The Moors - Jody Medland
I loved the concept behind this work: a journalist going undercover to expose a dark and sinister place, too many secrets, and a rumored monster who terrorizes the home. The set up was great - I was hooked immediately. If this had been a Netflix Horror Movie, it would have been added to my queue immediately. I love "creature features."
The plot is very well written, I had no trouble keeping up with the information the main character was stumbling across. While I found myself asking a few additional questions, overall I had no issues with where the plot led.
While I was not exactly appeased by the conclusion of the work, I give the author credit for choosing to go down a unique path instead of wrapping it all up in a nice and neat little bow. But I definitely found myself wanting more as I closed the book.
Despite that small detail, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the work and would definitely recommend it.
Some Bio Information
JODY MEDLAND is an award-winning writer who has worked successfully across the advertising, education, film, gaming, literary and television industries.
His debut feature film, The Adored, was released in the States in 2013 and has since enjoyed worldwide distribution, including territories such as the UK, Germany, Poland and Uganda. It won Best Film at the Durban Film Festival in South Africa and earned three official selections in Wales, Germany and the US.
Jody is deeply passionate about his literary work and from 2011-2012 he produced and published ten short story books, titled The Emerging Light Series – a project that encouraged new writers to create and submit short stories.
It is the ability to wield strong, original concepts that Jody is renowned for among his peers and he is a great fan of dramas, thrillers and mystical stories, which are his genres of choice when writing.
1. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write this book.
Well it actually started as a screenplay. When I was a teenager, I was living in Devon and saving the money to move to London so I could get work experience in film. I had a summer job delivering bouncy castles and there was this one place – right in the middle of Exmoor – that was beautiful by day but terrifying at night. In the evening when I picked the bouncy castle back up, the engine of my van started spluttering and I wondered what I would do if I broke down. If you’ve ever been on your own in the middle of a place like Exmoor in the early hours of the morning, you’ll understand exactly why my brain was ticking! I had a few wild ideas that seemed to formulate over the next few days, and that became the catalyst for The Moors.
2. How long did it take you to put your work together?
That’s a tough one to answer. I wrote it as a script, went to places like Cannes Film Festival, touted it around and got some interest. In fact, I raised £800,000 of in-kind sponsorship, but I needed £1.7 million to make the film and I wasn’t quite well connected enough to secure the hard cash, so it didn’t quite get off the ground. I had producers offering to buy the script, but only if I forfeited the right to direct the film, so I declined. After that, I stepped away from The Moors for about ten years, but I always knew I would pick it up again when the time was right. Last summer, I decided it would work well as a novel and so I started writing. Within six weeks, the first draft was complete, and then I did about six months’ worth of rewrites. So as you can see, it’s hard to really know where time started and stopped. It was always at the back of my mind and so you could say it was about twelve years in the making.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
For this project, it was very confused. Ha! Adapting something from a screenplay to a novel is pretty rare, but it was actually quite an enlightening experience. I literally cut and pasted the script in a Word document and then went through making notes about what I felt was missing, and where details needed to be fleshed out, etc. I’m an obsessive note taker, so I had scores of pieces of paper with ideas scribbled from the past decade – all for when I resumed work on the story again. It might sound a bit manic but, rather oddly, everything just seemed to fall into place. It was honestly one of the best writing experiences I’d had, but I feel like I’d been writing it subconsciously for a long time. In many ways, the creation of The Moors goes against everything I’ve learnt about how to structure a piece of work, but what can I say? It worked out, and I’m very proud of it.
4. What was your least favorite part of the writing process?
The edits. Any writer worth their salt knows how essential editing is, but when you have a great new idea and you start working on it, there’s no greater feeling. You’re on a high for weeks and months as you write, but in the cold light of day when you read it all back, you realise that to get it in good enough shape for the marketplace, you’re probably going to have to read it between fifteen and twenty times to highlight and fix the things that don’t quite work. By the end, you feel like you never want to read it again, and so I find the editing process a painful one. Of course, whenever I talk to somebody who’s a fan of the book though, it feels more than worth it.
5. How would you describe your writing style?
I find it difficult to judge my own style. One thing I guess I can objectively say is that my concepts are quite bold and daring, and everything I do is very character-led. My interest is in people and how they react in unique situations. Many of the characters in my stories are under huge pressures of some kind, and I think that’s when people are at their most interesting – when their backs are completely against the wall. I’m very interested in relationships and motivations. What makes us do the things we do? Why I think my work is quite bold is that I usually take on storylines that put a spin on tradition. It may be that my subject matter isn’t always entirely believable, yet the challenge of making readers believe in it anyway, and also have a deep personal experience, is the whole reason I write.
6. What is your ultimate writing goal?
All I know is that writing is the only natural gift I have. For some reason, coming up with original ideas is a knack I was born with and I can sit and write for hours on end, and never get bored. I think when you can do something for 18-hours a day and still want to do it the next, you need to realise you’re lucky and keep going. I don’t think I’ll learn the reason for why I write in my lifetime. I just honestly feel like it’s the reason I’m here and so I do it every day. Of course, it would be nice to be recognised within the industry in some kind of grand way, but I wouldn’t be too upset if that day never come. Whenever I’m approached by somebody who excitedly talks to me about something I’ve written – when I can tell that they get the story and that it’s affected them somehow – there’s honestly no other feeling like it. Equally, now that I run my own publishing company, I’m getting just as much of a kick out of our other authors’ work. There are a handful of books coming out this year that I just can’t wait for people to see, so I’m trying not to set many goals other than to expand the company and get more content into readers’ hands.
7. What would you like readers to take away from your work?
It depends on the subject. With my fictional books, I’d just like the readers to be entertained because escapism is an extremely powerful thing to be able to offer. Whenever I work on non-fiction, I just hope that the message sticks. For instance, we’re releasing a book in June – a memoir, titled Street Girl. It documents the life of a young girl who grew up on the streets of Brazil and faced violence, rape and torture on a daily basis. The things she went through – even by the time she was my daughter’s age – should never be experienced by anyone. The reason I wanted to publish it is because the Olympics are in Brazil this year and I’m fully aware of how glamorous the country will be made to look while the event’s on. What I want to do is let people know there’s a whole other side to the country that needs to be addressed. I have a meeting lined up with the Brazilian Embassy and I’ve also secured the author some air time on TV this week. We’ll do what we can to get the message out there over the next few months because I thinks it’s an important one, so depending on the content our any given release, I think the takeaways for the reader will always be different.