Here on the Books And Me Blog, you’ve met many a writer. You’ve seen their stories, understood what inspired them to write.
Today we bring you Steven Moore, a man who was born an artist at heart. The genesis of his creativity began with art. It will always continue to inspire him. Somewhere along the way Steven also began to visualize the stories behind his drawing and thus a writer was born.
With that short introduction, we bring you Steven Moore, a man who pursues his passion for art through his illustrations and quenches his thirst for adventure through literature.
STEVEN’S INSPIRATION TO BECOME AN ARTIST
I’m an artist—drawing since I was a very young child. I was inspired by the amazing natural talent of my older brother who was drawing birds and animals at the age of five and photo realistic pictures before he was a teen. Unlike him, I had to work at it.
LOVE FOR ART COMBINED WITH DISCIPLINE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
I love art and I enjoy creating it. My earlier stuff was pretty good for someone my age (say between seven or eight and thirteen), but somewhere around the time I became a teenager I decided to be serious about my art. I set a rule that I had to draw at least one hour a day. If I missed a day I’d have to add that hour to the next session. I could draw as much over an hour as I pleased—and I often did—but I had to put the hour a day in.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
On New Year’s Eve I would start a new picture in the afternoon and continue working on it until after midnight. What you do on New Year’s you do all year long (at least that’s what I’ve always heard).
PASSION BECOMES A PROFESSION
Many of the jobs I’ve had have included a level of art in them. I’ve done caricatures of people at a theme park, painted hand-made baskets, personalized items (like visors and clipboards), I’ve been a screen printing artist and I’ve done art for ad specialties. Being a freelance artist helped get me through college. My current job has me as the creative element of an IT department. I do everything from minor programming to web design. I work on proposal books, graphics and photography. Because I’ve been working professionally with art, I hadn’t been doing art for fun for several years. Then—about 15 years ago—I got married.
As we were moving my stuff into our home, my wife was admiring the beautiful drawing table my father had created for me—six foot by three foot top covered in Plexiglas and a light table filling the entire right hand side. It has a crank to adjust the angle of the table top. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) I’m extremely proud of it.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
Anyway, my wife looks at the table and says “why did you stop drawing?” To which I answered, “I didn’t. I create art at work all the time.”
She picks up some of my old fantasy work and says “What about the art you did just for fun? You need to start doing this again.”
And I did.
I learned that my technical skills had improved greatly since I’d last done fantasy and sci-fi art. However, I’d all but lost my ability to simply transfer what I saw in my mind to the page. So I had to retrain myself. After years of working at it, my drawings are coming along nicely, but I’m still having to work at getting back some of the skills I’d lost.
HELPING OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND ART
I decided to put together some of the things I’d used to retrain myself along with some techniques I’d learned over the years to create a book to help others learn to draw. I’d noticed in all the books I’d found on art none were truly designed for the person who had no idea where to start and had no confidence to try. So I designed my book for the absolute beginner and made The How-To Book for Artists Who Can’t Draw.
Whenever I draw, a story always starts to form. The characters, objects and background play out like a scene in a movie. And many of the scenes join with scenes from my other art until complete adventures are created in my mind.
THE CONNECT BETWEEN ART AND STORIES
That’s where the books come in. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories with my art. A few times in high school and college I tried my hand at writing, but never produced more than a handful of pages. My story telling never really got past illustrations. That changed this time around.
Maybe because I was having to relearn drawing skills, my mind—in its desire to tell stories—decided it was ready to try writing again.
Years of stories that had formed in my mind (most of them fantasy and many of those including gnomes) made their way to the page. Only this time I was able to use words as my medium instead of illustrations. Perhaps as a person who loses their sight learns to see with their other senses, my mind adapted its storytelling from drawings to text. Whatever the reason, the books happened.
WHO IS STEVEN WRITING FOR?
When you write you have to make a decision who your audience is going to be. I hoped that I could write something for the whole family to enjoy—young and old. With this in mind, I chose to write to an audience of about 12 to 14 years old. I kept the stories clean enough for all ages and made storylines that should appeal even to adult audiences. With all that in mind, the stories pretty much wrote themselves.
My first novel was Gnome Legends: The Lost Crown. I was pleased with the book and it was well received. But somehow I felt I’d missed my mark with it. It wasn’t exactly what I’d envisioned my book series would be. So I rethought what I wanted my books to be and started working on Gnome Legends again.
The original story was broken down and reworked. I took parts of the second book I had been working on and worked the two stories into one. Along the way—as I worked on the new Gnome Legends books—Downtime Reads was born.
HOW DOWNTIME READS WAS BORN
The reworked Gnome Legends books were exactly what I was wanting to write from the beginning. Books written at a mid-grade level with stories that could still entertain adults. This created a work that was short enough for the book to be read in a day or two—perfect for reading during a vacation, lunch or other such downtimes. And they had the added bonus of being perfect for mid-grade readers or even older reluctant readers—since the books weren’t too long and the stories were serious fantasy.
Learning from my first attempt at writing, I decided to let the stories be as long or as short as they needed to be—not adding or subtracting text to meet some preset idea of how many pages the book should to be. Since Gnome Legends is a series, the longer story arcs can be concluded in following books and shorter stories can be added to other books.
The new series—the first Downtime Reads—are Gnome Legends: Exile which is available via Amazon now, Gnome Legends: Froghaven & the Blood-Tied Stone also on Amazon and Gnome Legends: The Timeless Crystal which is currently being written.
More about Steven here