I loved writing this book. The idea for it came to me while I was in the Amazon rainforest indulging my passion for travel. The sheer remoteness and claustrophobic nature of the rainforest really struck me while living there and I hope come through in the story. It subsequently involved extensive research which is something else I enjoy as it builds on my background and career in science.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I developed the plot for Dark Cure while living in the Amazon rainforest with a team of naturalists. It was one of those ‘what if’ moments which form the basis of my stories. In this case, we were so far from any help that I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if something went wrong. We were too isolated to get help from the outside world. We were on our own and would have to solve any problem ourselves. But how would such a group cooperate? Would it be a ‘The Coral Island’ scenario, or more ‘Lord of the Flies’? Personally I find Lord of the Flies more interesting so that was the path my story took.
Once I have the essence of what the story will be about, I spend a lot of time profiling my characters. What are their motivations, what goals are they striving to achieve, what are their mannerisms, strengths and flaws. How will they react in certain circumstances? I want to get to know them so well that they take on a life of their own during writing. I then adopt the ‘ROW’ process―Research, Outline, Write.
I like to visit a place before I include it as a location in my story. I find the feelings I experience in a particular location help get me into the mindset of my characters and what they are feeling. The Amazon rainforest for example has its own powerful presence and was virtually a character in its own right in Dark Cure.
I speak to experts as much as possible when researching the science I bring to my stories. As I mentioned, I worked for a large scientific research organisation. I wrote Dark Cure while working there and was able to speak to many brilliant scientists to further my own research. This helped inform the science and technology contained within Dark Cure.
When I have finished with my research, I try to make my outline as extensive and detailed as possible. This is where I identify and eliminate weaknesses in plot and character. This is a crucial, time consuming part of writing for me. I continually do a lot of research into how successful authors outline. I found a great website that contains the outlines for books such as Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Dan Brown and James Patterson have also given great interviews on this part of their writing process which have helped inform how I do mine.
When my outline is finished and it is time to write, my schedule is simple―do it whenever I have the chance. If I am on a roll and the words are flowing, then I keep going for as long as I can for you never know when a drought may set in bringing with it the dreaded writer’s block.
Each day, when I sit down to write, the first thing I do is re-read what I wrote the previous day. This forms part of my editing process and gets me back into the tone of the story and mood of my characters. I edit my own work after completing the first draft of a manuscript. I then put the manuscript away for about six weeks and try not to think of it. When I pick it up after that extended break, I read it in as few sittings as I can. This is when I identify areas that need more work, including any potential plot or character weaknesses. I also do a more extensive edit.
After this reread and edit, it is time to pass it on to beta readers. In my case that is a circle of people I trust to provide honest, objective feedback and aren’t afraid to provide constructive criticism.
Then it is back to more rewriting and editing. Dark Cure involved several rewrites before the plot was focused enough. Finally, after this point, I will send it out for professional editing. After which I will polish the story until finally I am satisfied it is ready.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Go for a walk! That has always been my go to method for teasing out a story. Let your mind wander and sift through all the possibilities of where the story might head. And keep a note pad and pen by your bed because you never know when a great idea will strike.
But that is my method and doesn’t work for everyone. We all have different creative ‘spaces’ that help the creative juices flow. I suggest visiting the websites and reading some of the many excellent books on writing by established authors that are out there, where they talk about their own process and inspirations. On Writing by Stephen King is one of the best.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is simple: get out and experience it. Put the phone down. Take a break from social media. Explore real places, near and far, speak to real people and make your own mind up on things that matter. And most of all―enjoy it. It’s short.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I am currently writing my second novel, also an action thriller, this time set in a secret underground biomedical research facility. This book has been more research intensive than Dark Cure but I am about halfway through it now and loving every word.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
I can be found on Facebook and Instagram. My website cameronkmooreauthor.com will be up and running shortly. Thank you very much Stephen. It has been a pleasure participating in your Around the Globe With series!