We’d like to introduce you to Kay L Moody! She is a science fiction author who loves to write about tenacious heroes, cool technology, and a dash of romance.
Kay L Moody Author Interview
A world of lies. A cell of terrorists. When her sister is taken hostage, only the power to see the truth can set both of them free.
Kay L Moody is proud to be a female science fiction author. Her books feature cool science and technology, strong female leads, and a dash of romance. There’s a strong focus on character development and societal conditions. She lives in the western United States with her husband and children. Visit her website to learn more.
Author Interview with Kay L Moody
How long did it take you to write Truth Seer?
I started writing Truth Seer in November 2017. It will be almost exactly eight months from when I started writing until Truth Seer was published. I know a lot of people can write faster than that, but to me, this was a huge accomplishment. My first book took me six years to write so anything less than a year still seems outrageous. I have enjoyed every minute of it though.
What is the most important thing for a book, plot or characters?
I think it’s pretty obvious if you’ve read Truth Seer that I think characters are the most important thing to any story. I didn’t neglect the plot, at least not intentionally ;), but I did build everything around my characters and the challenges they had to overcome internally. Each of the main characters (the ones in the catacombs) experiences some type of transformation during the book. Personal growth is such a huge part of life; I really don’t think it’s realistic to have a book without it.
What made you decide to write science fiction?
The simple answer is, my brain has a difficult time accepting things that aren’t plausible. Yes, I loved Harry Potter and I have often wished that magic is real. But I can’t bring myself to write something so far outside the realm of possibility. I love reading fantasy, but when it comes to writing, I prefer to stick with facts and ideas that aren’t necessarily true, but at least plausible.
My books are considered soft sci fi or science fantasy. That means I don’t go into detail with the technical aspects of science and math. Rather, my books focus on the characters and society. One fun thing I do on my website is give readers a chance to vote on story elements and I have to write a story with those elements. They vote on the main character, love interest, setting, and a random thing. I write a new short story each month based on the elements my readers choose.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
The answer to both is yes! I get very excited about writing and I truly love it. But there are definitely times when it can take the life right out of me. Emotionally intense scenes are usually the most exhausting. But I still love it even on the hardest day.
What emotions are important to your book?
Fear is a constant emotion for almost all of the characters throughout the entire book, but the most important emotion is probably hope. In fact, the conflict between these two emotions forms the crux of the character arc.
What tips do you have for new authors?
My number one tip is to finish your first draft no matter what. While writing Truth Seer, I discovered just how bad a first draft can be. I wrote all sorts of filler phrases like, “It was very dramatic.” I knew I would go back and change those sentences later, but it was very freeing to just write something silly and then move on. I enjoyed editing this book more than any other book I’ve written because I had the entire book finished before I ever started editing.
What’s your favorite book?
My all-time favorite book is Jane Eyre. I’m a sucker for a good character arc and I think the one in Jane Eyre is one of the most powerful ever written. I also love that when Jane stays true to herself and does the right thing, she eventually is rewarded for it.
My favorite book at the moment is probably Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles. I discovered this series when I was about halfway through my second draft of Truth Seer. I’ve always been amazed how I have unknowingly created a book idea similar to someone else’s. I had this experience while reading Cinder. I noticed a few similarities between Truth Seer and Cinder and thought it was fascinating that we both came up with similar ideas completely independently of each other.
Why did you choose Egypt as the setting for Truth Seer?
The setting was actually one of the first things that I came up with for Truth Seer. The very first idea I had was my main character creeping through scary tunnels filled with illusions. I knew I needed catacombs for this. I originally planned to create completely fictional catacombs, but once I discovered the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, I knew I had to use them. The history was fascinating and the statues were incredible. Other than my very first idea, everything was written around these catacombs as the setting.
What did you edit out of this book?
In the very first draft of Truth Seer I had two extra characters who were down in the catacombs with Imara. I had way too much going on with those characters and I knew I had to take them out. But these two characters had important stories so I resolved to incorporate them back into the trilogy somewhere. They now have their very own short story which I have available when readers sign up for my email list.
For the most part, I told their story in this complementary short story. However, there is one scene in my very first draft where Montu tells how he painted a curtain to look like stone in order to preserve his relationship with his partner, Takara. This tiny scene gives an emotional history that isn’t told in the short story. I still think the short story is much better than my first draft, but I wish I had been able to preserve this scene with Montu somehow.
What makes Truth Seer unique?
The obvious answer to that is, of course, the hilas. The characters in Truth Seer each have unique abilities that mostly include heightened senses. This came from the very first idea I had that Truth Seer was built around.
I imagined a girl creeping through the dark hallways of catacombs. In the hallways, illusions were laid to trip up or injure anyone who traveled through. The girl could see the truth past the illusions, but the other people with her could not. She had to help the others past the illusions even though it looked like they were walking across deep pits and through fires.
What book club question should people ask about Truth Seer?
If I had the choice, I would want any book club discussion about Truth Seer to include this question: How do the characters change throughout the book and how do these changes relate to your life?
To me, this is the most important part of Truth Seer. Of course, lots of other questions could be included in a book club discussion. I personally love to gush over the love story and cheer over the repaired relationship with her sister. Book clubs are great for talking about your favorite parts and characters.
Plus, analyzing a book can actually increase your analytical skills. When you analyze a book with other people, you are able to make connections you might have missed when you originally read it. Making those connections teaches your brain to find more connections in the world around you, thus, increasing your analytical skills.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Was it full of drama and cliches?
I don’t remember the very first story I ever wrote. But I do remember plenty of stories I wrote that were full of cliches and unnecessary drama. One story in particular stands out. When I was a preteen, I wrote a story where a girl in the 1700s traveled to America from England. She had to fight a wild pig, she ran out of candles, and she got in trouble for dreaming too much.
My favorite part was when her love interest was on a ship traveling to America and his ship sank. But then I decided I actually didn’t want him to die so I made him survive the crash. But then I accidentally created another love interest that I liked better so I killed him off again. It was not good writing, but I did enjoy myself while writing it.
What do you do in your free time?
Well, first I need to find some free time. 🙂 I have four kids and I write full time so I stay pretty busy most of the day. I do manage to read several books a month and I do lots of fun activities with my family. I also love Disney! I’m perpetually planning our next trip to Disneyland.
One other fun thing I like to do is paint my fingernails. I was a professional nail tech for many years and I actually still have my nail tech license. I use gel polish on my natural nails and I love to do cute and/or abstract nail art. If you ever see me in a live video on my facebook page, be sure to check out my nails.
What is your personal favorite quote from Truth Seer?
It seems strange to choose a favorite quote from something I’ve written, but I’ll try. One of my favorite quotes is about Imara’s relationship to the truth. Here it is:
“The truth hurts. But if you can learn from it, it will make you stronger.”
I love this quote because it seems like such a powerful statement. But, it’s actually a lie that has shaped Imara into the mistrusting and judgmental person she is. What Imara comes to learn throughout the book is the truth only hurts her because she lets it. When she changes her perspective and no longer sees the truth as an adversary, she is able to use the truth in a positive way.
Can you give us any hints about book 2?
I always feel like anything I say gives away too much. So I’ll try to be really vague. The first thing, which you could probably surmise, is there will be a new antagonist in book 2. If you sign up to get the short story that goes along with Truth Seer, you will get a glimpse of this antagonist.
And here’s one other tiny hint. Truth Seer focuses mostly on Imara and her character arc and history. She will still learn and grow in book 2, but we also get to know Abe a lot more. After Truth Seer, readers know almost nothing about Abe’s history. In book 2, we learn more about his past, why he acts the way he does, and we learn more about his abilities.
If you would like to read more from Kay L Moody, sign up to get her free short story collection. If you haven’t read it yet, click the link to grab your copy of Truth Seer.