It started as a dare four years ago — the era of “Twilight” when teenage girls declared their allegiance with Team Jacob and Team Edward with T-shirts and buttons.
Vampire mania inundated the country.
No one, a girl told Ronald Andrés Moore, could create a vampire story to rival “Twilight.”
“I heard that as a challenge. Even though I was already working on two novels and never considered writing a book with vampires, I couldn’t pass this up,” Moore said.
During the day, the house painter stared at blank white walls and daydreamed about an amnesiac vampire and Mark Twain-esque orphans in 19th century Virginia. After six months, the gothic literature aficionado, entranced by Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and John Polidori’s “The Vampyre,” started writing what would become the four-book series “Nocturn Quartet.”
Four years, 12 drafts and 40 characters later, Moore held a copy “Nocturn.”
“It was surreal. There was a mistake in the first copies, but at the time it didn’t matter that the type was too bold. It was a magical thing to hold,” said Moore, who co-owns Back Alley Bistro.
Since independent publishing house Before Sunrise Press released the book July 30, Moore has conducted readings at Starbucks in Decatur and Bailey Cove Library in Huntsville. On Aug. 23, he will appear at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment to discuss the “historical fiction preternatural mystery with a very thin line of vampires.”
While Moore tempts readers with excerpts from the first book, his work continues.
From the backpack the author carries with him to work, libraries and coffee shops, Moore pulled out a folder of loose papers. A flow chart with boxes, circles and arrows filled the page. This is a sneak peek at the beginning of book two.
Before Sunrise Press, which described “Nocturn” as a “mix of steampunk, vampires and fresh plot” with characters “vivid and rich with idiosyncrasies,” will publish all four books.
“What surprises me is people are really interested in my process and how I keep track of the characters and move them around,” Moore said. “That’s one of the things I discuss during my readings.”
The self-described “right-brained” Moore credits his left-brained father for introducing him to the organizational method.
“He worked in manufacturing and showed me how they used flow charts,” Moore said. “I use it to see how characters get from point A to point B and where they are at different times in the book.”
With the flow charts, Moore followed the characters as the “Nocturn” tale grew from a short paranormal romance story to a multibook series with corruption, war and a hint of romance.
“I wrote this for the 12-year-old part of me that loves adventure. It’s a story not written for the sole purpose to be mass produced. I actually love this story and care about these characters,” Moore said.
Along with a reading at Lowe Mill, Moore will hold events in September at the Huntsville Public Library and in October at the Decatur Public Library, where he spent hours researching the 19th century by reading the classics of Robert Louis Stevenson, George Welles, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Ralph Ellison and Jane Austen.
“Public libraries are very important to me,” Moore said. “It is where I developed a passion for books and writing.”
Find out more about “Nocturn” at www.beforesunrisepress.com.
More with Moore
What four authors would you choose to form a book club with?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jose Saramago, Cormac McCarthy and either Kahlil Gibran or Edgar Allan Poe. I think they all would have very interesting viewpoints.
When did you know you wanted to pursue writing?
At 11 or 12, you know, that is the age when you start to find your own identity and I was heavily into music, listening to Nirvana, and literature. I wanted to either be a rockstar or a writer. Even though I knew then, I didn’t pursue it seriously until six or seven years ago when I came to terms with the fact that in order to be happy I needed to do something I loved.
What was the most rewarding and difficult part of the process?
Finishing. I overwrote the book by 50,000 words. (To put in perspective, the word count of “Slaughterhouse-Five” is 47,192.) It was easy to write, but a challenge to find a finish. I had to learn how to edit and whittle down the fluff to find the story.
Why are libraries so important to you?
My family moved here from Venezuela when I was 5. I was always the Hispanic kid who didn’t know English. I spent a lot of time in the library. The librarian introduced me to books. When I was 14, we moved back to Venezuela. I had forgotten all of the Spanish I knew, so, once again, I was the outsider. I was the American kid. I went back to the library. Books were my surrogate friends.
Catherine Godbey can be reached at 256-340-2441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.