John Moss interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Jun 17, 2016 2:28:46 PM

John Moss interview with David Alan Binder

Short Bio from his website: John Moss writes mysteries because nothing brings life into focus like the murder of strangers. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006 in recognition of his career as a professor of Canadian literature with over a score of books in his field, John moved progressively away from literary criticism to creative writing, before settling comfortably into the Quin and Morgan series which now occupies his writing efforts full time. He and his wife, Beverley Haun, whose book, Inventing ‘Easter Island’, grew out of her work as a cultural theorist and their travel adventures as scuba divers, share a stone farmhouse with numerous ghosts in Peterborough, Ontario.

John is professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa and Beverley most recently taught in the Queen’s-Trent Concurrent Education Program.

John declared he wanted to live a life of adventure; he has participated in many endurance sports, including the original Ironman. He swam the Hellespont, and ran the Boston Marathon eleven times. He has dived in wondrous places, ranging from the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef to Tahiti, Easter Island, and numerous sites in the Caribbean. He has trekked through the Barren Lands on his own for twenty-eight days, and with his brother, Steve, and then with Bev, across major portions of Baffin Island. Writing mysteries is the best way he has found, yet, of exploring the breadth of a full life and its inevitably ominous end.




1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?

It’s pretty difficult to mispronounce two elongated single syllables: J-ohn, M-oss. I used to hate the lack of resonance when I was a kid. During my teens I was known as johnmoss, which seemed more interesting. Old friends still call me that and I think of myself as johnmoss.

2. Where are you currently living?

Canada. I have travelled a lot over the years (70+ countries) and lived in England, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Mexico, and Honduras.

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Keep writing!

When you love what you’ve written so much it slows you down, delete.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Being tone-deaf, with a perfect sense of the weight of words.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

Most of my publishers have been Canadian—Poisoned Pen Press from the States and Driven Press from Australia being the notable exceptions.

I have not self-published but have no problem contemplating the possibility. So-call vanity publication seems a reasonable way to reach readers in a volatile or stubborn market.

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

As a writer and reader I prefer to hold a book in hand. I like the way books feel and smell and talk to each other. I do read e-books and realize many readers prefer them for convenience, but while I’m writing I hold an imaginary real book in mind

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Keep at it. Don’t give up. Rejection slips are collectable. Inspiration isn’t a gift; it’s a reward for hard work.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

I had an agent but, not being a blockbuster writer, I find I do better on my own. An agent can’t afford the time I need to market my books.

9. Do you have any suggestions or help for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Do your research. Submit to publishers who already deal with works like yours. No publisher is too small. Often small outfits are the most dedicated to books, as opposed to commodities.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I think it was Martin Amis who said, seek out your favorite passages in your writing and delete them. It is often difficult to separate ego from quality.

11. How many books have you written?

Thirty four, ranging from YA thrillers to postmodern metafiction.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

See my answer to #10. If you love the words, delete and try again. Language is a medium, not the message.

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

If it seems like a great twist, probably it isn’t. Try again. You can never be too subtle but you sure as hell can be too obvious.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Good writing, good plots, great characters.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Readings, book fairs, store signings. I’m not good at using social media—still working on that.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

Be better!

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

Try harder!

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Please contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com

If you a published author or in a band with or without a book or an up and coming celebrity and want to garner following or get your message out there then I’d like to interview you and feature you and your book(s) or message on this web site in one of my blogs.

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