I’m thrilled to be able to host Michigan author Kathryn Sue Moore today as it’s one of my favorite states. On top of that she writes about NASCAR, very big in North Carolina where I live. Combine that with a romance and you have an unbeatable combination- racing for the men and a love story for women!
Kathryn is a business operations manager and published author who lives in Rockford, Michigan, with her husband, two children and a little Yorkie named Bear. A prolific reader, she’s always enjoyed the escape of a really good book and four years ago decided to try her hand at writing one of her own.
Through her writing, Moore strives is to bridge the gap between Christian literature and mainstream best sellers, to depict contemporary Christians in real-life stories of love, drama, action and adventure, to show what it means to live a Christ centered life in today’s culture, and to provide wholesome fodder for more family-friendly movies.
- For you is writing a passion, a calling, or both?
Both! I love to write almost as much as I love to read so in that regard, it’s a passion. But I really think it’s also something God is calling me to do—to use my gifts to shine His light.
- What’s the best thing about writing a book?
This sounds silly but the best thing about writing is definitely the writing. It amazes me how much other stuff there is: query letters, finding a publisher, writing a synopsis, proposals, working with an editor, working with another editor, marketing, marketing, marketing! Stephen King once said, “You can’t be a writer and an author.” How true! It’s amazing how much time the other stuff takes.
- What inspired you on your writing journey?
When I initially decided to start writing, it was to provide more family friendly stories for the movies. A few years ago, with two children entering their teens, my husband and I became frustrated by the lack of family appropriate films. Our children were too old for Disney and Pixar and they definitely weren’t ready—in our minds anyway—for PG-ratings. Sadly, we simply stopped going to the movies.
So when I sat down to decide what to write, I kept two things in mind. It had to be a story my whole family would enjoy and it had to be something that would make a great movie.
I decided on a love story because every good movie contains a great romance, but I wanted it to be one my husband would enjoy. So when my brother described an interesting film called Gas Hole, an eye-opening documentary that alleged a massive cover up by oil companies, it sounded like the makings of an intriguing story and one with a definite modern-day interest, given the volatility of gas prices. According to the documentary, “Big Oil” has been suppressing innovations in fuel efficiencies for years, even going so far as to murder at least one very bright young inventor who had the idea for an engine that ran on vapor.
Like many men, my husband and son are into cars. Coupled with my above-average-for-a-woman knowledge of engines, mechanics and chemistry in general, I came up with the idea of a young woman who, like me, grew up working on cars with her father. My husband and son love NASCAR too so I thought that would provide an exciting backdrop as well as tie in nicely with the idea of fuel efficiency.
Finally, above all, I wanted it to be wholesome and family friendly, with a subtle but meaningful message for young people. So my heroine is a young woman of faith who’s made a commitment to God to save her virtue for marriage. She wears a purity ring and the story explores how difficult it can be for a young woman to retain those ideals in our modern culture.
- Which novels have had the most impact on you as a writer? Is there a particular book that made you want to write?
I’m inspired by beautiful writing like that found in The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and the movie The Blind Side – stories that have an emotional impact. My favorite stories are those that reach down deep, wrap up my whole heart and soul, make me laugh, and cry. And those are the kind of stories I want to write. I want to touch people’s lives. I want my reader to feel better, be better, love better, because they read my words and took them to heart. I want to inspire, to comfort and to breathe faith and hope into anyone who may despair that they’re alone in this world.
The particular book that made me want to write though was one that was actually awful and I don’t even remember the title or author. I only remember the story was really good but the writing was really bad and it was published by one of the major publishing houses. It made me think, Geez, I can write better than that! And from there I set out to see if I could.
- What was your journey to publication like?
It started with reading a lot of books on the craft, on the business of writing, publishing, editing, etc. I enlisted a free-lance editor to help me with my synopsis, then forty-nine query letters later, I found an agent. I hired another editor to go over the whole manuscript. I drafted a proposal which my agent sent out to ten or so publishing houses. Then we waited. And waited some more. We received several “not right for us” rejections and then about six months later, Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas contacted him, apologized for the long delay and asked if Angel Beneath My Wheels was still available.
From there, I signed a contract in December of 2015 and then worked with their editor and then their acquisitions editor and fourteen months later it released on February 29th, 2016.
- Do you have any favorite books on craft?
I do! Here are a few I found most helpful: Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King, Keys to Great Writing by Steven Wilburg, Plot versus Character by Jeff Goerke, and all of James Scott Bell’s books are excellent. There are more listed on the Authors page of my website along with links to all of them.
- Any secrets to publication?
No secrets, really but I would say, don’t give up. It takes a lot—I mean a lot!—of perseverance. But if you have something to say and getting published is important to you, hang in there, say a prayer and be confident in the path God’s set for you.
- What do you think the Lord is teaching you through your writing?
Ooh, good question. I would have to say, unselfishness. I grew up poor and not just in the monetary sense. Second to the last of six children, I didn’t have much in the way of emotional support after my parents divorced when I was five. And I think it’s made me more reserved and self-centered than a good Christian ought to be. It’s hard to admit this about myself, but when a person grows up in survival mode, it’s hard to know how to be anything else. I like what Teddy Roosevelt once wrote, “I have often thought that unselfishness combined into one word more of the teachings of the Bible than any other (word) in the language.”
One thing I’ve found about writing for the Christian market is that there are so many people willing to help.
- Summary of the book you will be giving away
Beneath his playboy façade, young NASCAR driver Luke Brandt yearns for a family. Rachel Tate, an inventive, purity-ring-wearing mechanical engineer, is determined to prove herself in a male dominated industry. When Luke outbids Rachel on the only two muscle cars she could use to test her new vapor-fueled engine, she wants nothing to do with him. But Luke’s gentle ways and down home country charm just might win her over—if his painful past doesn’t push her away.
When she begins to touch his heart, he’s haunted by bitter memories of the only woman he’s ever loved—the mother who abandoned him as a little boy. With an intense trust that God will lead her on life’s journey, Rachel perseveres, her innocence and grace breach his defenses and his walls begin to crumble. As they join forces to bring her remarkable invention to market, their love, their very lives, are threatened by the iron-tight grip that “Big Oil” holds over the whole auto industry and Luke realizes his final happiness must come through faith, in the One who has always loved him… and always will.
Where can we find you on the web?
Facebook: K.S. Moore – Author