James A. Moore’s Seven Forges was one of the books last year that left me rather conflicted. I really enjoyed the story after having a rough start with it and despite some irking elements, yet the second half was so exciting and Moore left such a huge hook at the end of the book that I couldn’t help but want to read its sequel The Blasted Lands. That book is due to be published next week and today I’m pleased to be able to bring you an author query with James A Moore. A review for The Blasted Lands will be up later next month.
Let’s start with the basics. Who is James A. Moore?
James A. Moore is a writer who’s been focused mostly on the horror/urban fantasy genre for years. He’s worked in comic books, in role playing games and in novels and short stories. Lately he’s expanded his horizons a bit.
For those of my readers who have missed Seven Forges, how would you introduce them to the world of Fellein?
The world of Fellein is primarily a very old and well-established empire that is falling into stagnation. There have been no wars worth noticing and most of the culture has grown complacent over the last few hundred years. There is magic, but it’s not without a price and the people of the empire have grown, frankly, soft. They are unprepared when the run across a new race and a new potential threat.
In Seven Forges I was completely enthralled by the Sa’ba Taalor and their culture. Could you tell us more about your inspiration for them?
One of the terms I heard many times growing up, from different sources, was “You have to have faith.” I decided to push that to the absolute extremes. What if you lived in a culture where that adage was true? I mean really, seriously true. Not just a notion, but a simple fact of life? I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a culture that not only believes deeply in faith but in this case also interacts with their gods regularly. The Sa’ba Taalor are that race. There is no doubt in their gods. They have a deep foundation of faith not only because they are raised to believe in their gods but because they KNOW their gods are real. They’re faith directly affects their lives, for better or worse and they are devout to the point of fanaticism.
There were hints throughout Seven Forges that the geography of the world in which the book is set isn’t fixed. Distances change and mountains can just disappear. Will we find out more about this in The Blasted Lands?
More hints than anything else, but there is a reason for the changing landscape and it will be made clear.
One of the things that stood out to me in the writing of Seven Forges was the snappy dialogue you write. Is that something you learned in your comics work or did you develop that skill in a different way?
Well, first, thank you for that. That makes me very happy. It means I’m doing it right. Honestly, I believe that characters should talk as realistically as possible, even in a fantasy setting. I usually think of people I know and use them as a sort of guideline for certain characters. Each should have a unique personality and each should react with others differently, because most people in the real world are that way.
You’ve written a ton of novels over the entire scope of speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, science fiction. Do you read as widely as well? Or do you have a favourite genre type?
I love reading. I honestly do. I also firmly believe in reading good writing, no matter what the genre. I read fantasy voraciously for years and then I stepped away from it because I wasn’t reading anything that stood out for me anymore. And then, one day, I thought about what I’d like to read in fantasy had decided I’d try writing it.
What’s next for you? Are you working on another Seven Forges novel? Do you have anything else in the pipeline, such as convention appearances?
I’m plotting another Seven Forges novel. I have a weird western in the works called Boomtown. I am plotting another fantasy series with a co-author of mine. I am working on a crime novel. Straight crime this time instead of mixed genres. I’ve plotted out a young adult apocalyptic series. I’ve got a sort of weird steampunk-fusion thing I’ve been playing with. I’m 10,000 words into a science fiction apocalypse novel that has sold to Earthling publications and I just finished the edits on Alien: Sea Of Sorrows, with is directly tied into Tim Lebbon’s Alien: Out Of The Shadows and Christopher Golden’s Alien: River of Pain. All three of them are, of course, tied into the ALIEN universe from 20th Century Fox. They’re a lot of fun and very twisted.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
I’m passionate a bout a lot of things. Mostly my family and friends and the hobbies I have like movies and, surprise, surprise, books.
As a book reviewer, I’m all about the book enabling; I can’t help but want to make people read all the good books out there. But I can always use help. What are your top recommendations of books we should look out for in the coming months?
Christopher Golden has a novel coming out called Tin Men. Trust me on this: it’s going to be amazing. If you haven’t read Wesley Chu’s The Lives of Tao and The Deaths of Tao, you need to. There’s a great new crime novella called White Knight by Bracken MacLeod that is spectacular and well worth the read. The second anthology in the V-Wars series edited by Jonathan Maberry is due out soon. I’m biased as I’m in the first and the second books but I think they’re absolutely delightful. And, of course, there’s this book called The Blasted Lands….
Finally, I have to stay true to my roots and ask a librarian question to finish off with: Do you shelve your books alphabetically, by genre or do you have an ingenious system?
Currently most of my books are in boxes. I have no shelves to put them on since I moved. It’s a sad thing. But I preferred to alphabetize by author and call it done.
Bio (from the Angry Robot website): James A Moore is the author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Deeper, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels Blind Shadows and the forthcoming Seven Forges.
He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.
The author cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over twenty role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including Berlin by Night, Land of 1,000,000 Dreams and The Get of Fenris tribe. He also penned the White Wolf novels Vampire: House of Secrets and Werewolf: Hellstorm.
Moore’s first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print.
He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Meet him on his blog.