Welcome to What’s Good to Read, and welcome to our author interviews!
Today we are talking to Jenny Moore / Jennifer Moore. A writer of two halves… from funny children’s books in a variety of genres including fantasy and historical as Jenny Moore to psychological thrillers for adults as Jennifer Moore.
After reading some of her brilliant books, I am happy to welcome her to What’s Good to Read, so lets find out more about her.
FAVOURITE BOOK: My favourites change all the time! My current favourite children’s book is The Last Bear by Hannah Gold and for adults it’s Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer.
FAVOURITE AUTHOR: Muriel Spark
FAVOURITE FOOD/MEAL: Homemade chicken risotto
FAVOURITE ANIMAL: Squirrel
FAVOURITE MOVIE: Amadeus
If you could start by introducing yourself to everyone, let them know where you’re from and some of your interests and hobbies.
Hello! I’m Jenny and I write for all ages from toddlers up to adults. After living in lots of different places around England and Scotland (and Oslo), I settled in Devon about 25 years ago. When I’m not writing I enjoy running, walking, photography, music, travel and craft – and reading, obviously! I’ve also just started learning Japanese.
What inspired you to start writing?
It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t writing! My earliest efforts included poems about wobbly teeth, squawking clarinets and a superhero flying pig. The pig poem was chosen for display as a giant poster in the town library, which was probably my first taste of publication!
My teenage years were very busy with music and I initially wanted to be a woodwind teacher. My brilliant GCSE and A-level English teachers helped me realise that my heart lay with words rather than notes though. My first paid short story was published in the Guardian while I was working on my Masters thesis and I started submitting pieces to magazines and anthologies with increasing regularity after that, eventually moving from short stories and poems to full-length novels.
What is your preferred genre to write in?
I’m not sure I can choose – I love trying different styles and genres and am just as happy writing dark suspense novels for adults as rhyming picture books about dancing animals!
Dipping into the fantasy genre for the Emba Oak series has been great fun. I love dreaming up all the weird and wonderful creatures and places Emba and Odolf come across on their adventures, and there’s never a dull day when you’re working with dragons and evil necromancers!
What is your writing process?
I used to be more of a pantser than a plotter, feeling my way into a story without quite knowing in advance how I was going to reach the end point. Now that I’m working directly with publishers, I’ve had to become a proper planner, submitting detailed synopses in advance of starting writing. It’s a good discipline and it’s nice to know where the story is going at any given point. Having said that, the plot and characters don’t always stick as rigidly to the plan as they should and I often end up with a few extra twists along the way!
I tend to edit and polish as I go along – I like to be happy with a sentence/paragraph/chapter before I move onto the next one. It makes for a lower – and slower! – daily word count, but it seems to work well for me and there’s less editing to do afterwards as a result.
Since the pandemic, I do most of my writing on Zoom sprints with other writers, which makes it a much less lonely affair. Regular group check-ins are great for accountability and it’s lovely to be part of a network of like-minded friends all cheering each other on.
What was the hardest part of getting published?
Keeping going in the face of rejections and near misses was tough at times, although throwing my energy into a new project always helped. Losing my agent felt like a huge blow too but it all worked out for the best in the long run.
Which book is your favourite and why?
No, I can’t answer that! It would be like choosing a favourite child!
What are you working on right now?
I tend to have a few projects on the go at once. I’ve just finished the first draft of the fourth and final book in the Emba Oak series and am currently editing a book for young teens. I’m also 10,000 words into a new adult book and at the initial pitching stage for a potential new project for younger readers. Lots of fingers in lots of different pies!
How do you handle a bad review?
It’s not something I’ve experienced with my children’s books so far, but thriller readers seem to have more fixed ideas about what they do and don’t like! One bad review can overshadow a hundred glowing endorsements which is why the common advice is to avoid reading them in the first place. Ignoring reviews altogether is easier said than done but filtering them so you only see the five-star ones is a useful compromise. I try to remember that everyone gets bad reviews – it comes with the territory – and it would be boring if we all thought the same about every book.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
As a non-driver, I’d love to have another way of getting around. Fear of heights would probably rule out flight, but teleportation would fit the bill perfectly. Yes, I’ll take one teleportation superpower to go, please.
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Jenny Moore for taking the time to answer these questions. I am looking forward to reading the third Emba Oak book: Emba Oak and the Screaming Sea due out in January 2024.
If you want to find out more about Jenny Moore and her books, visit her websites https://jennymoorechildrenswriter.weebly.com, https://jennifermoore.wordpress.com and Maverick Books. You can also find her on social media – X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, Threads, LinkedIn and Bluesky.