R. Kelvin Moore
Why I Started Writing:
I began writing academically many years ago. I have published three books in my discipline and numerous articles across my thirty-one+ years of teaching in a college classroom. While I have always enjoyed reading for pleasure, I never ventured in the “writing-for-sheer-pleasure” until I aged, and my body coerced me to slow down. With no choice other than slow down my pace of work/living, I tried my skillset in writing a novel. I realized I could sit for hours and simply type. I found the experience both relaxing and rejuvenating. I also received pleasure from doing that. Almost before I realized it, I had a hundred thousand words and a finished product. I began informing a few friends of my work, and they graciously offered to read and critique. Every reader returned with a positive review (perhaps with bias), encouraging me to continue. After some time, another idea percolated, and I began to write again. I completed a second novel. In 2018, I spent a four-month sabbatical in Singapore. While I was productive and finalized an academic manuscript (a book published in 2019) I found myself with more leisure time than I normally enjoyed. I taught one afternoon a week and my guest housing had no television (I realized I didn’t need nor did I miss television). I began writing a third novel and basically wrote it in my time abroad (four months).
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
I have always enjoyed reading in a broad spectrum. Many (most?) boys who grew up in Alabama in the 1970s played sports, religiously. While I played basketball, reading was my passion. I can’t remember when I didn’t read. My parents purchased The Happy Hollisters series, which I completed in a short time. What I realize now as an adult is the appreciation I had/have for the author of The Happy Hollisters, Andrew E. Svenson (under the pseudonym Jerry West). Svenson was a master storyteller. My novels are stories, told in the tradition of Svenson and many others. I began reading Clive Cussler and Pat Conroy in college, two more master story-tellers. From authors such as Svenson, Cussler, and Conroy, I began, even subconsciously, to develop a love and appreciation for authors with the gift to tell stories effectively and move readers to joy and sorrow and every emotion known. I believe it was here that I developed an understand of the importance of emotions in such works.
In graduate school, a friend introduced me to the classics with such a passion I had to read them for myself. In grad school, between times when I read what syllabi demanded me to read, I began reading (and continue to do so) Hemingway, Steinbeck, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Twain, Fitzgerald, Melville, Hugo, Solzhenitsyn, Christie, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Sinclair Lewis, Orwell, Poe, Homer, Dickens, Austen, Harper Lee, Capote, London, Melville, Shelley, Kesey, Dumas, Sun-Tzu, Willie Morris, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and J. D. Salinger. These authors influenced me in that they helped me understand the importance of grappling with the great issues in which every person, regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, socio-economics, educational level, grapples. Issues such as: “where do I come from?” “why am I here?” “is there any purpose in life?” “is there any value in life?” “it there any hope in this lifetime?” “should I care about anyone except myself?” and “is there any hope for an afterlife?”
Being Christian, the great story-tellers of Scripture have also impacted my life. Who hasn’t been moved to tears after reading Job or moved to anger after reading the abuse experienced by Jeremiah and Jesus? Who has read Ecclesiastes and not been moved by his passionate search for happiness? Who has read the Gospels or the Apostle Paul’s writings and not been moved by the compassion of Jesus and struggles of Paul? Who has read the Bible and not grappled with the questions listed in the previous paragraph?
Books I Have Written:
I have written and published three academic works:
The Psalms of Lamentations and the Enigma of Suffering, Mellen Biblical Press, Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter, 1996
The Old Testament for the Twenty-First Century: A Concise Guide, Insight Press, 2016
The New Testament for the Twenty-First Century: A Concise Guide, Insight Press, 2019.
I have written three complete novels, all unpublished, currently. I have written and published scores of academic works in my career.
What I'm Working On Now:
I am currently finalizing a fourth novel, The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. This novel chronicles the life of Ulysses America Johnson, known to almost everyone as "Am." From humble Alabama beginnings, Am invents a dining table that can remove millions of pounds of waste products from land-fills, oceans, waterways, and landscapes. With seed-money generated from this pro-ecological invention, along with his chemist friend Jefferson Marrow, Am eventually becomes the CEO of a world-class pharmaceutical behemoth earning billions of dollars annually (Am’s “empire”). Am, initially a kind and generous person, morphs into one possessed by a desire for alcohol, prostitutes, and pornography. He transforms from a person concerned about humankind into one only concerned for himself. He neglects family and friends and even abuses both. He mutates from one committed to easing some pain and suffering in the world to one actively creating it. This radical transformation is motivated by one thing: greed.
The Rise and Fall of the American Empire mirrors the loss of moral compass for innumerable Americans. This novel will coerce readers into recognizing the need for real change in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Is anything other than the future of the American Empire at state? Can Am (and America) be saved? Currently, the novel has over 102,000 words.