Louise Moeri is the author of a number of books for children, including Star Mother’s Youngest Child and Save Queen of Sheba. She lives in California. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
Anything you’d like to share with your readers?
I’m glad we have readers. I am a reader. Since we can’t talk to everyone in the universe, it’s the only means we have of using all the assets we have.
What is your worst scar? How did you get it? (Mentally or physically)
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I didn’t choose my genre. I fell into it. I knew I was a ‘writer’ but didn’t know what I should write. When I got a desperation job at the public library, I found–for the very first time in my life–children’s books! (I grew up without them) and having found them, I thought–“Aha! Only a few words–I can do that!” As time went by, I got a lot smarter, having discovered they have to be the right words.
What genre do you avoid writing?
I refuse to touch anything resembling either sex or science fiction. The first has been done way too much and I feel that it’s better to live in the present with what we have to work with than to waste time on make-believe. If you were in a boat in the middle of a lake and it started to leak, would you rather have a Harry Potter book or a book on how to fix boats?
How do you recharge your creative batteries?
I have never recharged my batteries. I never had a chance to. There has always been something else pressing that needs to be done, so I just move on.
Can you tell us about the book you’re working on? Is it coming easily or have you run into road blocks?
I never talk about what I’m working on if I can possibly avoid it. Whatever it is, there will always be road-blocks and open stretches.
Is any material in your books based on real life experiences or purely imagination?
All my books are based on real life–my own. If I have a common theme–it’s survival.
Planner or a procrastinator? Example?
I’m a planner. Minute by minute. Sometimes–second by second.
How many words have you written in one writing session?
I usually turn out something like 500 words before I come to a halt. Occasionally it will be more, but I spend some time on going over what I’ve done.
Are you a person who makes the bed in the morning?
I always make my bed in the morning. It’s the ONLY household job I get done promptly.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I published my first book back in the golden days of writing when you sent your manuscript to the publisher you picked out of an address book. Or was called “over the transom”. That means that you have no agent to offer your stuff. You just fling it out there and hope that someone at the publisher’s office will like it. I was very happy to have several books published this way, though somewhere along the line I did finally connect with an agent. The challenge with the ‘over the transom’ method, of course, is that you have no guarantee that anyone will even look at it.
What is your very favorite part of the day?
I like early morning because it is a Beginning. And I like the last hour of the day because it means that the day’s work is finished.
What was the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t recall ever getting any advice as far as writing was concerned. There was no one around to advise me–I was strictly on my own–sink or swim.
How did you celebrate your first book being published? Has the excitement worn off with each book you publish?
I never celebrated publishing any book. Except for my children, my mother and my friends who were probably grateful that now I could get back to my regular chores, I don’t recall anything resembling a celebration. I take that back–on one occasion I bought myself some glass candlesticks!
Best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Best writing advice I ever got was from Ann Durrell, an editor at Dutton. She told me that any successful sequel has to be twice as good as the first book–and that has kept me from ever writing sequels.
If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them?
I would never attend an opera because I am more interested in ‘stories’ than ‘music’. I would be the guy on the street hawking the tickets to the highest bidder.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I just had one released called, “Or The Horse May Talk” and have one in publishing process called “Why To Garden” but I’m not sure of the release date yet. I’m always working on something new.
Are there certain characters you would like to return to?
No–I would never go back to a character. See response about sequels above!
Who was the hardest character to develop?
I never developed a character in my life. They show up in my head knocking on the inside of my skull, demanding to be let out.
What has been the toughest blow to your professional career?
I am a paper and pencil writer and I took my biggest ‘hit’ when things went electronic. It is very difficult for an antique like me to learn (overnight) an entirely new language. How would you like to wake up some day and find that everyone spoke words you didn’t know, every appliance in your house ran on new rules, you couldn’t drive your car and stores, banks, etc. all had been transformed and you had no idea how to function? If my wonderful daughter had not rescued me I would be sitter here in a pile of grubby, rumpled paper and you would have no reason to interview me.
Ever participated in a parade? What did you do?
Parade? I can’t think why I would ever find myself in a parade.
Any advice to share with aspiring writers?
Aspiring writers should write. Don’t talk about it. Do it.
Would you rather plan a party or attend one? Why?
Parties? Neither. I love to ‘visit’ and hear about what people are doing. That’s it.
Of all your books, what was your favorite chapter to write?
I’ve loved all my books, but I guess the one that made me happiest was my newest, OR THE HORSE MAY TALK. The last chapter brings not only hope, but also ‘the hell with it and I’ll just keep on keeping on’ attitude!
Do you collect anything?
For many years I collected music boxes and was given many by my family. I find something magic in them–so small, and yet they sing! I guess that’s really my philosophy–no matter how big you are, sign anyway!
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I am not a ‘hot’ writer and publishers have never knocked on my door. (I write about real people and real events and most people don’t really want to think about things like that.) Happily, some people have liked my stuff when I finally got them to look at it. As I said, at one time I had an agent and that was a big help. At the present time my daughter handles my marketing and website.
When was the last time you went bowling? Was it fun or total disaster?
Bowling? Are you joking? I never play games.
Do you come up with your book titles?
I don’t ‘come up’ with titles. Most of the time they arrive with the first paragraph–and often–ahead of it.
What is the easiest part of the writing process? Hardest?
The easiest part of writing is getting a pencil and clipboard and sitting there and letting the words pour out of the pencil. The hardest part is chaining myself to the computer so somebody can make something useful out of all this stuff.
If today was your last day to live, what would you do? What would you say?
If I was told that this would be my last day–I have a plan. I would spend the day writing to and phoning all my children and grandchildren and telling them that they have made my life full of joy and hope and gladness. I’m glad I have been able to write–but the thing that made my life perfect was to be a wife, mother and grandmother. I have never had much ‘worldly’ goods and never will, but I am rich beyond compare with my family. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.