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’.
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!