James A. Moore is the author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Deeper, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels Blind Shadows, Seven Forges and the sequel The Blasted Lands.
The author cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over twenty role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including Berlin by Night, Land of 1,000,000 Dreams and The Get of Fenris tribe. He also penned the White Wolf novels Vampire: House of Secrets and Werewolf: Hellstorm. Moore’s first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President. He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.
James was kind enough to chat with me about his newest book, ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS!
Kristin Centorcelli: James, your new book in the Alien ‘verse, ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS just hit the shelves. Will you tell us a little about it?
James A. Moore: Well, it’s a bit of a twist, I think. 20th Century Fox had a few ideas for expanding the universe and ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS comes from one of those ideas. The story is linked into two other stories that take place a LONG time before SEA does. In this case a planet with a xenomorph infestation is encountered by Ellen Ripley (In the excellent ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Tim Lebbon) and the planet is left and abandoned. And a few centuries later a descendant of Ellen Ripley is working with the crew to find out why there are still some problems with the terraforming that was done to the planet. Ripley was marked by Aliens when she wreaked havoc on the planet and the remaining xenomorphs catch one whiff of our here’s blood and immediately recognize him as a descendant. When Weyland-Yutani catches hold of that fact, the fun begins. Rest assured, Weyland_Yutani is back with a vengeance and they still have plans for the aliens.
KC: You have an astounding bibliography and are a man of many hats (comics, fantasy, horror…), but what are the particular challenges of writing in an already established universe, or as part of a beloved franchise? What kind of research did you do for the book?
JAM: The research was the fun part. I read a few books, a few graphic novels and watched all of the movies three or four times each. The challenging part was getting started. It’s a very big legacy of tales that have been told and trying to do them justice while trying to do something new had me pacing my office floors instead of writing for a while. But ultimately it was a lot of fun.
KC: Alien certainly falls into the SF category, but also delves into horror. What do you enjoy most about writing, and reading, in these genres, and in spec. fiction in general?
JAM: Two words: What If. That’s what all fiction is, really. What if THIS happened or THAT happened instead? I love good adventure stories and I practically live horror. The real world is a dark enough place sometimes. I prefer to know find different worlds to play in when I have a chance to relax. I’ve always had a fondness for alien vistas and strange creatures.
KC: I have to ask…what’s your favorite movie in the Alien series?
JAM: Hands down it’s Aliens, Alien was powerful suspense, but Aliens lets you see the monsters and ramps up the potential damage. I also think it was in Aliens that Ripley shined the brightest.
KC: You’ve undoubtedly influenced many authors with your work, but what authors or novels have influenced you the most?
JAM: Well first, thanks. I actually never considered that I might have influenced another writer but it’s a nice thought. Second, the list is monumental. I think every story I’ve ever read is a filter I see the world through, especially the good fiction. That said the top five would be Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Fritz Leiber. The list changes daily, by the way.
KC: Who would be on your guest list for your ideal dinner party (alive or dead, but not walking dead )?
JAM: All of the writers listed above, the entire cast of characters from the New England Writers Conference (Necon) past and present and future. That’s somewhere around 600 or so and that’s a good sized party.
KC: What are you currently reading? Are there any books that you’re particularly looking forward to this year?
JAM: The second WALT LONGMIRE MYSTERY by Craig Johnson, and a trade paperback of THE GOON by Eric Powell.
KC: You’re a busy guy, but when you manage to find free time, how do you like to spend it?
JAM: I love getting together with friends and talking shop (I love what I do, so talking about horror,sci-fi and everything else is pure fun for me.). I also love reading, watching movies and occasionally taking long drives with no particular destination in mind.
KC: What’s next for you?
JAM: I am currently working on three separate books. One series proposal, one collaborative crime/supernatural fusion with Charles R. Rutledge in what we call the Wellman Chronicles and a third story for Jonathan Maberry’s V-Wars anthologies. I’m also working on a few more I’d like to finish by year’s end. I tend to stay busy.
Thanks for having me!