BookView Interview with Author Charles Moore

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we talked to Charles Moore about his writing and the recently released book, The Black Market: A guide to art collecting. He has published work on the subject of contemporary arts and related topics on Artnet, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, and many other places.

Charles Moore has published work on the subject of contemporary arts and related topics on Artnet, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, and many other places. Based in New York City, he graduated from Harvard University and currently a doctoral student at Columbia University. For more information, please visit http://charlessmoore.com

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Charles Moore: I learned this during my time in Italy. I lived in Rome from 6/2009 until 12/2011. When I first arrived in Rome, I was lucky enough to be in the careful hands of an American university. However, once I lived in the city for a while I realized if I were to have a real cultural experience I needed to know the language. I started taking lessons, watching films in the cinema, listening to the radio, and engaging in conversation with Italians every chance I got. It wasn’t until after I left I realized how powerful those experiences were. One day in nyc, 4 years after I’d returned. I ran into a 2 couples on the street early one Sunday morning. They asked me for directions. We were steps away from their destination. I immediately understood they were Italian and struggling with English to ask their question. I responded in Italian and the rest was history. Since then, these two 70+ year old couples have been like family. We chat via phone, text, and we’ve met multiple times since that encounter. If it weren’t for the power of language, we wouldn’t have become friends.

What does literary success look like to you?

Charles Moore: Literary success comes in two different forms. 1. Is the respect from my peers. Those who work, live, and exist in the industry and are experts or highly experienced in the subject I write about. Those are my peers and I would feel successful if they enjoyed my writing and learned something from it. 2. I write about art, artists, and art collecting. These subjects are intimidating to some. I try to write in a manner that maintains a high level of intellect, yet it doesn’t come across as elitists. I want those who are not in this area to be inspired and engaged because from my writing method I have them in mind. If they continue to want to read my work, and they are inspired by the stories I tell, then I would feel successful.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel?

Charles Moore: I haven’t written a novel yet. I plan to start one soon. I find it difficult to not only tell a story that hasn’t been told, but also continue to engage with a reader and keep their interests. I find that readers can be critical on not only the writing, but if the character is likeable.

How many hours a day do you write?

Charles Moore: I write about one hour per day on average. I don’t write everyday. I wish I did. But I do write in large chunks and find that is a good method for me.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Charles Moore: It depends. Some days I write and everything just flows. I could write a day’s worth of work in two hours and feel so fulfilled. Some days if I’m writing on a dense subject I find it exhausting.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Charles Moore: I was just sitting in the Harvard Club of NY today and a member overheard my conversation about my book. He was fascinated and wanted to ask me how I did it. He’s a Ph.D/MD. He told me about this interesting idea he had for a book, but hadn’t started it. Actually, he wrote an outline but couldn’t get any further. I felt a lot of doubt in his voice on whether he thought he could do it or not. On whether the book would sell. I told him, he’s talking himself out of something great. He should just write the book and worry about the marketing later. I bet there are a lot of aspiring writers who worry about things that hinder them from starting and finishing a book, like marketing.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Charles Moore: It depends. If your big ego projects into a finished polished product, then great. But if your ego is so big that you can’t listen to reasoning from an editor or expert who may give you great advice on improving a book, then it hurts.

How often you read?

Charles Moore: I read every day. Something. I try to read books almost daily. I find that the kindle app is great for helping me stay on track. If I’m not reading books I’m definitely reading from news outlets I like, including; Bloomberg, NY Times, WSJ, Artnet, Artsy Editorial, Robb Report, to name a few.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Charles Moore: I try to be better than everyone else. Original is definitely a way to set yourself apart from the pack.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Charles Moore: Why did you hesitate? Write that book. And then write another one.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Charles Moore: Absolutely. I now know I can do it. And I know how to start and how to finish…strong.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Charles Moore: My Apple MacBook. I love writing on it.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Charles Moore: Anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He made me want to write fiction.

Tell us some more about your book.

Charles Moore: My book is about art collecting. It’s about how to learn about art collecting. I start with a basic lesson in modern and contemporary art history. I go into a literature review that helps ground your knowledge. I then talk about the importance of seeing art at museums, galleries, art fairs, and auctions. I encourage would be collectors to visit art schools and artists residencies. Then there are some essays based off interviews with real art collectors. I end with some basic lessons on terminology used in the art world.

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