On writing my debut novel and what writing means to me in general

Published 9:37 am Friday, November 8, 2013

It’s hard for me to remember when I first began crafting stories. If you let my mother tell it, she’ll say that I’ve been making them up and writing them since grade school. I dismissed that until I was talking to my older cousin who basically said the same thing. The earliest I remember was in high school, when my English teacher at I.C. Norcom, Mrs. McGhee, told me she was signing me up for her Creative Writing class the following semester. She bumped one of my electives without my knowledge and put me in there. Thankfully, I learned the foundations of writing and crafting a short story. I haven’t stopped since.

I did take a break though. Between college and trying to earn a living as a young adult, there’s very little time for anything else in the world. Add in a child and there isn’t any time for a writer. It wasn’t until 2008 that I picked up the pen again and decided to write a novel about what I knew, saw and dreamed of. The end result was “Stairway to Heaven,” which happens to be the third installment in “The Forlorn Hope” series. People read it and had so many questions about the origins of the characters, I felt compelled to write a prequel. I went so far back in time that I had to fill in the gaps, and that’s how “The Forlorn Hope” series was born.

With that, my first novel, “Dinner Thieves,” is out. It is the first installment in “The Forlorn Hope” series and is predominately set in the Portsmouth of 1995, when things were a little out of control, so to speak. I chose that time frame because it was one that shaped the characters in the series and greatly influenced me as a writer.

The term forlorn hope comes from an ancient military tradition of sending troops out on missions with no expectation of them ever succeeding or even returning alive. That’s how the area I grew up in was and still is to this day. You have to try to cheat the cards and beat the odds. I guess by working toward my goals, I’ve done just that.

Never in my life would I have thought I’d be writing for a newspaper and a magazine. Never would I have even thought I’d talk with people in Hollywood or publish a book with any hopes of success. But that’s just life. You make plans and prepare to make quick adjustments on the road to your dreams. That’s exactly what I’ve done with writing, what plenty of you have done with your lives, and what the characters in “Dinner Thieves” have done with the streets.

We all have used our resources to the best of our abilities.

Sidney Moore is a contributing writer of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at sidburgundy@gmail.com.