Interview // Author Timothy Moonlight
What inspired you to write?
For me, writing is an internal drive. I wrote my first novel when I was 15, but never did anything with it afterward. However, from that point on in my life, I knew my purpose. My about page goes into a lot more detail (www.motivationbymoonlight.com/about/), but this has been a life-long journey for me. Now, that I’m actually writing again after so many years, I will never go back to a place of inactivity. We can accomplish so much in our lives if we apply ourselves. It took me finally getting fed up with not pursuing my dream and avoiding activities that were non-productive in my life to begin this journey. When I finally put my foot down and said “enough”, then I began to make progress.
What’s your favorite thing you have written?
This is a hard one and several things come to mind. There are several poems I have written in the past, “Journey”, “A Child’s Plea”, “Clinging”, and “Next to You” immediately come to mind. As far as blog posts on my website, my favorite is “Leap of Faith”. The Last Word, my novel, has a ton of scenes that I enjoy. What makes writing beautiful is that it comes from the heart. When you really write something that resonates with you, you’re really showing a little bit of yourself. Expressing your thoughts, sharing your emotions, or even a memory, can make a powerful impact on readers.
What’s your favorite thing that someone else has written?
Seize the Night by Dean Koontz holds a dear place in my heart. The writing is superb and he is a masterful writer. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, but you’ll have to start with Fear Nothing, since it is a sequel to that book. I think the setting makes a serious impact throughout the novel along with the characters. It’s an overall great story.
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
Just because the publishing world has changed with the ability to self-publish doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of hard work involved. You are responsible for everything. This is fine with me, but know this up front. Not only do you need a great story, you need an editor, you need to be completely dedicated to your craft and continually making yourself better. I spend hours each week learning grammar again. Yes, starting over is hard, but you have to better yourself continually. However, I love it. I love most things about this business. You are the writing team, you are the marketing team, you are everything. When you need help, be certain to ask. There are plenty of people who are willing to help along the way. Most importantly, do it only if you love it. You have to love what you do in life. If you’re in a career that you don’t enjoy, then you are wasting your time and doing a disservice to yourself. You only have one life and time is the most precious commodity. Find what you are passionate about in life and do it with all your heart and your life will be full of life and color.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. It’s taken a long time, over two decades, to go after my dream, but I’m finally doing what I’m passionate about. When I know that I’ve touched someone with what I’ve written, then that makes everything worth it. I want to touch lives with my writing. I want people to be excited when they know I’ve got something else coming out. Their excitement is my excitement!
How did you come up with the idea for the novel?
This novel was borne out of my own personal loss of my father in 2011. It’s interesting because when I started writing The Last Word, I had no idea my own sense of loss would enshroud the book, but if you look hard enough, anyone who knows me will be able to see that, in a way, the story chronicles my own bout with grief. Anyone who has lost a loved one, someone who is irreplaceable in their life, will be able to identify with what Claire is going through in the book. The story doesn’t stay in a bleak mood as you will recognize after the characters are introduced.
What does the writing process look like for you?
Great question! It is a jumbled mess! Lol, but it’s a lot of fun. I work a full-time job like most writers and like most writers sometimes you come home and you’re tired, but you have to write! Writing has never been a chore to me. It’s really about having a goal and sticking with it. A word to a sentence to a paragraph to a page that eventually turns into a novel. I don’t know everything that will happen in the novel before I’m done with it. Some items I know I want to happen in the book, but a large portion of The Last Word wasn’t written to a specific plan until after the 40% mark. Other things just fell into place and as I’m sure other writers will agree, some things I changed during the course of the book.
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
I used to wake up in the middle of the night with ideas for novels. I expect that will come back to me as long as I keep myself engaged in the process. That didn’t happen with The Last Word. Truth be told, I didn’t know what I had until it was almost half-way completed. I believe in the future of my writing I will have more of an outline, but I’ll also keep an open mind with regards to the characters and try to give them a will of their own. If you want your story to take an unexpected turn, then let them make the decisions.
What about writing a novel do you enjoy the most?
All of it. Writing a novel takes patience, dedication, and strategy. I have always done well with these elements. I enjoy thinking through situations and how different scenarios play out. I love to plan surprises for my fans with at least one big “I never saw that coming!” moment. I believe The Last Word delivers this excitement several times.
What is the most challenging part of writing a novel?
Like most writers, I would say ensuring your plot lasts. The middle of a novel can be terrifying to writers. This is because they may not have the content to carry a novel to the end. Haven’t we all read novels where there is a lot of filler? I never want to do that. I may take some time, in the beginning, to introduce you to the characters and their world, but when that has been completed – lookout, the thriller train is chugging down the track. All aboard! If the train doesn’t have the steam to get moving, then my book isn’t ready for release.
What are you working on writing now?
My next novel will revisit the 2nd book I began to write in college, but couldn’t finish due to a full-time job along with my class load. So, there is a ton of history between the origin of the story and where I’ll actually go with it. I wouldn’t say that too much will change between what I’d envisioned back then and what I think of the idea now, but you never know. When I’m writing, I find myself adding to the story in ways that make sense. A thriving, engaging plot means the world to me and it has to resonate with the reader. My first mission in writing is always to think about the reader. Will they enjoy this? Does it resonate? Those types of questions are very important for me to answer.
Thank you, Timothy, for stopping by and chatting with us about you, your writing style, and your latest release, The Last Word!
Timothy Moonlight is a suspense author who wrote his first novel when he was a teenager. Before college, he started a second novel, but his full-time job and dedication to a degree held him back from completing it. He sat on both of these novels for more than two decades. While his life has been filled with accomplishments, he has always maintained the desire to become a published author. In July 2018, he finally put that desire into action and began penning a new novel, The Last Word. With the ability to self-publish now readily available to any author, he wrote the first draft, began the editing process and hired an editor. Between the two of them, they went through the novel thirteen times, making revisions. He is now dedicating all of his free time to writing his next novel and making a go at a writing career. He firmly believes in multiple twists in his stories, some of which he hopes his fans never see coming. He is also passionate about developing strong, relatable characters with whom his fans can’t help but fall in love.
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