This week’s author spotlight is southwest Philadelphia native, T.H. Moore. He’s an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. His career as an Information Technology Consultant and Real-Estate investor has allowed him to travel to many countries worldwide and the majority of the United States. Blending experience with imagination helped formulate the basis of and inspired him to write his first novel, The End Justifies the Means.
His second novel, The Devil’s Whisper, is uniquely creative fiction that ventures away from the inspiration of his own life experiences. In The Devil’s Whisper, he dives into a darker set of dual protagonists whose sole objective is to survive the circumstances of the world they live in. T.H. Moore is the proud father of one son, Jason, and currently resides in Virginia, where he is working on the next two installments of The Devil’s Whisper trilogy.
Christina: What is your Swagger? What makes T.H. , T.H.?
T.H.: No one’s ever asked me that before. I’d have to say, thanks to a hyperactive imagination, I’ve been fortunate to have never experienced writer’s block. When I sit down to write, I literally close my eyes and type the scenes I see developing in my mind. I see and hear everything, the different characters, their shapes and stature, different accents, the inflections in their voices, and even the clothes they wear. My writing style is based on vividly painting a picture so that my readers are watching a movie on ivory pages instead of the silver screen.
Christina: You are an I.T. consultant and real estate investor; both are very lucrative career paths. Why did you decide to venture into and pursue writing?
T.H.: I’ve always had a natural love for storytelling. Being raised as an only child, I spent a lot of time watching television and watching movies. That overdose of cinematic stimulation combined with a hyperactive imagination and a story was bound to spill out of me eventually. But ultimately, I have Wesley Snipes and the unceremonious closing to the Blade Trilogy franchise to thank for inspiring me to write my first novel, The End Justifies the Means.
Part I had me hooked, part II was even better, so I was salivating waiting for part III. But halfway through watching Blade III, I disappointedly walked out of the theatre. While walking back to my apartment, I impulsively said to myself, “I could have written a better story than that.” And that’s when the light bulb went off. A month later, I had completed my first rough draft of The End Justifies the Means. Wesley Snipes, I owe you a drink.
Christina: Your first book, The End Justifies the Means, takes readers through the life and journey of Jalen Carthane. He goes through plenty of lows and highs. Can you explain how you came up with this character? Do you believe a lot of young men can relate to Jalen?
T.H.: Absolutely! I grew up alongside many Jalens, and I added my own personal experiences to fully develop Jalen’s character. Ultimately, the story is creative fiction, but it’s an equally honest representation of the obstacle many young men like me had to overcome. I was born in Southwest Philly and raised in Camden, New Jersey. There are Jalens in every major American city where police abuse their power, politicians are self-serving, and the decline of economic opportunity spawns criminality.
Christina: You are a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Can you tell the readers how being a part of that brotherhood has changed and shaped your life?
T.H.: My older cousin introduced me to Omega while I was still in high school. So, when I was accepted to Morgan State University in Baltimore, I already knew I wanted to be a Que. I wasn’t fortunate enough to pledge undergrad, but I persevered and earned my way into the fold soon after graduating. The life lessons and genuine friendships I developed while at Morgan State University in Baltimore were instrumental in my development into the man I am now. I still carry them with me as I continue to navigate life and my career.
Christina: What inspires you daily to continue your work as an author?
T.H.: Honestly, I must make a conscious effort to not let my imagination steal me from reality. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I don’t require much inspiration because it’s almost like I’m living in a constant state of storytelling in my mind. TV shows, general conversations, and even washing my car will trigger my mind to naturally drift into a story. These stories flood my imagination with full dialogue and vivid scenery, and before I realize it, I’m lost in a full-blown original scene.
Once I was on a commuter train going to work, just looking out the window, and a story began forming in my imagination. I was wide awake, present in body but not in mind. The passing scenery outside the train’s window had hypnotized me. I was so mentally invested in the developing scene that at one point, I mouthed, out loud, dialogue from one of the characters. The person sitting next to me thought I was crazy, got up, and changed seats. Being completely honest with myself, I couldn’t blame her. I had completely forgotten that I was on a train. Mentally, I’d checked out and was transported to a cinematic playground in my imagination. It scared me for a moment.
Christina: You say that your newest novel, I AM…, is a “literary warning to America.” Can you tell us about I AM…? What inspired you to write this new book, and what can readers expect?
T.H.: You’re correct. I wrote I AM… as a literary warning to America. This country is on a wicked trajectory regarding our race relations, and I felt the need to instigate an unsettling yet overdue conversation. We need this uncomfortable conversation because continuing to willfully ignore it is equivalent to a seaboard state ignoring the fury of an oncoming hurricane barreling towards its shores. And I don’t want to see this country fail.
As New York Times Bestselling author, Omar Tyree, said in his review of I AM… readers can expect an audacious story and read! In I AM… I play clairvoyant and, without apology, tell a story of a community who decides to unleash their wrath after being targeted by police brutality. Readers can expect a story about a community who collectively draw their line in the sand and dare murderous police officers to cross it.
Christina: Were there any challenges that you faced while writing this book? If so, what were they, and how did you overcome them?
T.H.: Since this book addresses police brutality, I made a conscious effort to be fair in telling the story from both a civilian and law enforcement perspective. So, my two main characters, Sandy and Xavier, are a happily married couple whose lives are turned upside down after the death of their godchild at the hands of a police officer. The challenge I faced was not having a law enforcement background. So, I relied heavily on three of my closest friends, who are law enforcement on a local and federal level, to provide that vital perspective I didn’t have for this story.
The four of us had a lot of very difficult conversations, but when those conversations concluded, we all were able to emerge from them more empathetic than we entered. There were valid points of view from all sides.
Christina: What is some advice you can give to young men living in today’s climate? Any advice to young people out there who aspire to be authors?
T.H.: Freedom and liberty require constant maintenance. The rights we enjoy come at a cost. You must invest time, be strategically patient, and when all else fails, you must be willing to lay down your life to preserve the freedom a man deserves. I understand that can sound extreme or even morbid, but if you can name me one civilization that was created and preserved without conflict, I’ll change my answer. The unsettling truth is, at some point, men have to decide if they’re going to live on their knees or die on their feet.
Thus far, our community has been one of the most forgiving, living timidly on its knees. Eventually, we will have to stand up and be resolute in demanding our freedom and liberty. Assimilation has repeatedly proven itself to be false salvation for an American climate. A revolution is required.
For all aspiring authors, especially those who want to be independent artists, prepare yourself for rejection. “I like your story, but I’m not in love with it” will be the common theme in your rejection letters from literary agents and publishing houses. Second, don’t take constructive criticism personally. Criticism is triggering, but these critiques will make you a better writer/storyteller. Lastly, writing is like medicine; you practice it and never master it. Even Grisham writes every day.
Christina: Is there anything else you would like to share?
T.H.: As a community, we must accept that life will only be as fair as we make it. Suppose our aim is to assimilate into a culture with the objective of proving our worthiness of acceptance into a society that doesn’t want us. In that case, we’ll never experience true freedom and liberty.
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