Author Interview: Sherri Fulmer Moorer

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?
The author who inspired me to become a writer is the young adult author Christopher Pike. I enjoyed his young adult murder mysteries in the early to mid 1990’s, particularly Die Softly, Road to Nowhere, and Whisper of Death. One of my all time favorite  lines is from Whisper of Death: “You have one story to tell. I have millions.” I still have those novels and reread them from time to time.

Do you like to create books for adults?
Absolutely. I love to read. It’s an excellent escape from the reality of day to day life, and I often find inspiration and ideas to deal with my reality through reading fiction. It’s an honor to contribute my own stories to the millions of titles available for readers to choose from to escape their own reality.

Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do find myself drawn to certain types at other times while I’m researching, brainstorming, or otherwise pondering my writing process. I’ve mentioned that I was in high school and college in the 90’s, so as you can guess I was a “grunge kid.” I love those old Seattle bands from the 90’s, and often listen to those while I’m in a “writing mode.”

Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?
I prefer ebooks, but I’ve recently discovered audiobooks and enjoy listening to them in the car or while doing chores and errands around the house. I occasionally read a paperback or get a hardback book from the library, but I love my Kindle and carry it everywhere.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?
Writing energizes and motivates me. It helps me process things and inspires me to look at life in new and different ways. I love creating my own worlds and inviting readers to join them. The only part of the process that I find exhausting is proofreading and formatting. That’s all technical and you really aren’t “in” the story, so it gets dull. Fortunately, I’ve built a great team of reviewers, beta readers, and a proofreader who are great at helping me shape up my stories and get them reader-ready.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me an average of two years from beginning a rough draft to publication. I write slow because I have a day job outside of the home, and I write science fiction, which gets complicated. I want to take my time to write a solid draft and make sure that I put all of the pieces together correctly to tell a solid, coherent story. I wish I could write faster, but I’d rather take my time to turn out quality content that’s the best story I can deliver to readers. They deserve nothing less!

How many hours a day do you write?
When I’m in an active “writing mode,” I average 1-2 hours, 5 days a week. My writing is done on lunch hours, after work, or on weekends. Writing full-time is my goal for retirement, but for now I accept the reality I live in and appreciate the writing time that I have.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
The plot usually comes first for me. All of my novels orginate with the question “what if?” and branch off from some idea I have of something crazy happening and building a story around it. I’m often delayed starting a rough draft because I have to consider what characters I need to fill this world, and what personality traits, knowledge, and skills they need to make it work.

What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
It means that it’s time for me to take a break and let the “muse” rest. One thing I say when I get writer’s block is “please don’t squeeze the muse.” It reminds me to let my creativity have space to breathe and grow. It is possible to burn out on anything, even things you love, and sometimes you need is a break to find a new perspective. I’ve been writing for 23 years and know that the muse will always come back. You just have to give it time.

What inspired the idea for your book?
Sadly, Broken Time was inspired by dealing with grief over my Dad’s passing from complications with chemotherapy for lung cancer. He passed two days before my birthday in August 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, which made his cancer journey all the more stressful due to lockdown and quarantine procedures. I thought the lockdown was a blessing because it allowed me to grieve in private, but it also gave me a lot of time alone to think and wonder what if we found the tumor sooner? What if he were able to get in hospitals quicker? Did COVID affect his treatment? What if the pandemic hadn’t happened and he could have been treated under normal conditions? On top of these random musings, I had my own grief to deal with, which came out as crippling anxiety. I returned to “in office” work in March 2021 an absolute, maladjusted, mess, and soon developed an ulcer. I pulled it together in the summer of 2021 to put these musings in fiction form. That, of course, led to considering how changing the past could upset the future, and not letting your tragedy define you. It took many drafts and a lot of work with help from reviewers, beta readers, and proofreaders to finally make Broken Time something suitable for readers. I’m grateful for their help, and happy to finally present this to the world.

It doesn’t stop there! Considering the flip side of how the pandemic affected life in 2020 inspired a new idea about a world in the early 2100’s dependent on AI to rebuild in the wake of an epidemic that wiped out 95% of the world population.  The characters recently introduced themselves to me and this world is coming together.

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