Blaine Moore is a household name in the SPP community. But how much do you actually know about him? In this interview we hear about his childhood, what he has been doing up until now, and his future plans. We also talks about his story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, and whether he’ll be writing more in the Engine World.
You can find Blaine here:
Hi Blaine. Good to have you here. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Then I discovered computers and realized I could make a living with those and gave up writing in college and for a few years after. Eventually, I decided to create software for runners to log their training, and snagged a great domain for that, but after spending all day in front of a computer had no interest in actually coding at night. So…I started a blog.
That was before blogs were the cool thing to do, but it got popular, I started making money with it, and I realized that I really enjoyed writing. Instead of science fiction I was now writing mostly non-fiction, specifically about my favorite sport, but it got me going again.
When I was laid off as a system administrator when my position was outsourced, I was very excited to take my Run to Win business full time. Yeah, haven’t touched that since…two days before getting laid off I’d had an idea for a book, so I spent the first couple of weeks writing that. Then an acquantance in the running community asked me for some help publishing a non-running-related book of his, and I decided to spend my time as a publisher/author services company instead.
I’m now living in a brand new home in Coastal Maine with my wife and 2.5 year old daughter, still sitting in front of a computer but not spending nearly as much time programming.
You started out very young as both a writer and an entrepreneur. Have you written anything for publication before?
I have. During my (very) recent move, I actually found one of the first magazines I was published in, back in the mid-80s. I actually got a few magazine credits throughout childhood, although my favorite was a letter to the editor in Bicycling magazine. I was working a craft fair selling my mother’s dolls and reading the magazine and found myself agreeing with every point somebody was making in a letter…then I got to the end and realized I’d written it. I had completely forgotten that I had sent it in the year before.
I also got into self-publishing very early. One of the lines of dolls my mother made were called The Homespun Tales Collection, and each doll came with a small hand-made book with a story about the doll. I wrote a few dozen shorts, which we bound and sold with the dolls, as well as a fabric and parchment omnibus of all the stories that folks could buy. The stories are pretty bad, but one of the items on my to-do list is to start a new pen name and rewrite them all into something worth reading.
Can you give us an idea of what the stories in the Homespun Tales are about?
The Homespun Tales are all on different topics; the basic premise is that we setup a story that led to a pun at the very end. For example, one is about a little boy that is a big science fiction fan and daydreams too much about old movies and is warned by his Aunt that someday he’ll get stuck in one, and then at the end he’s stuck in a world of giant Aunts. They were all very short, only 100-300 words each.
What or who are your biggest creative influences?
I was heavily influenced by the golden age of science fiction. My library of books from the 40s and 50s isn’t as extensive as it used to be but I grew up reading a lot of Campbell, Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke, and the like. One author who had the largest influence on me was probably Isaac Asimov; after he died when I was 12, I started counting the books of his that I had read, and realized how far and wide he wrote. By the time I graduated from high school I think I’d read almost ¾ of the books he had written on topics ranging from science fiction and fantasy to limericks and jokes to Shakespeare and the bible.
What is your writing environment like and is there anything you’d change about it?
I usually work at a standing work station, but have a desk nearby. I literally moved a few weeks ago as I type this, so I migrated from an unfinished basement that was much too cold (I gave up my former office so my daughter could have a bedroom when she was born) to a family room in the new house that is serving as my new office. Technically, it’s still a basement room, because on that side of the house it’s a few feet below ground, but it doesn’t feel like a basement room and there’s a full basement half a flight of stairs further down…and more importantly, it has heat. (This is an important distinction in Maine.)
I have not quite figured out the ideal setup yet. I’d like to make it so I can switch from the sitting desk to the standing desk without having to move more than my computer (if that) and I would like to clean up all the boxes piled throughout the room. So far, other than what I’ve needed to actually use my computer, the only boxes that have been unpacked were a couple of boxes of books that my wife couldn’t lift when she needed to get into some boxes that were underneath them for some of her office supplies.
You’ve had your hand in quite a lot of different things in the author community. Writing, publishing, audio books. Are you aiming to be able to only be writing for a living, or do you enjoy the various other tasks so much, that you’ll keep doing that too?
What made you decide to participate in Fiction Unboxed and write in this shared world?
I’m a big fan of the Inkwell and Realm & Sands. I found the Self Publishing Podcast around episode 7 or 8 and quickly caught up to real time, and have been involved in the community from the beginning. I was the one who came up with the name for Caveman Timecop, and I’ve narrated a number of their audiobooks (Plugged for Realm & Sands and the Terrible Scary series for Guy Incognito.)
I thought that the Fiction Unboxed idea was great and was excited for the project, and once it became an open world I knew I’d want to participate and write in it myself.
Tell us about your story in the “Beyond the Gate” anthology?
My story is very short and formulaic. It started out a bit shy of 1000 words, and after some great feedback in the beta reads and editing phases it “ballooned” to around 1300 words despite cutting a few hundred words out. It’s about a Waldron Gate guard and his relationship with his mother.
You have some books about running on Amazon. Do you also have fiction published there, besides your short story in Beyond the Gate?
I don’t currently have any fiction on Amazon outside of Beyond the Gate right now. Most of my fiction writing was when I was a kid through high school; one of my regrets after graduating college was that I didn’t get anything published other than a poem while I was at RIT. It did feel good to write the Beyond the Gate story, and while I didn’t write a single word during NaNoWriMo due to the recently planned and executed move it will definitely be a priority going forward into 2015.
What do you plan to write next?
I’ve got a few stories in mind that I want to work on. Rewriting the Homespun Tales stories will probably come first, and I also have an idea for a running story, and some vague concepts for an actual book in Engine World. My Engine World story needs quite a bit of fleshing out before I can start it though; I have half the concept, but nowhere for the idea to go. Once I decide where I want it to go I can start to flesh it out, and while it probably won’t end anything like I expect it would still be nice to have a roadmap.
Do you have a favourite genre that you’d like to write in?
As for genre, I’m not sure. When I was a kid, it would definitely have been science fiction or fantasy (leaning more towards science fiction) but I read across a lot more genres now than I used to so I don’t see it as too likely that I will write in just one small niche. I think that outside of some children’s stories that I want to write for my daughter, I’ll probably practice the craft inside Engine World since it will give me a good box within which to work that will let me short-circuit the world building phase, so my work will likely be a bit more fantastical than not.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me, even though you still haven’t finished unpacking in your new home. It was great!
Have you picked up your copy of Beyond the Gate? Blaine is one of the 23 authors who have contributed a short story for this wonderful anthology. You can learn more about both the book and the authors behind it on beyondthegate.wordpress.com.