April Moore, author of Folsom’s 93: The Lives and Crimes of Folsom Prison’s Executed Men, believes that writers should write because they believe in their project or story, not to make a quick buck. In fact, it’s not going to be quick or easy. It takes hard work and passion. She said, “Even if you have a published book, you’re not going to be rich and famous. You’re not going to be on these bestseller lists. Your book is probably not going to land in the hands of Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino.”
Ernest Hemingway said “Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.” The reality of it is that the completion of a manuscript is a huge accomplishment. Not many people can brag about the fact that they have written or even published a book.
April lived Hemingway’s mantra by joining (in spirit) 93 men as they served hard time for their crimes and eventually were hanged. The research began in the fall of 2008, and the book was successfully published on July 1, 2013. Her book profiles in detail the lives and crimes of these men, and includes the lives of their victims. Their mug shots hid in the closet of April’s great-grandmother until April breathed life into each man and uncovered the truth for the world to see. Covering the years 1895 to 1937, her book has a lot to say. Even after publishing the book, April believes she could have kept going and adding more details to these men’s lives. She said, “Even when it’s in this form, published, done, it’s never really done.”
April keeps trekking on with her writing due to her involvement with Northern Colorado Writers (NCW) and a critique group that began in late 2003 after a novel-writing class. She said, “It’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who are in the same boat as you. We’re all struggling aspiring writers. We can all learn from one another. Writing can be so lonely. Not everyone gets it.”
Because of her critique group, April feels the pressure to constantly produce thoughtful work. Needing to submit pushes the creative thoughts out of her brain and onto the paper. She said, “There’s some excellent writers in my group, so they really set the bar high. I go back and I edit and edit before I even send it to them. A lot of people in the group can just write and go. They don’t stop to edit. I agonize too much. I want it to be perfect, and I want to impress the pants off the writers in my group who I admire so much. Instead of just spewing out something and hoping for the best, it pushes me to be a better writer. I usually get a chapter every couple of weeks done just because I need to submit.”
Each writer’s writing process is different and April’s is no exception. She starts with a notebook and pencil and writes downs every thought she has and the what-ifs. The physical act of writing a chapter or a whole outline helps get all of her ideas down. Then she will transfer it to the laptop to put it all together.
April believes the hardest part of being a writer is making time for it and sitting still to concentrate. She doesn’t consider herself an introvert or an extrovert, but somewhere in the middle. So sitting in a quiet place and sequestering herself does not come naturally. She needs to see people to be inspired instead of being in an empty room. A mentality among writers is “butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. No excuses.” Whatever variation of this, whether the writer is sitting on a couch or gripping a pencil instead of sitting at a computer, the saying rings true for every writer. One must make time to write, or it will never get done.
April’s second book, a women’s fiction novel, will be published in March 2015 by Hot Chocolate Press. Bobbing for Watermelons is a revised old manuscript that was started ten years ago. She polished it and added new perspective and insight. She also has a flash fiction piece in an anthology, Baby Shoes, coming in February 2015.
The literary world also benefits by April’s art. She’s collaborated with Dean Miller, another local author (feature story coming soon) by doing illustrations for two of his books: Odyssey of the Monk, and his poetry book, Echoes. The Writing Bug, NCW’s blog will see regular posts from April starting in January 2015.