Illinois author Gary W. Moore is mainly known for his non-fiction writing. In "Playing with the Enemy," he wrote about his father's experience teaching German prisoners of war to play baseball.
Another book, "Hey Buddy," chronicled the 1959 plane crash that killed performers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Moore now has written a novel that contain threads of a real life story. The Kankakee-born author will discuss his novel, "The Final Service," Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Bloomington.
"The Final Service" is the story of a middle-aged woman who confronts the truth about her late father when she is forced to sort through a warehouse of his belongings. The story, Moore says, was inspired by a chance encounter with a teacher he met during one of his speaking engagements.
"I walked over to her and asked her why she was crying. She said, 'My father was just diagnosed with lung cancer, he's is dying and I'm so angry at him.' I thought she was angry because he was dying. I found out she felt he was an embarrassment to the family ... He was an alcoholic and a hoarder," Moore said. "There's a lot of people walking around who harbor anger toward their parents that was never resolved. I thought this is a book that will help people, though it's a work of fiction, it's an entertainment, it can help them resolve these issues."
Speaking on GLT's "Sound Ideas," Moore said he wasn't prepared for readers' response to the book. "In the last six weeks I've received hundreds of emails, letters, phone calls from people, some of them weeping, saying they wish they would have read this book before their parent died, or that they're grateful they read this book before their parent died," he said. "The Final Service" has been optioned to become a feature film, as has Moore's previous non-fiction book about his father's World War II experience, "Playing With the Enemy."
Moore now lives in Bourbonnais, IL, south of Chicago.
In a far-ranging interview, he talked about why it's easier for him to write fiction than non-fiction; how he researched his book on the death of Buddy Holly with a retired National Transportation Safety Board official; and the potential pitfalls of having your book adapted into a film.
In addition to his writing career, Moore is a musician, pilot and motivational speaker. He ran a distribution business with his father in Illinois before turning fulltime to writing. His son, Toby Moore, is an actor who has appeared in the films "A Separate Peace" and "The President's Daughter" and will have a leading road in film based on his father's new novel.