Stephanie Perry Moore is a Christian Fiction Author
of several novels including A Lova' Like No Otha'; the very popular
Payton Skky series; Carmen Browne series; and the Laurel Shadrach
Vanessa Davis Griggs: Stephanie Perry Moore, you've
penned quite a collection of books. Tell us about you? The Who?
The Whats? And the Where from?
Stephanie Perry Moore: Great question. I'm from the
south. I was born in Charleston, SC. Raised in Virginia. Graduated
from high school and college in AL (Auburn University lived in
Montgomery), and I now live in GA. I am married to former NFL
player, Derrick Moore, who is the chaplain with FCA for the Georgia
Tech Yellow Jacket football team. So a lot of my writing deals
with his sport because I've been around it. We have two spunky,
fun girls that are in elementary school. People often ask me,
"I love your ministry how can I pray for you?" I answer,
"Pray for the family."
Griggs: What led you to start writing in the first
Moore: Well, I used to write episodes of the Cosby
Show when I was in middle school for fun. Didn't ever get them
to Bill Cosby, however, it did give me a love for wanting to
pursue that field. Actually, writing for television and film
is still where I hope God takes me to one day.
Once an adult, I spent time in the Christian bookstore as
I wanted to grow closer to God. I stumbled upon the section called
Christian fiction and just felt a real void by not seeing any
characters that I could identify with.
Griggs: Take us through your personal journey to become
a published author?
Moore: Wow, it took me seven years to get published.
I tried to get an agent at first and that brought me three rejections.
I then sent a baby name book that was never published to companies;
I got several rejections. Since my husband was playing for the
Detroit Lions, he was him speaking all over the city and meeting
several wonderful people. He gave me a hook-up when he mentioned
to the right people about my African-American Christian, teen
novel. Two years from that meeting, my first title in the Payton
Series came out. I guess you could say God worked it out His
way, in His time.
Griggs: You are quite versatile when it comes to writing
for various age groups. I see the series you've developed for
teens, but you also write adult Christian fiction. Why do you
write for teens? And how hard is it to go from different age
groups and make it work?
Moore: I write for teens because I feel called to let
young folks know that they can be cool and do their thing, but
they can still strive to honor God in the process. It's hard
being young, but with God on their side, life is easy. I pray
my books spread that message.
It hasn't been hard for me thus far changing over in audiences.
The characters move my story, and the Lord guides my prose. So
with the mix, I've been happily able to make all of it work.
Griggs: For those who might not know about your work,
tell us a little about each series as well as your other single
Moore: Fun, fun. Authors love telling this part. The
Lord has blessed me to have 14 titles in print at the moment.
I have two teen series, one pre-teen series and two adult titles.
Payton Skky Series is my African-American character that is a
senior in high school at the start. There are five books dealing
with five tough issues per book. Book 1-Staying Pure is
about teen dating. The message there is: it doesn't matter if
you displease a guy or a girl in your dating relationship by
not going as far as they may like; all that matters is that you
please God. Book 2-Sober Faith takes place around graduation
and prom time when the kids like to celebrate with something
other than punch. My message is get high, so to speak off of
the Word of God. Book 3-Saved Race deals with racial issues.
The message is that the only race that will count in the end
is the one that is saved. Book 4-Sweetest Gift deals with
self-esteem, and Book 5-Surrendered Heart's main theme
My sweet white girl series, I call it, Laurel Shadrach has
five books as well. The two series cross over when Payton and
Laurel go to college. They meet in Book 3 and become roommates.
I have strong male characters that are athletes in all these
Carmen Browne is my latest work written for 8-12 year olds.
It will be five books in all. Currently only Book 1-True Friends,
dealing with friendship issues and Book 2-Sweet Honesty,
teaching pre-teens the importance of telling the truth, are the
only titles in the series out.
In my two adult novels, Flame and A Lova' Like No
Otha', I write a juicier read. The characters are older so
they push the envelope more. However, they learn great lessons
in both books about how following God first and making Him the
ultimate love of one's life is one when true happiness can come.
Griggs: Why write Christian fiction? What do you hope
Moore: In Christian fiction titles, I try to tell a
drama-packed story with a biblical message. It's like extending
church for folks. It's good to be entertained, but it is life
changing to be inspired. I hope to move all my readers closer
to the Lord.
Griggs: What's been the most frustrating part of being
published? What's the joy?
Moore: Oh boy, the tough question. With several books
out, I get asked often am I rich? I haven't gotten to the level
in my publishing life where this could be all I do. You know,
just write, write, write. Thankfully, I have a husband who considers
me a stay-at-home mom. So my income isn't that important. However,
I'd like more financially.
Also, I struggle with finding publishing houses to understand
what I do. I'm not writing one thing. I hope to be seen one day
as an expert in what I'm trying next to get published. Not an
expert because of any skills or kudos I give to myself, but because
I feel all my ideas are God-given. And my track record proves
that once published the majority that reads my work loves it.
If I could get more freedom to create what the Lord lays on my
heart, then I'd enjoy the road to putting out new and different
The joy in all this is, simply, for me. I love having readers
tell me how my books have been a blessing. These type comments
make this publishing journey I'm on, more than worth it.
Griggs: What do you look for in books that you read?
Moore: I love to read books by my fellow Christian
authors, both fiction and non-fiction. I need to be inspired,
strengthened, empowered and challenged in the titles I read.
Griggs: People say Christian fiction is a hot and growing
market, especially African-American Christian fiction. Where
do you see things going? Do you feel authors as well as what
readers are demanding is headed in the right direction?
Moore: I see the Christian fiction market growing.
These are tough times we're living in, and people need direction.
Books that lead them to the One who can guide their feet, is
what I think more believers will crave in the future. I truly
feel that once people read a book that has a message and a positive
point to it, their standards become higher and they don't want
to read books that, at the end, leave them empty and more in
pain than when they began the novel. The more people start demanding
publishers put out more titles with substance is when I think
we'll be heading in the right direction.
Griggs: I know you're working on something new. Can
you share a hint of it with us?
Moore: Yes, I've got things in the works for all three
of my markets. One is a tween series about two sisters. This
will be fun because the adventurous storyline has a big twist.
You'll have to pick it up and read it to find out what that is.
Also, I am writing my first boy series (Prime
Choice). Payton Skky has a brother, Perry Skky Jr., and
I am penning a book about this cool, highly-recruited young man.
Then I have three adult titles. One title is called Chasing
Faith. I love this book because it's different, yet similar
to my two other adult titles. The main character is an FBI agent.
This makes the book take a bit of a thriller twist. However,
the love story weaved throughout the book makes it a classic
Stephanie Perry Moore style. The main point is simply: God loves
up in the Up and Down times of our lives. He is always there.
I look for all these ideas to be out in print one of these ole
For now, I'm thrilled about my new two-book deal for a Nashville
native, 13 year-old, Faith Thomas. She's a sassy 8th grader with
a lot on the ball. She's also smart, athletic and really cool.
It also doesn't hurt that her famous father is one of the country's
best, Christian singers. However, she's not totally happy, and
she doesn't know why. Faith is a character that most teen girls
will easily identify with. She's searching for something and
by the book's end, she'll have found what can make her life whole-a
relationship with Jesus Christ. Book 1 is due out January '07.
Griggs: How can readers contact you?
Moore: My website is www.StephaniePerryMoore.com. I
love to get emails about speaking or signing or any comment that
a reader wishes to make to my personal email at email@example.com.
Griggs: Thanks, Stephanie for your time. You are certainly
a remarkable, talented, and persistent woman. I know God has
great things in store for you!
Moore: Thank you for the interview. I personally love
your work. You keep up the dynamic work yourself.
- I would like to thank Stephanie Perry Moore for granting
us this wonderful and enlightening interview. If you haven't
already done so, I encourage you to check out her books.
- Interview by: Vanessa Davis Griggs, Author of: Promises
Beyond Jordan & Wings of Grace (Web site: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com)
- Copyright © 2005
For permission to use this interview, contact Vanessa Davis Griggs