Wednesday, 7 May 2014


Recently the rather lovely chap, fellow geek and terrific local writer, Mark McCann asked me to take part in #MyWritingProcess. I'm pretty terrible at these sorts of things, I should probably blog more often but if you follow me on Twitter you'll know I could probably 'microblog' for the world there anyway. For Mark though I feel I'd do my part! 

    What am I working on?

Well, for the past couple of years I’ve devoted most of my time to writing the second instalment (in a planned series of four) of my Amelia Black series titled The Unseen Trials of Amelia Black. It’s into its final stages of drafting. I think.

The fun part with the second one has been trying to expand on the world I created previously, and realise the much darker elements which occupy it. I feel it’s slowing starting to take on its own identity and not necessarily the fantastical worlds that inspired it first time round. So hopefully fans of the first one will see that later this year, all being well.

All the while I started to write a brand new book away from Amelia’s adventures and my first actually set in my hometown of Belfast. It’s the first time I’ve set any of my stories in an actual place and it’s been a lot of fun having to research Belfast’s history as well as bringing back echoes and memories from my own, very happy, childhood. I feel that Belfast deserves a more magical and whimsical tale than the stuff more commonly associated with the city and country. Readers won’t see the finished product for a while but I’m really excited to share it once it’s done.

Becoming an uncle in the last year has also inspired me to finally finish this picture book idea I’ve had for my nephew about a kind, gentle, monster who’s not quite a monster named Quentin Muldoon. Very rough versions can be found on my blog somewhere.

   How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve got to be honest it probably doesn’t but I’ll expand on that when explaining why I write. It’s never totally intentional but I often get told that my work, which I primarily write for children, is considered perhaps too dark by their parents. I think it’s healthy to scatter a bit of darkness into children’s fiction within reason.

I’d probably consider Roald Dahl my favourite author when I was a child and you only need to read The Witches or even The BFG to find some quite unnerving things, usually involving children getting eaten to some degree.

For a man whom barely scraped a C at GCSE English and never going on to do any sort of English Lit or Creative Writing course,  I consider each piece of creative writing to be a learning exercise for me and I don’t think I’ll be the finished article for a few years yet.

    Why do I write what I do?

I’m a huge believer in heroes. I think of all the fictional characters I grew up, all the movies, books and cartoons I still look back on with much fondness and I’d love to create that one character which kids of this or future generations look on with a similar feeling.

Also I simply love writing for children. I’ve never felt as proud of what I’m doing as the few times I’ve hosted public reading events and seeing these amazing, positive reactions from the kids to these characters I’ve created. Those moments make a lot of the other times where you struggle to get words down on a page all worthwhile

    How does your writing process work?

It’s not hugely different now to how it was when I started the first Amelia Black book back in 2009 (crikey!). With Amelia Black 1 it was definitely a case where I kept going just to see if I got the end. I’d never written anything longer than about 3000 words before that, never mind over 30,000 which the final book resulted in.

The process evolved gradually with A Boy Named Hogg. There was much more chapter planning and just writing short bits and bobs on small pieces of paper. Then when coming to Amelia Black 2 I built this up again and there’s a notebook of history and back story; some of which ends up in the book, some that will come later and stuff that only I know and maybe allude to with one line here and there.

The most fun I had constructing a story came from working on my short story, A Gurumapa in the Wood. I came across the legend of the beast while researching monsters for Amelia Black 2 and loved the name so much I wanted to make an entirely separate story for it just in a more familiar setting than ancient Asia. With a love for all things Disney I also wanted to have a story featuring talking animals and the rest pretty much fell into place.

My latest full length has probably been my biggest shift in my work process as I’m gathering parts of real life history in relation to Belfast, some of it truly surprising and really making me see the city in a new light.

I used to get quite intimidated when I heard other writers say they manage a few thousand words per sitting. I just can’t do that. I torture myself over every single word I put down on paper and will be my worst critic when I look back and know I could have done something better. Over time though I’ve became less scared of the whole process, after all, it’s only words.  


So there you have it! A brief glimpse into my haphazard world of writing. Please be sure to check out Mark's work, especially Deadfast and his wonderful entertainment site Bad Haven.

TTFN - Ta ta for now...

Thursday, 1 May 2014


Alo people...
As you may know I'm in the process of selling off a lot of vinyl for couple of reasons, I'm moving house soon, nothing to play it on and frankly a lot of it isn't really my thing. I'm undecided at this moment whether to hang on to The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac stuff but mostly everything else is probably going to be shipped on...
Paint Your Wagon Soundtrack
Easy Rider Soundtrack
The Graduate Soundtrack
Battlefield Band - Celtic Hotel
Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick - Prince Heathen
The Best of Ry Cooper
Fleetwood Mac - Greatest Hits
The Planxey Collection
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
George Strait - Great Strait
Paul Simon - Greatest Hits etc
Cliff Richard - Wired for Sound
Universal Energy
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life (DG)
Spud - The Happy Handful
Billy Connolly - Solo Concert (DG)
The Five Faces of Manfred Mann
Silly Sisters Maddy Prior & June Tabor
Jimmy Buffet - Changes in Attitude
Maddy Prior & Rick Kemp - Happy Families
Lyle Lovett S/T
Rowan Atkinson Live in Belfast
Don McLean - Prime Time
Van Morrison & The Chieftains - Irish Heartbeat
Crosby, Stills, Young & Nash - Deja Vu
Jimmy Rodgers - Famous Country Music Makers (DG)
Steve Gibbons - Rollin' On
Franz Schubert - Appeggione-Sonate, D21 (DG)
Alex Campbell - Folk Session
Various Artists - Here's to the Irish
Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down (DG)
ZZ Top - Eliminator
Judy Collins - A Maid of Constant Sorrow
John Williams - Bach Complete Flute Music
Various - Irish Folk Night
Yes - Relayer
Christmas Carols from Winchester Cathedral
The Chieftains Collection (DG)
Whitney - S/T
The Johnstons - The Barley Corn
Eric Clapton Best Of
The Rolling Stones - Love You Live (DG)
Diana Ross and the Supremes - Baby Love
Rickie Lee Jones - S/T
Little Richard - Aw Wop Bop a Loo Bop, A Wop Bam Boom
Leo Sayer Best Of Double Album
Paul Simon - Graceland
Eagles - Desperado
Nanci Griffith - One Fair Summer Evening
Neil Young - Comes A Time
John Lennon - Rock n Roll
The Beatles - Sgt Peopers
The Beatles - Revolver
The Beatles - Help
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
The Corrie Folk Trio - Cam Ye By Atholl
Huey Lewis and the News - Fore!
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
The Dubliners - Finnigan Wakes
Billy Joel - Songs in the Attic
Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses
Stevie Wonder - Greatest Hits
Highway - S/T
Planxty - S/T
Joe Cocker - With a Little Help From My Friends
Dvorak - Klavierquartette Op 23 & 87
Roberta Flack - The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
Antonio Carlos Jobim - Wave
Various - Hits 5
The Other Chet Atkins
The Jaques Loussier Trio - Play Bach
Joni Mitchell - Blue
James Taylor - S/T
Rory Gallagher - Fresh Evidence
Jethro Tull - Living in the Past
Paul Brady - S/T
The Rolling Stones - Best of (Double Album)
Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds
Planxty - The Well Below The Valley
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Dolly Parton - Divorce
It's The Dubliners
Flatt & Scruggs - Kings of Bluegrass
Planxty - Cold Blow and the Rainey Night
Trackster Blues - The Brunning Sunflower Band
Enquire within...

Monday, 18 November 2013

C.S. Lewis and Me

"C.S. Lewis was the first person to make me want to be a writer." - Neil Gaiman

As an author growing up in the East part of Belfast, the works of another author from the same area, Clive Staples Lewis were probably harder to avoid than bumping into Van Morrison while walking up Cyprus Avenue. His tales chronicling the magical world of Narnia lit up my childhood while in many ways influenced the world I created for Amelia Black many years later.

I remember as a boy, my older sister would take me to the Strand Cinema, not far from where we grew up. At the top of our street there was an old and rather frightful looking house; larger than ours but had fallen into disrepair, almost looking derelict. If you pass it today it's been restored to breathtaking quality but when I was about five or six years old my sister told me C.S. Lewis used to live in that very house. I never approached the house to see if those claims were indeed true and to this day I've had it neither confirmed or denied - perhaps in some ways I just don't want it to. I just didn't want to lose one of the few moments of mystery and magic left in my life.

Lewis of course died 23 years before I was born, on the same day as John F Kennedy's assassination and the passing of another great writer Aldous Huxley, so even if he did once take residence there his memory or any trace of his works which may have laid dormant in that house were condemned to the sands of time.

As a child you don't let such silly logic get in the way and my imagination wandered. Part of my badly wanted to creep into this house and possibly find lost works or maybe a final Chronicle of Narnia which was never published. Remembering this over 20 years later shows the sort of impact Lewis had on my life.

I'm not saying I'll ever be mentioned in the same breath as Lewis when all is said and done and people are asked to list 'Great Belfast Writers', far from it. The fact that one boy from East Belfast who spent his days reading Beatrix Potter and illustrating his own stories about animals can make that sort of impact always gave me the inspiration to do the same. Perhaps more so than Mr Gaiman, because of this local connection, Lewis was the first person to make me want to be a writer.

Starting today Belfast celebrates the man, the life, the myth and the legend of C.S. Lewis with the first Festival in his honour.

Please do come and maybe he'll also inspire you too...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Here I go again...

Wow, I never thought I would get to a point where I see one finished book by me never mind starting my fourth - well, fifth if you count A Gurumapa in the Wood - full length story. Anybody who has supported, encouraged or read my works to date I'm eternally grateful to you for getting me this far.

Now obviously I won't be dishing all the plot details right here and now because, to be honest, I don't even know all the details but that's part of the fun and adventure of writing a story. All I will say is this will be the first story I've written to be set in my home city of Belfast. I've always wanted to write a Belfast story rich in magic and myth but could never quite find the right hook or starting point until recently.

And I thought just to shake my own process up a bit, as well as make a point to blog on this thing more, I would document some of the journey in a way I haven't with my previous works. For me this book will be as much about telling a particular story, adding a bit of myth and mystery, as it is educating myself about a particular period of Belfast history I don't really know much about. It's a tale of fantasy but in some ways it also serves as a love letter to the beautifully flawed city I'm fiercely proud to have grown up in.

It might not see the light of day for a long time but every story has to start somewhere and mine begins in 1911...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Back to blogging. 2013 and beyond...

To say I've been neglectful of this blog over the course of 2013 is something of an understatement. I apologise for that. Many of you reading this have probably kept track of my movements through Twitters and Facebook and for the continued support I'm genuinely thankful.

I've decided to start blogging again for a few reasons, the main one being the need to write itself. I won't bore you with the whimsical nature of it all, I'm just out of practice writing text which isn't 140 characters or status updates. So I'll start with a few announcements to get the ball rolling again...

I sat down with my dear friend Heather McGarrigle on her Patchwork Quill blog a week or so ago to chat about writing and self publishing. To read what I had to say on the subject as well as talking about Amelia Black and Sebastian Hogg and also to visit her brilliant blog just click here...


The amazing staff at Ryan's Bar have asked me back for the second year in a row to host a family reading event as part of Belfast Restaurant Week 2013. It's next Saturday, October 6th 2013, it should be kicking off at 3pm and I'll be reading from my free short e-book (still available to download folks!) I released earlier in the year, A Gurumapa in the Wood, and will be giving away a limited number of printed copies to any reader interested in taking it home as a bedtime story.

All the details are at this link here... Bring the kids and come on down, if nothing else the food in Ryan's is terrific.

Free books!

  • HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013...SO FAR...

I've had a lot of really proud moments this year in regards to my writing, with hopefully more to come, but I thought I would highlight two particular moments which stand above the rest. First was being asked to take part in a huge family reading event during the 2013 Belfast Book Festival. Huge thank you to Hugh Odling-Smee and his team for asking me to do it, was a real honour as it's not something I think I particular deserve yet. Huge thanks to the children and parents on the day who lent me their ears to hear Amelia Black's story were fantastic.

Photo taken by Alana Fraser
The only thing that could top that happened around a month ago. I got an e-mail from the mother of a girl who attended my first reading in Ryan's Bar last year, who loved The Unseen Chronicles of Amelia Black so much she asked her mum to make her an Amelia Black birthday cake. An...Amelia...Black...birthday cake. 

I still have trouble trying to comprehend how that makes me feel. All I know is it makes me very proud. 

You know it's funny, I've written three books (we'll get to the third in a moment) yet I've never truly thought that the stories have made that much of an impression on anyone - through a mixture of muddled self confidence and light hearted self-deprecation. Of all the amazing literary creations there are in the world, the Harry Potters, Percy Jacksons, Katniss Everdeens, Hungry Caterpillars, Spot the Dogs, Cats in the Hat, she chose my Amelia Black. That's just unbelievable. 

All I can say is I hope she had a fantastic birthday and the cake tasted as amazing as it looks. 

Photo from the Eclectic Cake-Box 

I find it's always best to think ahead. I currently have two projects in the pipeline I'm not ready to talk about yet but besides that, I finished the first draft of my third book earlier this year. It's still not how I would like it to be but should be here around Summer 2014. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll know what it's called but if not here is a rough, rather botched Photoshop, mock up of the logo by me...

This is why I employ outside illustrators...

Not much else to report for now but I hope to get back into the way of blogging nonsensical ramblings once again. Thank you for reading as always.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Come one and all and hear the tale...

It's here! It's finally here!

“Come one and all and hear the tale of a little boy named Hogg...”

On the dullest day since records began, there was a birth. The birth of a boy named Sebastian Hogg. An unfortunate child born into a home deprived of hope and full of bitte

All this changes when he meets a mysterious stranger who takes him on a road trip full of wonder and excitement. From folky musicians to vaudeville tricksters, Sebastian is opened up to a rich and vibrant world he had never thought possible with a real sense of danger lurking around every corner, and where the consequences of actions could impact on the very fibre of existence.

At its core this picturesque fable tells of the power of an unbreakable friendship between two innocent beings and its impact on their lives and those around them.

Moving, uplifting, at times dark and macabre, a tale where magic and science collide in the most marvellous way. Come with me and hear the tale of A Boy Named Hogg.

Thank you,

Sincerely, A.G.R. Moore.

Available to buy on Amazon Kindle and related Kindle apps for £2.06 :: HERE!
And for non e-book lovers, you aren't left out, here it is in glorious paperback for £6.99 :: HERE!