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Tonya Moore credits her mother as the catalyst for her interest in the Sci-fi and fantasy genres.  After an epiphany at age 12, Tonya decided she could write the fantastical stories she loved reading.  An intriguing and exciting concept for her, to be able to create the worlds she often visited in books.

Tonya's stories evoke a sense of wonder and dread at the same time. She paints pictures with her words that both terrify and challenge what we believe to be true.


When did you discover your love of writing?
I had an epiphany when I was twelve years old. I always laugh when I think back on that moment. I'd always been an avid reader/story-lover. One day, I was in total geek-mode and complaining to a classmate about some book I'd been reading and how awful it was. Most likely out of sheer exasperation, she said that if I knew so much about books I should write them myself. That I could write a story--I could make something fictional happen--it was a lightning-strike kind of realization. Of course, I probably would have arrived at that same conclusion on my own, eventually but considering my circumstances at the time... who knows when that might have finally happened?

Why this genre?

I'm thankful to my mother for this. I've always known her to be a great fan of Science fiction and Fantasy. I doubt I would have had any exposure to the works of writers such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Anne Mccaffrey or Sci-Fi Tv series such as Star Trek TNG, were it not for the fact that she made her interest in them known to me. These were the stories and ideas that really stirred me up inside, fueled my imagination and continue to do so--even to this day.

Were you encouraged by family and friends to pursue your writing?
Not particularly. I'm afraid I've always been regarded as an oddity by my relatives. It's always been made quite clear that the people I call family mostly think I'm either stupid or crazy. Considering my own personality, I can't exactly present a solid argument against that impression. This is strangely liberating, as that certain sense of alienation is something I can expect, regardless of the nature of my endeavors.

Do you discover your characters, or do they discover you?
I'd say it's a little bit of both. There are times when I get these very vivid and detailed flashes of a certain character and a story just falls into place around him or her...or It. At other times, you could say they gradually reveal themselves to me and evolve as the story progresses. Some characters just show up out of the blue-- smack dab in the middle or near the end of a novel. Sometimes, I find them impossible to dismiss and end up having to re-work the plot to accommodate them.

What authors, artists, musicians, influence your work?  Are you an avid reader?  Who are your favorite authors?
I often feel that the influence of writers such as Ray Bradbury, Anne Mccaffrey, Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov is glaringly apparent in my work. Some of Ray Bradbury's stories leave me with a sense of awe. The way he can inject suspense and heightened emotion into even the smallest moments and still engender a sense of wonder and endless speculation about human nature and the universe, is nothing short of amazing. Have you ever read "A Sound of Thunder"? I still shiver as I read that last line--every single time!

When I wrote "The Last Archangel" I was truly worried that the story might be thought to be too similar to "The Ship Who Sang" by Anne Mccaffrey. At the same time, I was seriously driven to pay homage to one of the great writers whose work has affected me so greatly.
Off the top of my head, I'd name Boris Vallejo, Torvenius, Salvatore Dali, Heise and a certain fey-friend (who shall remain nameless, as she prefers) as individuals whose art has inspired my writing in one way or another. The same can be said as far as music goes. Usually, it's more like a certain part of a song suddenly captures my attention and that feeling creeps into a piece I'm writing. Susumu Hirasawa's music probably has the greatest effect on me and by extension, on my writing. The first time I heard "Rotation" and "Philosopher's Propeller", I was astounded. His music is highly cerebral, transporting and is always a boon to my writing.
I am an avid reader but I never quite manage to find as much time as I'd like for reading these days. I have far too many "favorite" authors to list. I love a wide-array of genres so honestly, the list just goes on and on. The most recent additions include Patricia Briggs, with her Mercy Thompson series and Devin Monk--I've only read "Magic to the Bone", but I'm definitely hooked already.
There are quite a few online & indie authors whose work I enjoy reading very much. Alexandra Wolfe writes feminist LGBT Science Fiction & Speculative Fiction that always  manages to move me. Jeremy Shipp's unsteady, yet sharp brand of horror is always thoroughly entertaining. Made in DNA's erotic science fiction/fantasy is nimbly witty and tongue-in-cheek but something I'd only recommend for the mature-minded reader. PasswordIncorrect is pretty much pioneering what could easily be dubbed as the "Mobile Fiction" movement. I'm looking forward to finding out what direction his endeavors will take.

How much time do you dedicate to marketing your work?
I do use social networking as a means to get the word out about my various interests and pieces that I post online but that's about it. I spend more time on sites like Twitter for the diversion rather than advertising, to be honest. My efforts are mainly directed toward maintaining an active presence in the web writing community, while working to improve my writing. I'd love to believe that my work might be seriously marketable someday...
When do you find the time to write?
Sometimes it's hit or miss. My current circumstances aren't really conducive to creative living. Still, there are days when come hell or high water, I feel I MUST write. When that happens, I MAKE time and a place to write. At the very least, I try to set aside at least one hour each day to write something. I recently re-started my Daily Drabble personal challenge, which really propels me creatively, from one day to the next.
What has been your worst experience as a writer?
When I was sort of fresh out of high school (haha - eons ago) in Jamaica, I attended an award ceremony for a poetry contest that had been open to entrants from anywhere in the country. While not expecting to have won anything, I looked forward to being able to meet other people who were passionate about writing for the first time. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to be taken aback at being ridiculed and lambasted by a bunch of pendants for having had the audacity to write while not being a part of their "distinguished" social circles, to begin with. It was an eye opening experience. It seemed my question of whether there would ever be any place at all for me in that country, was answered though.

What has been your best experience as a writer?
A while ago, I self published my first novel. It was the first novel that I'd ever written and I personally thought it was a lackluster novel, at best. Still, the concept of self-publishing via a site such as lulu.com at no cost was intriguing and I was immensely curious about process and end-product. I do have a fondness for trying new things with fiction and what else was I going with a story that had been knocking about in a box for three years then posted on my old "escape-ism" site? The process was exhilarating... except for the editing part--which I fail at epically and will always abhor. The results weren't stellar. I didn't expect them to be. Still, the overall response has made me realize that there were people out there who might take my work seriously. It was educating and encouraging enough to prompt me to discontinue publication until I get a chance to really take the time to give what's apparently a promising book, the care and attention it truly deserves, before republishing.

Tell us a little about your website.  What is it about?  What do you want to accomplish with it?

My site is merely the result of simple desire to have a single place to share my fiction and poetry online.
I've always been self reliant sort, so I just had to build it myself and manage it myself. I've come a very long way from that bang-my-head-against-the-wall and tear-my-own-hair-out Beginner's stage. Thank goodness for Open Source and content management systems, like Joomla! This has given me the freedom to transform my site to reflect my evolving interests and literary pursuits, whenever and however I wish.

The main purpose of my site is to share examples of my work but I'm a huge fan of the Speculative Fiction genres, so I try to throw light on other writers and the work they share online. The Web Fiction Directory came about after I realized that there were so many other writers sharing their amazing stories online. I wanted to help other avid spec-fic readers find them too. I've had a lot of help from other kind writers and individuals online and  I share resources and information useful to writers, as a means of extending the same kindness to fellow writers/creators.
If anyone had a notion to get a grasp on my writing style and how I'm evolving as a writer, my homepage is the place to go.  I share my fiction in various formats such as Short stories, Flash Fiction, Microfiction (Twitter Fiction), Spoken Word and Serialized Chapters. Ultimately, I just want to share my love for the written word and story-telling. I'm often anxious because people don't often comment on my work. Still, I know there are people out there reading what I write. I'd like my stories to entertain and inspire. I hope my readers gain something positive or otherwise profound from what I write. I hope it's enough to keep them coming back, at the very least.

Do you remember the first time any of your work was published?  How did that experience feel?

To date, I've only had a few short stories published in online/print magazines. It's always encouraging to have someone say they think something I've written is good enough for their publication. I imagine I'd be unreasonably overjoyed if the same happened for one of my novels.
Do you have to be alone when you write?  What's your process?
I prefer being alone when I write but I'm pretty much a loner, so that doesn't say much. I'm able to write in the presence of others, as long as they  refrain from looking over my shoulder and keep their mouths shut. Scribbling, I can do just about anywhere, as long as I have a notepad--although, I long for a laptop because transcribing those scribbles is becoming more and more of a drag.

It's all business when I get Down to Business with a story or novel though. I have to make sure my desk is organized, notes on hand and tea or cool drink ready. I tend to lose myself in the story when in that mode. When I finally come up for air, I'm usually starving, disoriented and puzzled as to which way is up and  whether it's day or night.

What does the act of writing do for you?
When writing, I feel like I'm reaching for something profound but elusive--a feeling or certain state of being, maybe? It's sort of like existing on a completely different wavelength. My words always seem to fall short of what I seek. I'll write a story and sure, I'll be satisfied with it and love the way it turned out, but at the same time, it feels rather like turning over a rock and thinking: "No... it's not here either."

All one can do is keep searching. I imagine it's the same for everyone who does anything for the sheer love of it.

If you knew you would never be published for the first time or again, would you continue to write? Why?
If I didn't write, I doubt I'd be able to dredge up the will to keep living. That has nothing to do with whether or not I ever get published in the traditionally accepted sense of the word. Making money from writing would improve my living situation in a very big way and being able to write full-time would be nothing short of awesome. Beyond that, it just isn't something that would increase or diminish the meaning and joy I derive from what I do.

What advice do you give to aspiring writers?

The only advice I can give is to WRITE.

Write simply, for the sake of writing. Write for the sake of learning about yourself and discovering new ways of perceiving the universe. Write to get rich or gain recognition. Write to make someone laugh, cry or otherwise break up the monotony of their day. Whether you write for all of these reasons, or just one or none--is irrelevant. If you derive even an ounce of joy from writing, it's already well worth every iota of effort you pour into it.

If you're a fellow dreamer chasing that intangible Thing, go after it with all you have. Don't worry about explaining or giving it a name. Just think; Siddhartha Guatama is said to have cast his title and riches aside and sought out the same unnameable thing, in earnest. In the instant he found it, a religion was born.

Finally, what is next for Tonya Moore, the writer?

I'm in the process of finishing the first draft of my horror-fantasy novel Cassandra. The main focus of my efforts for the next few months will be the re-write. Ultimately, I hope to find an Agent willing to represent me or something of the sort.  

In the spirit of exploring various mediums for storytelling, myself and two fellow writers will be launching Dangerous Lollipop - a condensed web publication presenting periodic offerings of Flash Fiction for free download to mobile devices.

Aside from those specifics, I don't know where my writing might take me. You will just have to stick around or come along for the ride to find out.

I'm a bit of a rolling stone on the web but the pages listed below are my main haunts:

(Homepage) http://www.tonyamoore.com
(Blog) Misadventurous: http://www.tonyamoore.com/blog/
(Twitter) http://twitter.com/mikodragonfly
(Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tonya-R-Moore/30082327876
(Coming Soon) Dangerous Lollipop: http://www.dangerouslollipop.tonyamoore.com

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