MD Moore is the author of Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy, a family saga that spotlights the adult son of a paranoid schizophrenic mother. He has worked as a therapist with the most chronically mentally ill patients in Washington State’s largest psychiatric hospital. He lives in Gig Harbor, Washington with his wife and two teenage sons.
What’s inside the mind of a fiction author who wants to tell the story of one particular family? Curiosity. I’ve worked with criminals, the mentally ill, families in crisis, veterans with PTSD and the one constant they’ve all shared is family. I’ve always been curious of the effect that family has on how one turns out. I have two boys who have been raised in the same house with the same parents, have gone to the same schools, camps, trips, etc, but they could not be more different from each other. I’ve known people who’ve been raised in horrendous circumstances and turned out fairly well and I’ve known those who’ve been raised in great homes that have lead very difficult lives. Why? I’ve always been curious.
What is so great about being an author? One of the coolest things about being a writer is that by keeping pen to paper, the dream of living the true “writer’s life” is always alive. Maybe I’ll never be the next Pulitzer winning novelist, but maybe I will. With writing, I can always grow and get better and have something tangible in the end to show for it. I’ve gotten better at golf the older I’ve become (though not good enough to brag), but I can be assured that I’ll never be good enough to make a living at it. With writing, I find myself day dreaming about how good I could become with hard work. I’m looking at the edge of fifty and writing is actually the one thing I’m still getting significantly better at the older I get and believe that I’ll continue to get better.
When do you hate it? When I start a new novel, I like to sit down every single day and write until I have the rough draft done. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes I have to write, I write every day. I’m about the least morning person I know, yet with my work schedule and the responsibilities of the kids, early morning is the only time of the day that I can guarantee that I’ll have to write because no one else in my home is a morning person either. During those dark, early winter mornings when the moon is still floating around and I’m half dead writing… that’s when I hate being a writer.
What is a regular writing day like for you? Like I said, early morning is my writing time because it’s the only time of day that I can be guaranteed quiet and I am definitely someone who needs quiet to write my best. I’ve never understood how people can write with music going or other distractions. I write for an hour or so or longer if I’m really in a groove and then I get ready for work. If I find a little time in the evenings, I’ll sneak a little writing time in. My indulgence is sleeping in on Sunday then driving down to this really picturesque spot on the water by my house and write in my car. I’ve got my cup of coffee and there’s usually a belted kingfisher singing at me with his staccato call. The Puget Sound is so quiet – it’s my zen spot for writing.
Do you think authors have big egos? Do you? How do you know? I’m sure that some authors have big egos, as do people in just about every other profession. Most of the authors I’ve met are like me – just lucky to have caught a break. My good fortune in getting published has not been lost on me. I’ve yet to strike gold, but I at least have my pan in the water. If I ever sift and find gold, you can ask me again about my ego. The whole process of trying to get published was very humbling and I like to think that no matter whether I find success or not, I’ll never take for granted what it took to get me where I am today.
How do you handle negative reviews? Fine I think. I’m still new enough in this game to be grateful that someone is reading my book. That said, I haven’t had an awful review yet. I do know that I will and I like to think that I’ll be ok with it. I know there are very well regarded books that I didn’t care for and I know my book will be that for someone else. I believe it’s that diversity that puts the color in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author? It’s still surprising to me how cool people think it is that I’ve been published. To someone who hasn’t worked to get published or seen behind the curtain, there is still a magic to the whole thing. For those of us who’ve been busting tail for years to get someone, anyone to notice, the magic is gone as far as publishing goes. The only actual magic that still exists is in the writing itself. Sometimes I read what I wrote and have no recollection of writing it. I find it hard to believe that I actually wrote something that I’m so proud of. But it’s still cool when someone is really impressed that you’ve published a novel. Even though I’ve done it, I’m still impressed by others if they tell me they’ve been published because I know what it took for them to get that done.
What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break? When I start a novel, I never take a day off, even if I don’t feel like writing. For me one day off can easily lead to two then to three. I force myself to write the book in order to get it done. Once the first draft is complete, I usually put it in a drawer for a month or two before pulling it out to edit it. I read that in the Stephen King book On Writing and it has worked well for me.
Any writing quirks? Not really. I just have to be comfortable and be someplace quiet.
Have you worked on your novel intoxicated? What was the result? That would generally mean that I’d start drinking at about 6 am and as yet, I’m not a famous enough author to have that as a problem. Maybe when I hit the bestseller list I’ll give it a shot, but no, to date, I’ve never written intoxicated.
What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby? That wouldn’t bother me. First and foremost, I do this for me. I don’t take a lot of time for myself, but when I do, I want it to mean something to me and writing provides the mental challenge that I crave.
Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate? To a point, yes. I obviously love it first and foremost. When I hate it is when I feel a prisoner to it, like I just can’t take a break. I need that accountability, but it can be tough. The other aspect I don’t like about writing is that no matter how good you get your manuscript, there is always something that can be better. Even when I read my book after it was published, I found passages or words that I wished I had changed. Not a lot, but enough for me to question whether I should have edited it one more time. An agent once told me that eventually you have to let it out, that it will never be perfect, that you can’t hold onto it forever.
Do you think success as an author must be linked to money? Absolutely not. Making money would be great, but ultimately it’s about what you leave behind, what you leave as your legacy. When I die, whatever money or possessions I’ve accumulated in my life will be meaningless. My books will live forever, published or not. My children, grandchildren, etc. can look up and find my book a century from now. Maybe my great great great grandchild will take a beaten and battered copy of my first novel to show and tell. He won’t bring a bank receipt or a picture of my boat. That thought makes me smile and that I would consider a success.
Leave us with some words of wisdom. I’ll say what I said to my friend on his 50th birthday. Do something meaningful with your life. It doesn’t have to be writing, but do something. Be able to look back on your life when you’re on your deathbed and smile that you accomplished something great, at least to you. God knows that I’ll never be considered the great American author, but I’ll forever be proud that I was able to get a novel published. I’m glad it took me so long and it was such hard work; it would have meant less if it was too easy. Step away from the TV and the computer and do something great. You will be old before you know it (God willing) and before you run out of the energy it takes to learn a language or an instrument or run a marathon – whatever – get off your rear and do something. We all have a passion - hidden or exposed – follow it and make it happen!
Title: Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy
Genre: Fiction/Family Drama
Author: M.D. Moore
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
An extraordinary debut novel, Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy introduces protagonist Harmon Burke. The son of a schizophrenic mother, Harmon is haunted by three decades of his mother’s “un-cool” craziness and the mistakes of his own past. Caught somewhere between his past and present, Harmon is trying to navigate and survive the detritus of his life—a life littered with personal failures, strained relationships and life-threatening health issues.
When Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy opens, Harmon’s mother Cece is on her way back to the psychiatric hospital after another psychotic episode—an episode that nearly lands Harmon in jail for his third and final strike before lifelong incarceration. Landing an unusual lucky break, Harmon cashes in a literal “get out of jail free card” with one caveat: in order to avoid serving jail time, he promises to seek help for his issues.
Harmon starts to see Boyd Freud, an eccentric ex-convict and unorthodox counselor with a wry sense of humor, and a penchant for strong coffee and unusual theories. Somehow, the no-nonsense and rough-around-the-edges Boyd manages to convince Harmon to confront the trials that have dogged his past and present. But everything changes when Harmon’s high school sweetheart Emmy shows up on his doorstep. Pleading for help escaping her abusive husband Frank, Harmon’s childhood nemesis and lifelong adversary, Emmy reopens a chapter in Harmon’s life he thought long closed. But Frank—a cruel and vindictive bully intent on righting a past wrong—will prove a dangerous and complicating force for Harmon and his family.
With Boyd’s help, Harmon begins to make sense of the past and heal. But in order to help Emmy, find peace with his mentally-deteriorating mother and discover redemption from his past and current failures, Harmon will have to return to the trials of his youth to find answers and discover truths long buried. Along the way, Harmon will realize that making sense of the past might lead him to see the possibility of a future he’d given up on long ago.
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