Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Michael Moreci?
I am the man behind the curtain, the eye in the sky watching us all.
Kidding, kidding. First and foremost, I’m a dad. I stay at home with my two boys, and they are my life to a very profound degree. After that, I’m a writer. I’ve been writing professionally (or at least close to professionally) for a few years now; I got my start in comics, creating/writing books like Roche Limit, Burning Fields, Hoax Hunters, Curse, and more. I’ve also been lucky enough to write for established characters like Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Conan the Barbarian, The Shadow, to name a few. Now, I’ve written a novel. Writing books has always been my passion; I’ve been writing prose since I was a teenage and followed that all through college and graduate school. Finally, around two years ago, I got my break and, viola, Black Star Renegades was born.
Your new novel, BLACK STAR RENEGADES, was recently published by St. Martin’s Press. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
I would introduce Black Star Renegades as a space adventure novel in the spirit of Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Flash Gordon, things like that. It tells the story of Cade Sura, a young man who, circumstantially, comes into possession of a powerful weapon. He’s not the best choice to have it, but if he doesn’t figure out how to make the most of having this thing, then the entire galaxy is in danger of falling into the hands of the evil Praxis kingdom. It’s fun, it’s lighthearted — someone recently called it a beach read for nerds, and I totally agree.
And it is part of a series. I just turned in the first draft of book two last month!
What inspired you to write the story? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
My main source of inspiration is Star Wars. It’s how this book was born. I’m a huge, HUGE Star Wars fan (I actually write for StarWars.com) and those films have taught me pretty much everything I know about storytelling. It’s impacted me in a profound way since I was a kid, on a personal level, and it will forever be my muse. Black Star Renegades follows in its tradition, we’ve been upfront about that in the marketing, but I also think it deconstructs the tradition a bit as well and is very much its own thing as well.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
I was lucky enough to have really liberal parents who pretty much let me watch whatever I wanted as a kid. And seeing that I was the youngest kid on my block, I was exposed to quite a bit of things that were way over my head when I was very little. I started playing video games when I was like four, I saw Friday the 13th for the first time when I was six; I remember, clearly, seeing The Search for Spock at a drive-in, also when I was four, and of course, I started watching Star Wars when I was around the same age. Genre, to say the least, has been in my blood ever since I was aware of the world around me, and it’s never left. From there, it grew to books, particularly when I was twelve and I discovered the expanded Star Wars universe (I’ll never forget reading Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy) and extended into high school when my English teacher handed me a copy of Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
I love it. I totally love it. Not a day goes by that I don’t recognize how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, and I’m grateful to be here. I’m so very fortunate, with Black Star Renegades, to have terrific people from St. Martin’s around me, to have great publicists, and an amazing agent.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
The best practice I have is that I simply write a lot. I write and write and write. I’m a particularly fast writer, but I’m a dedicated one, and I think that’s the best practice of all. Writing is a job; I don’t believe in inspiration or being moved by the muses. You get in the chair, and you get to it, knowing most of what you do is going to be pretty bad and will take a lot of reworking. But that’s the gig. It’s okay to not be good so long as you don’t let it stop you. I mean, heck — you can be a baseball player and fail seven out of ten at-bats and still be considered a success (a .300 batting average is very good, for those who don’t know). So it goes with writing. You just have to keep stepping up to the plate, time and time again, knowing three out of time isn’t so bad.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
Since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. I’ve always, always wanted to tell stories. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember — short stories, comics, even attempts at novels when I was as young as ten years old. It was a lot of learning, and a lot of frustration because hardly anything I was trying to do worked out as planned, but I still look back on it with a ton of fondness. Like it says in The War of Art — I’d rather be getting my skull crushed in on the field than watching from the sidelines. Even my worst days as a writer — now or when I was eleven years old — are better than anything else I could be trying to do.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
Genre has never been better, particularly if you’re looking at mainstream accessibility. I mean, genre movies own the box office right now, and the stigma often associated with genre reading is diminishing every day. You can see people on a train reading Scalzi or Bradbury or Robert Jordan, Sanderson, whoever, and it’s not looked down upon as a lesser form of art of entertainment. It’s a great time to be writing this type of fiction, to be creating these worlds. Like so many other genre writers, I’m just trying to do my best work and craft stories that are compelling, that have something meaningful to say, and, like most good sci-fi, help usher us into the world of tomorrow — and that means furthering diversity, inclusion, and trying to understand the world through the power of fiction.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
Oh, so many projects, The life of a writer! Right now, I have a new sci-fi comic series coming, called Wasted Space. It’s kind of Preacher by way of Philip K. Dick. That comes in April. After that is a spy novel I wrote, which is due out in June. Black Star Renegades II is due in early 2019. And, at the moment, I’m working on a new series of novels, a teenage fantasy series, which I hope to get going in earnest very soon.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
If you could recommend only one novel to someone, what would it be?
Whoa — this is a tough (and great) question. I’d say Slaughterhouse-Five. No novel, in my opinion, is more human, funnier, moving, and entertaining as Vonnegut’s masterpiece. It’s wildly accessible, life-affirming, and just plain beautiful.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I was once blind in my left eye! Well, I was blinded. I got shot right in the eye with a paintball gun, and my vision WAS GONE. Took a couple of surgeries to bring it back — thank goodness for modern medicine.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
You know, I just to want to get a foothold in the publishing world and do everything I can — everything possible — to ensure that I can continue to tell stories, to write novels, for a long, long time. I love what I do, and I never want to stop.