1. I know you’re a teacher so how much of an influence did that have on your decision to write Chasing Prophecy?
Teaching is the reason this book exists. The kids are based on bits and pieces of lots of former students. I wanted to write about young adults transforming
2. Did you allow your students to read your book before it was published, and if so what were their reactions?
You know, no student knows this exists. I also have told only my immediately family and a couple friends/writing group team members. The reason for that is I wanted legit reviews starting out. I have one from 1 relative and another from a writing group member & the other 25 are all objective. The reviews are starting to come in fairly regularly now. My students & family I know will be very supportive–I just didn’t want 20 reviews right away with the same last name, or: “Mr. Moser, this rules!” 🙂 Wanted to get objective feedback & let the market see what other general folks think. Anyway, I am looking forward to sharing it with people close to me in the next couple months. No one’s stumbled on it yet. 🙂 Feedback on the bigfoot stuff will be fun to hear, as my first teaching job was set in a part of Washington where there are tons of sightings & it’s part of the local culture. The big scenes are based on encounters my students had. There are two boys (well, they’re about 30 now) in particular I’d like to show parts of it.
3. What’s the most brutally honest and helpful piece of advice you have ever gotten about your writing?
Less telling, more showing. All that backstory at the beginning is well written and interesting, but the book would be better if you just cut the first 30 pages & started with actions which show the character motivations. (that’s what I did). Cute dialogue for its own sake, which doesn’t move the story forward, needs to go. There are about 20 pages of just plain funny teen banter which had to go. That was the most painful to cut. I’ll find a way to use it in the next book.
4. I love the way Mo, the lead character in Chasing Prophecy handles bullies, and I’m sure because of your occupation you have some great ideas of how kids can deal with bullies in real life. Could you share a few with us?
Bullies are all cowards. The best way to deal with them is to find what they’re afraid of (it’s always something) and go right at it. You can eliminate a bully from your life without throwing a punch (though that’s OK too, at times, if you really have to protect yourself). One of the big laugh out loud scenes, that everybody mentions, is based on something one of my students did to get rid of a bully. You can’t make this stuff up. 🙂
5. What are your top five favorite books of the moment?
The last couple years in YA it’s been all about John Green (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in our Stars) and Sherman Alexie (True Diary), and Jay Asher (13 Reasons + the Future of Us). I loved loved loved the first Hunger Games. In the middle of The Book Thief, right now. David Sedaris’s last book I thought was hilarious. I randomly read a nonfiction called The Big Burn about a famous forest fire in the Pacific Northwest a hundred years ago. Totally mesmerizing.
6. What is your favorite song of the moment?
My students have gotten me into some Jay Z from a few years ago. “Run this Town Tonight” w/ Rhiannon. Anything by Pearl Jam.
7. What was the last really thoughtful thing someone did for you?
Covered my 6th period so I could take my son to a little league practice.
8. Besides writing, do you have any hidden or not so hidden talents?
Freaky memory, especially for sports and literary trivia.
9. If you could go back in time and teach your seventeen year old self one life lesson, what would it be?
Girls are not scary.
10. What can you tell us about Chasing Prophecy that the synopsis does not cover?
I’m not a religious guy but the book is really about Faith i.e .the coming of age epiphanies that the entire world opens up, and is for us, when we believe in ourselves and our friends.
I also like to do a short word game at the end of the interview. I’ll start the sentence and you finish it with the first thing that comes to mind:
(A) I am happiest when…
working with teenagers. Also, when my 8 year old son, Zam (Zachary Adriance Moser) is happy.
(B) The one book everyone should read at least once is…
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
(C) I can’t go one day without…
reading at least a little bit of a book.
(D) The last great movie I saw was…
The first Hunger Games + The Descendants
(E) The world would be a better place if…
everyone had enough to eat.