J. C. Moore - A Tangled Web of Abuse, Trauma, and Murder
J. C. Moore is an accomplished author, songwriter, father, husband, IT expert, and professional musician. He has worked as a bartender, owned a restaurant for a month, managed a horse farm, and toured the US with his band. Many television shows and movies have featured his music. He currently resides in upstate NY with his wife and his dog Archie. As our Author of the Day, he tells us about his book, The Repayment.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Repayment is about.
"The Repayment" is a psychological thriller that explores the aftermath of abuse. The story features a woman named Sarah who employs an unconventional method to deal with her pain.
Tell us more about Sarah. What makes her tick?
I wanted to create a feeling of constant tension and paranoia with Sarah. After years of trauma, she begins questioning everything in her life. Every whispered conversation, every fleeting glance, and every unexplained absence heightens the sense of unease, leaving her constantly on edge, uncertain who to trust and where the true danger lies. The atmosphere becomes suffocating as the line between reality for Sarah and her nightmarish hallucinations blurs.
Why horror? What drew you to this genre?
When I started my writing journey, I wondered what to write about. Despite having success as a songwriter previously, my attempt at writing YA Sci-Fi did not find an audience. I then switched to Thriller/Horror and created the Pine Creek Series. Although it did not gain much attention, my holiday-themed, slightly campy throwback horror novel "Yuletide Invasion" sold well and was well-received by the horror reading community. As a result, I decided to continue writing in the Horror genre. I focus on creating books that evoke the nostalgia of the classic Zebra paperbacks from the 80s and 90s.
Domestic abuse and trauma are central themes in this book. Why?
The book delves into difficult topics such as abusive relationships, alcoholism, toxic masculinity, sexual assault, and infidelity. As the writer, I found it challenging to tackle these sensitive issues and even had to take breaks during the process. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced one or more of these struggles in our lives. However, one positive aspect of horror literature is that it can bring attention to these unpleasant realities in a safe and controlled manner.
Your stories take you to some dark places. Do you ever get nightmares while working on a book?
Adding elements of darkness to a novel can make it more realistic and authentic. Life is not always easy, and it's important to acknowledge the difficult aspects of human experience to create a genuine story. I enjoy exploring complex themes and creating strong and resilient characters. Although, I must admit, writing this particular book gave me a few nightmares!
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about this.
Thank you! The cover was created by Christy Aldridge, a fellow horror author who is also a talented writer. My aim was to achieve a classic 1980s paperback look.
Do you plan out your stories before you start writing, or do some of them just "happen" along the way?
Outside of a few sketched-out plotlines, characters, etc. I am 100% a 'pantser' writer! I am not a man who adheres to strict outlines or plans. When I sit down to write, all I have is an ember of an idea, a flicker in the dark. But then, like a matchhead striking sandpaper, the story roars to life. I plunge in headfirst and let the story take over. I can feel myself being guided through the waves of plot twists and character developments until finally, I emerge from the depths with a cohesive narrative. Then it's time for the hard work of refining and polishing it.
What was your greatest challenge when writing The Repayment?
It can be challenging to empathize with a character who is not very likable. Sarah was a hard character to create.
Readers say that parts of the book were confusing at first. Was this intentional?
Yes, it was. Trauma can cause people to act irrationally and make hasty, sometimes strange decisions. Panic often rules their thoughts.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I like to write notes on sticky tabs, as I am a bit of a Post-it junkie. Before I begin typing, I make sure to turn off my phone. It is way too easy to go down the smartphone wormhole.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I find pleasure in writing during the early hours of the morning, specifically at 5 AM. Though it required me to make sacrifices at first, such as compromising some hours of my day, this habit has become a part of my routine. To kickstart my day, I begin with a cup of coffee and dive right into writing. In just a couple of hours, I am able to finish writing a few chapters.
What are you working on right now?
I am excited to announce the release of my first short story collection titled "Soured: A Collection Of Short Stories" (Dark Intrigues Book 1), which will be available on July 31st. This book is a modern take on classic anthology shows such as Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and Tales From The Crypt. After that, I have a coming-of-age suspense novel called "The Sinister Son" coming out in September.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I am quite active on social media and often participate in Facebook groups for suspense authors. If you subscribe to my mailing list at jcmooreauthor.substack.com, you can find me there and I frequently check my emails. Additionally, I leave notes on my Substack.