Author Name: Bill Moseley
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Adventure
Book: La Cuesta Encantada
Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m not a full-time author. My side gig is working in higher education. I’m the Dean of Academic Technology at Bakersfield College, a community college in California. I’m just getting more serious about writing, and it’s an important creative outlet for me.
Favorite author/books: I really love books, and my taste in reading is really varied. As a child, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Lately, I lean a little more toward Neil Gaiman and I really love the sort of whimsical adventure that he creates in The Graveyard Book. Toni Morrison’s work, especially the Song of Solomon, is really powerful. I admire how she gives readers a glimpse into another culture in such a visceral way.
What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I think my writing is a combination of a wild imagination, the places I’ve been, and a childhood obsession with Indiana Jones movies and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, with a side interest in romantic comedies. This book, in particular, takes place in some of my favorite locations – places where I played and visited as a child. I think of it as a story that’s been woven together in my imagination for much of my life.
Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I don’t. First, I’m not formally trained as a writer, so I’m guessing my approach is somewhat unconventional. Second, my work has been sort of project-oriented so far, and I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas and developing scenes in my head.
Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I don’t, but I’d love to. I think community is one of the best ways to develop any skill.
Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I used to burn the midnight oil. With age, I’ve shifted the other direction. I’m up early these days, to walk with my wife before we start the day. If I’m honest, I feel like my best time for writing is in the afternoon – I think some days I get tired of the grind, and my brain is looking for a way to get creative by that time.
How do you get over a writing slump? I don’t think I’ve had a real slump. I often write when I have enough pent up creative energy that I am anxious to sit down and get some words on the page. I think in the few times when I just haven’t been feeling it (writing my dissertation comes to mind), the trick is to just write something. Even if it isn’t your best, there are times when the forward movement of just doing it is what matters. Anne Lamott’s notion of a shitty first draft applies here, I think.
Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Descriptive, I think. I’m a visual person, and I often “see” the things that I write long before they hit the page. They play out in my mind like a movie. I hope one day to be able to describe them the way I see them in my mind, but I’m not there yet.
What are you working on now? I’ve started outlining the sequel to La Cuesta Encantada, because there is some more story there that I want to tell. I have another story in my mind that I’ve been thinking about for a while, as well, but I’ve decided to hold on to that for now. As an academic, I usually have another non-fiction project or two in the works as well. I’m also working on a non-fiction book on the topic of failure, and how failure can be used as a tool for growth and development. Reclaiming Failure is something I hope to have published in early to mid-2021.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? The world always needs more books. Stories are important to us as a society. Writing a book is hard, and the competition for the attention of agents and publishers is insane. However, if you want to write, and you enjoy writing, then you should do it. Honestly, I think that’s the best reason to do anything. Publishing – even self-publishing – is a nice way to celebrate the completion of your work, and to share your work with others. I think it’s probably natural to fantasize about dropping the next bestseller, but make sure you have the intrinsic motivation above all else.
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I do listen to podcasts. The one writing-related podcast I listen to is called “Story Grid.” It’s an application of the book by the same title. This book and podcast were very helpful in guiding my thinking around how to put together an effective novel. I’m also a pretty regular listener of “Armchair Expert,” “The Tim Ferriss Show,” and “Up First.”
Favorite escape: Almost anything creative, from drawing and painting, to cooking, and even writing computer code (this is very creative, despite the reputation it has for being sort of stiff and mechanical). I also love to travel (pre-COVID) and get active with my family (we have seven kids, so there is always someone to do something with).
Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Nope. Can’t get past the smell for some reason.
Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? I’ll say no pillows, mostly because my ideal couch is long and wide enough for me, a fairly large human, to easily take a nap on without limbs hanging off onto the floor. Pillows just take up space that I would rather use for myself.
Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Hard stop on weeding. I will avoid that at all costs. Being a California native, I’ve never shoveled snow, and I’m not sad about that. There is a certain satisfaction in raking leaves on a nice fall afternoon. When I was young, my grandparents had a house with three very large mulberry trees in the front yard. I remember raking those leaves, and how satisfying it was to make them into neat piles that I could jump into. The earthy smell of leaves in the fall still takes me right back to that place.
Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Plain black, but with straps that go around the back of my head. I must have an abnormally large head, because when I wear the kind with ear loops, my ears get pulled straight out to the sides.
Biggest writing challenge since COVID-19: In my day job, I’m in charge of distance education for a college of almost 40,000 students. As you can imagine, this has been a busy time. Fortunately for me, writing is something that I really want to be doing, so I find the time in between other things.
Website and social media links:
www.bmoseley.com – This is my personal site, and everything else links from there. Thanks so much for this opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed reading the other “Who’s that Indie Author?” entries.
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