Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Moira J. Moore, fantasy author extraordinaire of the Heroes books – one of Thea’s favorite running fantasy series’.
Recent Work: Moira is the author of the simply wonderful (though *appallingly* jacketed) Heroes series, the most recent entry being Heroes at Odds.
Give it up for Moira, folks!
I’d like to begin by thanking Ana and Thea for inviting me to participate in Smugglivus this year. It’s a huge honour and I’m delighted to contribute.
The invitation included suggestions on the nature of the post I write. What I enjoyed reading in 2011, what I’m looking forward to reading in 2012, and what readers can expect from me.
What I read in 2011
So, the big secret from me? Most of what I read this year had nothing to do with fantasy.
Here’s the thing. I decided, out of the blue, that I hadn’t learned enough Canadian history in school, so I bought a book pretty much at random. I took notes while I read it, to make sure I really remembered some of the details. I put up a description on a blog, to test myself in giving information to someone else in a (hopefully) concise manner.
The book was A Very Brilliant Affair: The Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812, by Robert Malcomson. It was about an early battle in the War of 1812. (The one in North America, not the one in Europe.) Which wasn’t brilliant at all. It was a mess, with officers on both sides who didn’t know what they were doing and the regular soldiers deserting left and right. The First Nations warriors kicked ass, though.
The book was only about 220 pages long, which doesn’t give room for a deep exploration of the subject matter, but it was a good easy start. I got a lot of fabulous details about battle formations, how screwed up the delivery of weapons and supplies was, and the less-than-noble sides to our heroes.
The reason this was my favourite book? I was plotting out the outline for a new series, which involves a small team of soldiers who are sent out by their officers on missions that are something less than honourable. I had an entirely different plot for the first book, but before I started writing it, I read A Very Brilliant Affair, and I was inspired to tear the plot apart and create an entirely new one. Not only is this new plot a thousand times better, but it fixes certain problems that had popped up in the fourth book.
Being able to use an event in Canadian history to write a fantasy novel gives me a special little thrill. Like being able to use contract law as a spell in my Heroes books.
What I’m looking forward to in 2012
Nothing in particular. I’m not following any series at this time. I’ll be reading more history books, not only to learn more about history, but in the hope of getting further inspiration from them.
I belong to a book club. Usually we choose classics, “literary” novels, and whatever books are getting a lot of buzz at the time. I don’t tend to enjoy them, and I force my way through them because I consider it a sort of fee for belonging to the club, which is in all other ways a blast. In my experience, most of those kinds of books don’t have interesting dialogue, which I usually need to enjoy a book. And when I say interesting, I mean snappy or humorous.
Characters that are happy once in a while would be a nice treat, too.
But, hey, at least I can say I’ve read War and Peace, right?
I’ll be reading all of the books the book club chooses. I’m hoping I’ll fall in love with at least one of them and have a new author to fangirl.
What I’ll be doing
The books I’ve published to date all belong to a series that is sometimes called the Heroes series. There are six books, the first published in 2006, Resenting the Hero, and the sixth, Heroes at Odds, published in July of 2011. Given the low numbers on the sales of these books, ACE chose not to publish the remainder of the series.
I had, originally, planned to finish the series with two more books. However, once I received the news from ACE, my plans began to change. I decided, instead, to cover the events of what would have been book seven with a bunch of short stories from the points of view of several different characters. I have begun this project and I am currently putting the stories on my blog at moiraj.livejournal.com. I had never liked short stories much, either to read or to write (I blame high school) but I thought this would be an excellent way to put together the building blocks for the final book.
Imagine my delight when I found I loved writing these short stories. It’s so different from writing a novel. A quick payoff, I guess. It’s easier to avoid inconsistencies. Because I’m not limited to the point of view of one character, I can explore a lot of issues that would have been out of reach and out of sight in a book. And it’s fun.
In the meantime, I am working on the final book of the series. I don’t have a title for it, yet, and I’m kind of slack in that area, so I might end up calling it Heroes Seven. I’ll be putting that up on my blog as well. I am aiming for a “release” date of September in 2012.
And then there is my new series, with the first book that was inspired by the War of 1812. I have already written the first four drafts of the first book. Once my final Heroes book is up on my blog, I will turn my attention back to the team book and give it a final polishing. My plan is to have that up on my blog by the end of 2012, and to start on the second book in the series. I plan on calling the series His Majesty’s Fireteam, and I can’t wait to dive into it again.
Thank you, Moira!
LizDecember 14, 2011 at 8:27 am
I finally picked up this series earlier this year and really enjoyed it. I was so glad to hear that you are planning on releasing the last book on your website. Thank you! I would have been so disappointed if we never got a chance to find out what happens to everyone.
Laurie LDecember 14, 2011 at 10:11 am
I love, love, love Moira’s Heroes series and am officially boycotting Ace from now on. Following the short stories is so fun and can’t wait for the final book
mary anneDecember 14, 2011 at 10:47 am
It drives me crazy when a publisher gives up on a series before it is done! And I have really enjoyed your series. I’ll be watching on the web – thanks for finishing it up despite the fickle turds…
hapaxDecember 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm
Omigosh, I started reading the HEROES series this year, and they are the bestest books with the worstest covers EVAH.
[insert more obnoxious fangrrlish squealing here]
I’m glad to know that I’ll be able to read the rest of the series at least.
FWIW, Ms Moore, I gave them to my wants-to-be-a-writer daughter, with the admonition that she study these carefully as an exercise in how to do an unreliable narrator’s voice *perfectly*.
The Fireteam novels sound like a hoot as well.
AngieDecember 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm
I’m so glad you invited Moira this year. I love her Heroes books, and I’m incredibly relieved she’ll be finishing the series. I hope you are able to publish them as e-books, perhaps, and make a little money off them. I know there are plenty of us out there who would be happy to pay. 🙂
“Characters that are happy once in a while would be a nice treat, too.”
LOL. Amen to that.
Becky C.December 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm
I really love this series and I am sorry that it is not picked up by the publisher for the rest of the books. Maybe the covers are partly to blame? They really are dreadful and they make me not want to read these books which I already know I am going to love. Thanks for finishing the series for us, the readers!
CarrieDecember 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm
I love the Heroes books. I can’t believe they didn’t want to publish the rest. Thank you so much for writing the end to their story so I can find out what happens! 🙂
moiraDecember 15, 2011 at 10:26 am
Hi All! These comments are fabulous. I’m disappointed I can’t address them idividually.
@Liz. Thank you and you’re welcome! 😀 When I first heard the disappointing news, it was never a matter of not finishing. Just wondering how.
@Laurie. I’m so glad you enjoy the books. I’m hugely honoured that you’re thinking of boycotting ACE, but that hurts a lot of writers, too.
@Mary Anne. One of the reasons I was determined to finish the series was for the some reason. I hate it when a series just screeches to a halt with no chance of resolution. I’m happy to be in a situation to work around that. For example, without the internet, it wouldn’t have really been possible to get copies of the last book “out there.”
@hapax. What you told your daughter made my day. To be told I’ve done anything “perfectly” is just amazing. I hope she enjoys the books as well.
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moiraDecember 15, 2011 at 11:36 am
@Angie, you and so many others have been so kind and supportive, and that was a strong incentive to finish the story.
@Becky, I know it’s not professional of me to comment on it, but yeah, I don’t think the covers helped at all. It was disheartening, seeing so many people calling them the worst covers in the world, etc. A friend of mine is designing a gorgeous one for the final book, her design a little based on discussions about what the other covers would have looked like had I had any input.
@Carrie. You’re welcome. I’m happy to do it. 😀
ValDecember 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm
I love Lee and Taro. And when I found out that Moira was Canadian (even from Ontario) like me, it made the books that much more relatable (is that a word?).
Hearing that ACE was not publishing the rest of the Heroes series made me want to boycott them too. But then I realized that I’d only be hurting myself and the other ACE authors that I enjoy. Instead I wrote a strongly worded e-mail. If everyone who loves the series does the same, maybe we can pressure them into publishing the last book (or re-releasing the old ones with better covers to generate better sales?).
Enough people complained about Firefly ending to get a movie made. Family Guy is back on the air now because of internet chatter and DVD sales. Enough people saying the same thing will eventually be heard, and maybe we’ll see some results.
MoiraDecember 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm
Woo! Another Ontarian. (Is that a word?) I love hearing from other Canadians. I am honoured that you considered boycotting ACE, but glad you changed your mind. I agree, the only people it will punish are other ACE writers, especially the midlist ones that need all the sales they can get. And I am dead flattered that you wrote an email. That truly means so much. But I have to tell you, that while I was very disappointed when I first got the news, I’ve gotten over it, and there are some silver linings in this situation. Instead of writing “Book Seven” I’m writing a whole slew of short stories, from the perspectives a whole lot of characters, and I’m having a blast. And I am writing a final book, and it will allow me to finish the series the way I want to. Maybe that will mean a story that’s not very good. I concede that the changes required by the publisher probably made the books more marketable. But I really like the idea of finishing the series my way, and the chips fall where they may.