Ray Moore, an only child, was born in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England. He developed a love of literature in his teenage years, which he pursued at the University of Sussex and the University of Lancaster. He received a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English and American studies from the University of Sussex, UK, (1972) and a Master of Arts in Literature and Cultural Change – 1910 to the Present from the University of Lancaster, UK (1974).
For twenty-eight years he taught in a variety of Secondary Schools in Nottinghamshire. He was, amongst many other roles in charge of the English Department at the West Bridgford School. He has also worked as an examiner for GCSE English Literature.
After moving in 2002 to the USA, for the next ten years he taught at Vanguard High School in Florida.
He retired in July 2012 and is now a full-time writer of both fiction and non-fiction books and is a fitness fanatic.
An Interview with Ray
1. Do you find it easy to write?
Sometimes the words seem to just flow down onto the page; sometimes they have to be pulled, kicking and screaming, from the dark recesses of my head. Either way, getting a first draft down is only the start because then begins the re-writing. I like to have at least two writing projects on-hand at any one time so that when I get a little tired of one I can go onto the other.
2. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
I formulate the mystery first. For example, a woman watches her husband walk into an entirely closed courtyard, and a few minutes later she discovers the courtyard to be empty except for a pile of her husband’s clothes neatly folded in the center. That seemed to me to be the good basis for a mystery. Of course, then I have to work out a solution: Where did the man go? Then, I have to work out a motivation: Why did the man vanish? Finally, I have to work out how the detective can solve the mystery.
3. How did you come up with your character for the detective?
Almost every detective is based to some extent on Sherlock Holmes, and I am a great Holmes fan. My detective does not have the dark side that Holmes certainly has. He is a good man with whom the reader can identify. At the same time, his detective skills are not simply innate: he spent several years in the Metropolitan Police.
4. How did you think of your detective’s name?
Quite unconsciously. I liked the sound of “Lyle Thorne”; it was unusual without being odd. Then I realized that a thorn is sharp and that lye soap got things clean and understood why I had chosen the name.
5. What is the greatest challenge for you when you are writing?
I suppose the most difficult decision is knowing when to stop revising and checking. It is so easy to convince oneself that the manuscript does not need more work when it actually does.
6. Do you research the background information for your fiction books?
With my wife Barbara’s help, I try to get historical information right. For example, in the early stories, there are no cars, so it is important to know what kind of carriage the characters would use, and when cars begin to appear I specify the make, model and year. The aim is to give an authentic period feel to the stories.
7. Why do you self-publish your books?
To be honest, I self-publish because it does not cost me anything and because I enjoy writing so much that do not feel like giving time to trying to find a publisher. That said, I am certainly going to pursue that in the future.
8. Who was the greatest influence in your early writings?
As a former high school teacher, I have read a lot of Young Adult fiction much of which is excellent. My particular favorites would be Paul Zindel, Robert Cormier, and Lois Duncan. Given their audience, these writers have to move the plot along quickly, which is what I try to do.
9. Which do you enjoy writing most fiction or non-fiction?
I like to alternate between them. Writing literary criticism involves a great deal of research reading which can be stressful, so taking a rest from that to write fiction is like giving my mind a holiday.
10. Which is your favorite book that you have read?
Since I first read it, my favorite book has been A Room with a View by E. M. Forster. Its theme is to follow your heart by choosing the person you love not the person that society says you should love. I am really excited that this year I am going to produce a Text and Critical Introduction on this book.
If you have a question for Ray, please contact him. He may add your question to this interview.