February 1st, 2019
I asked Brandon where he would like to chat:
It’s present day in Ocean City, New Jersey. I’ve chosen a rustic Italian restaurant called “Cerlino’s”–the family restaurant belonging to my main character’s family. My fingers tap away at the top of the small round table, as my knee bounces up and down underneath. I stare out to the beautiful night sky, meeting the calm ocean at the horizon. The bright lights from an amusement park, reflect off the water. The scene calms my nerves and makes it easier to finally have my first interview.
Laura Mae: Hello Brandon! How are you doing today?
B.L. Moore: I’m good, Laura, excited and nervous but overall ready to go. How about you?
L: I’m very good! No need to be nervous! Let’s start with your book! What are you working on right now?
B: My current WIP is actually a Dark Fantasy/Sci-Fi, it’s still very early on, but I like how it’s coming along. My other book which releases February 5th is a YA Romance, with a hint of comedy and coming of age vibes called “The Bet Between Us”.
L: Yes! I saw the cover reveal for that and it’s gorgeous!! What is that one about?
B: So, The Bet Between Us is kind of inspired by romcoms from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It’s like She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You. Donald Cerlino is a guy who only cares about money, gambling and getting girls. So when his friends make a bet with him that he can’t get the school valedictorian, Alaina Pizzo, to fall in love with him, he takes the challenge. What they don’t know is that he’s had a secret crush on her since Kindergarten. Yet the problem is she hates him. And thank you so much for the comment on the cover! Claire from Eight Little Pages did an amazing job.
L: I’ve seen other covers they’ve done and they are really great! That sounds like a super cute book! And I like how vastly different your genre’s are. To go from Romance to Sci-Fi seems like a pretty wide step. Why do you write those two specifically?
B: I have a wide variety of interests and I think one of my best traits is that I’m versatile. I have a ton of stories I’d like to tell and don’t want to just close myself in on just one, you know? I love different forms of movies, books, music, etc. I wanted that to show in my writing as well. That’s not to say I’m going to alienate people into romance either, after this book comes out, of course.
L: Great answer! I love it. So you have ‘A Bet Between Us’ out very soon. Could you tell us a little about the dark fantasy/sci-fi story you’re writing, too?
B: I’ll try. Haha. So, this one is called “Project: QLC” which is an acronym for what the book has to do with in the first place. I guess what the story is meant to symbolize? Essentially, on Tony’s 25th birthday, he discovers his parents, who disappeared when he was 13, created a portal to another world. Down on his luck in our world, he decides to try and find his parents in that world. It’s hard to explain, but I’d say it’s a bit of an adult Harry Potter meets Matrix. When Tony gets over to the other world is when the “dark” side of the book really takes over. Sorry if that’s a bad description, as I said before, it’s still pretty early on.
L: No I really liked it! Even early on, that sounds intriguing! Good luck with it! So Brandon, what would you say your favorite part of writing is?
B: I’m happy to hear that!
So, there are probably a couple big parts that are tied for me. One part of it is the process of finally putting a bunch of the thoughts that have been running through my mind forever and finally seeing them on the page before me. I’m also shy and it’s always been easier to write than speak. So, in addition to story wise, just being able to say what I want instead of stammering or stuttering and worrying about using the right word in that situation, I can make sure I’m doing so. I can just let it flow. My fingers do the talking for me, better than my mouth does. Haha.
The other big part is a slightly newer feeling. I recently got to let someone read The Bet Between Us right next to me and see their reactions to everything. It was fascinating to me. The best part is they loved the book, so going through all that and seeing them laugh or get a bit teary eyed at another part, angry at something here and happy about something there, it was just a truly special experience for me.
To see all the hard work I put into something get the reactions I was hoping for really made everything perfect for me. It was an uplifting experience.
L: That’s probably my favorite answer of anyones I’ve had! I completely agree that the best thing is actually seeing someone enjoy what you wrote! That is so great! How long have you been writing for and do you remember the first thing you’ve ever written?
B: I’ve been writing a lot of different things since I was 6. I got an assignment from my first grade teacher, Mrs. Trout to do a project that has to do something with Halloween. By that time I was getting into Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and other scary story related stuff, so I decided to write a story about werewolves. It was horrible, but Mrs. Trout gave me a good grade anyway, for some reason haha. Around when I was 9 or 10, I believe, my dad put the old family computer in my room and that’s when I’d say my interest in writing took off even more.
L: Ooh werewolves! That’s awesome! You do horror as well, I see! Very versatile indeed! Speaking of Goosebumps and all, do you have a favorite book or book series? Why would they be your favorite?
B: Yeah, I like a little bit of everything. It’s so hard to pick a favorite anything for me. From when I was a kid, the books I dug the most was anything Goosebumps, Of Mice And Men, Sounder, Where the Red Fern Grows, Harry Potter was huge(I mean who wasn’t it huge for in our generation though, right?), and this YA Sports drama called Halfback Tough, which most people I’ve brought that book up to have no clue what it is. Now that I’m an adult, answering that question would have us here all day. Haha.
L: Very nice!! Yeah I’m pretty sure if HP wasn’t on that you’re list, you’re probably lying. Haha! I love the variety again! What about favorite literary characters? From any of those books maybe?
B: Let’s see, Sirius Black is probably one of my favorite characters from HP. It’s also probably because Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book(and movie) from that series. I don’t know why, but he was always dope to me, despite all the other amazing characters in the HP series. Of Mice and Men would probably be George. He was just trying to make it with Lenny, you know? He had to deal with a lot and make a lot of tough decisions, especially the ending. I dont know if I had favorite characters from the other ones, but if I really had to be honest and bring up some characters, whose series I didnt mention, I was also big into comic books as well and wanted to be Spider-Man, Batman and Wolverine so bad. Haha.
L: I love Sirius too! He’s one of my favorite in the series. Batman is also my favorite super hero. You have good taste! So when writing, do you have a routine at all? Or maybe music you like to listen to?
B: I’d love to say I get up early in the morning every day and get a nice hot cup of green tea or hot chocolate and then write away all day. But that would be a lie.
The truth is I procrastinate as long as possible, so if there is any routine, it’s that. I will say I DO like background noise though, it’s a double-edged sword, because it’s what causes me to procrastinate as well as focus better when I finally DO write, but hearing the TV in the background or something as simple as the heater/ac kicking on and the little noises the room Im in. Rain is actually probably the best weather in the world to write to, for me. Music wise, I have a huge playlist of music I love, with a range of different genres on it that I play if I’m editing.
L: I’m the same! I need that background noise and sometimes it’s very distracting! And you listen to it when editing, how interesting! Would you say music has a big impact on inspiration? If not, where do you get most of your inspiration from?
B: Music definitely has a huge inspiration in pretty much EVERYTHING in my life, so definitely. Music made me who I am today and it’s one of the most essential parts of my life. If I could, I’d always have headphones on with music blaring.
Other than music, I’d say my biggest inspirations to write stories are my dad and grandmother. If we were ever going anywhere and it was a long drive or we were camping, my dad would always tell stories. Most of the time it was a scary story or something along those lines, which is why I was so into them when I was young. However, he also told stories about times when he was a kid or when he was in the military too.
My grandmother was just a really creative mind and I felt like she understood me more than anyone so she kind of helped guide me with my own creative things I worked on.
L: Lovely Brandon! It’s really nice to have those people in your family or close friends. Creative minds are so important to keep together! Do you have have any authors that inspire you or are just your favorites?
B: Most recently, my editor Melissa Erin Jackson, she’s also an author and wrote a book called “The Forgotten Child”. She’s helped me a ton. I had no clue what I was doing when all this first started and she helped me know it’s okay to feel the things I do and go through the thoughts I’m going through, because they were common issues among us authors. Lol.
Another person is Jenna Moreci. She’s awesome! I love her books and videos! If it weren’t for her I’d probably still be lost and never would’ve gotten the guts to go any further with this whole process. After I finished my first draft, the first person who read it told me I had to get it published. So, I started doing research and eventually came across her and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
L: Jenna Moreci is amazing! I love her and she is honestly a big reason why I finished my first book too! It’s so important for writers to support each other!
B: Definitely and the writing community really is amazing. I cant believe how much support I’ve received from everyone. I’ve met so many great people and now I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
L: Same!! It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I know we’ve discussed the reasons why you love writing so much, but is there at least one thing you don’t like about it? Or a few? Haha!
B: Setting the scene. I’m sooooo bad at it, Laura! lol. I don’t really HATE it, but that’s the part I like doing the least, but you got to do it.
L: Really?! That’s interesting! Why that part in particular?
B: It’s more so because I think that’s where I need the most development. I don’t want to do too much or too little. I overthink when it comes to that part of it.
L: I know what you mean! You want to be flowery, but should you do it now? Do they want more, or less? That’s my issue at least! Haha! Do you have any favorite writing tropes in books? Or least favorite?
B: I like a lot of tropes, but my least favorite would easily be the love triangle. I mean it has to be really good or creative for me to give it a chance. Everything else is pretty much fair game.
Also, yes! You nailed it! That’s exactly my dilemma with setting the scene. I really just want to do it JUST right.
L: Exactly! I agree about the love triangle thing! I’m happy to know it will NOT be your YA romance then! Yay! When you aren’t writing Brandon, what do you like to do?
B: Yes, fear not, NO LOVE TRIANGLES lol.
I feel like reading kind of is the obvious one, but if I’m not doing that, I’m listening to music, spending time with my wife, talking or debating about things that overall don’t actually matter with my friends, watching a movie or playing a video game.
L: Yes, very nice! Video games are the best! Haha! Alright Brandon, last question. What’s some advice you can give to aspiring authors?
B: Just keep going. Like, seriously, just keep doing it. Don’t give up, because you really don’t know what you’re capable of. It’s okay not to have everything right the first time around, but DO. NOT. STOP. Take things one step at a time and persevere through all the obstacles, because you’re really going to come out of it learning a lot about yourself and becoming a better person because of it. If you get stuck, just let it go and do its own thing until you get to a point where you’re comfortable again and come back to edit it later. You might find something you didn’t even know you were looking for. Most of all, know writing “The End” is just the beginning of your story, because you have so much more work to do afterwards, that is going to make everything that much better.
L: Incredible advice Brandon! Thank you again so much for talking with me today! It’s been fun!
B: And thank you so much for having me, Laura! I had a great time talking to you and I hope you have a successful 2019 and beyond.
L: Thank you!!
B. L. Moore was born in Bridgeton, NJ and now resides in Pennsgrove, NJ with his wife and cat. He enjoys listening to music, playing video games and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. His debut novel “The Bet Between Us” is set to release in early 2019.
The Bet Between Us: Donald Cerlino only cares about three things: money, getting girls, and gambling. His friends are so impressed with his abilities with women, they start calling him Don Juan. When senior year starts, he’s got a list of girls he wants to add to the growing number of notches on his headboard. So when his best friend, Thomas, bets Donald that his skills aren’t enough to nab the school valedictorian, Alaina Pizzo, Donald is up for the challenge. What Thomas doesn’t know is that Donald has had a crush on Alaina since kindergarten. Problem is, Alaina hates his guts.
When Donald’s feelings for Alaina start to show, Thomas begins to turn against him. Thomas wanted Donald to see the error of his ways when it comes to women, not abandon their friendship for yet another girl. The deeper Donald gets, the more he wants a future with Alaina, but that means revealing why he started talking to her in the first place. When Thomas starts threatening to tell Alaina the truth, Donald has to decide if he wants to lose the love of his life or his best friend.
Donald realizes he took a bet he can’t win. The great Don Juan may lose everything.
Releases February 5th, pre-order it today!