Firstly congratulations to our very own Beta Queen K. Moore on the release of her new Domestic Thriller, All for Mother.
For those who are not familiar with K. Moore here is a brief bio…
K. Moore lives on the Sunshine Coast, Australia and can be found often wandering its foreshore and beaches with her Karelian bear dog named Hathor. She’s an avid reader, hiker, and CrossFit enthusiast. If you manage to locate a decent bottle of gin and a chair at the bar, she might be convinced to regale you with tales of her global travels. Without the gin, you’ll have to find the evidence within the pages of her stories and poetry.
K. Moore agreed to answer some questions about her new domestic thriller and was gracious enough to allow us to share an excerpt.
Q1: Can you tell us a little bit about All For Mother and what readers can expect from it?
A: I’ve had time to reflect on this book, particularly the subject matter and have decided it’s the sort of book you either need to be in the headspace for or have knowledge of the underlying topics. It’s about family dynamics, relationships and emotional scars.
All For Mother is a domestic thriller and will take the reader on a journey through the depths of the human psyche. Ash—our protagonist—returns home after the death of a family member and quickly decides to stay and help Mother. It doesn’t take long for things to spiral out of control, and Ash ends up in the unlikely and unwanted position of caring for Mother after she has an accidental fall.
This book looks at the implications of aging and how difficult that transition can be for all involved. I don’t think anything can ever prepare you for the role reversal of where the child becomes the parent, and the reader will need to determine who to empathize with. Everyone has a mother figure, and everyone will need to face the realities of how the aging process will impact their relationship. Personal biases will come into play while reading All For Mother, and the reader will either love or hate Mother.
Q2: What inspired this story?
Circumstances brought this story to be. Life constantly evolves, and with life comes death. My father-in-law passed away late 2018, around the time my family was planning to relocate from Alaska to Australia. Cancer consumed him, and after a prolonged battle, he couldn’t fight anymore. It was a difficult time for my family as we didn’t get a chance to mourn or process his passing, having to continue full steam ahead with the preparations for the international move and deal with everything that is left to do after a death post-haste. His passing temporarily opened a door for me to explore what has been dubbed as the sandwich generation (those who are responsible both for bringing up their own children and care for an or both aging parents).
The short tenure entrenched with my ‘sandwich-people’ had me looking into everything surrounding geriatric care, and it was certainly an eye-opener. I believe Ash’s character came about from an extreme emotional connection with the sandwich generation and a sympathy for all involved—the elderly parents, the children and those stuck in the middle responsible for providing care to everyone.
I’ve recently lost my father, and although I was not his caregiver, the circumstances of his passing emotionally drained me. My father was alive when I decided to turn All For Mother into a book, and he loved the excerpts I shared with him. He got a kick out of the story premise and thought some—not all—of Ash’s antics were highly amusing.
Q3: That’s a lot of emotionally-charged inspiration – how did you come up with the fictional concept for the story?
A: This is a funny story (to me) and highlights the need for everyone to have good friends who can listen with seriousness but also disperse the mood with a great sense of humor. My close friends were mostly aware of when my world momentarily went dark—which is funny because I’d left the long dark Alaskan winter and traded it in for a Queensland summer. So, when I brought up the idea of Ash and Mother and provided a few scenarios, they jumped in the ring with both feet. Sandra Dee and I loosely brainstormed a storyline by continuing to ask, what if … And a lot of those what-ifs pretty much ended up in the book, particularly the final chapters and alternate plotline you don’t see until the end.
Q4: This story was partially written when the world was turned upside down with the pandemic, were there any dark times that you felt ready to give up and quit story and maybe writing?
A: Almost weekly. All For Mother was difficult to bear some days. Mother drained me. Ash energized me at times, but also mostly drained me. The story is completely fictional, and writing some of those grittier scenes was not fun. I think for everyone the pandemic has been draining in some emotional or psychological way, but I don’t think I’ll give up writing. Not just yet, anyway.
Q5: What are you working on now?
A: I wrote a crime fiction novella over lockdown as part of Cruel Ink’s shared world anthology, Dark Hollow Lake. I really enjoyed the quirky and sassy protagonist in that book and will be publishing it as standalone hopefully next month. The intent is to turn it into series, The Jamie Rogers Thriller Series. All novellas, and all standalones.
There are two projects I’m currently working on right now. One is a politically charged spy thriller with a strong female lead. She’s an army captain who was rescued from captivity after five long years of being thought dead by the US authorities. Those who read and loved Desert Rose will enjoy the adventure back into the Middle East for parts of the book.
The second book is something light to offset the heaviness of the other and is sort of a sweet action-comedy … I really have no idea how to explain it. It’s fun and makes me laugh.
Q6: If you could tell readers one thing before they read All For Mother, what would it be?
A: I’m sorry! Oh wow – someone else asked me this question, and I said the same thing! Haha! I’m honestly not too sure what I’m meant to say. There are many morals that can be taken from this story so, I’d hope that once the dust settles after reaching the end—if they make it—readers will reflect on those. Maybe if people look at is as a cautionary tale? Oh, no. That’s way too dark.
I think I’d say, thank you. Thank you for taking the journey with me, Ash and Mother. I hope you make it out the other side.
Excerpt from All For Mother
(Excerpt approved with written permission by the author for use only on the IABS webpage)
I watch the procession of cars that line the asphalt road curving through the well-manicured lawns. The slight sway of the aged oaks shimmer dappled light across the tombstones, giving them an unearthly glow, as though their occupants had come out to welcome the new neighbor.
It starts with a funeral.
It always starts with a funeral.
Generally, they’re meant to be sad affairs, lamenting the loss of a loved one or someone who, in some way, gained influence over others. They represent the ultimate proof of our mortality. Life can’t move forward without death. After all, death—or at least, a good death—remains life’s ultimate end goal. It amuses me that most go through life in fear of it and that this one thing influences decisions and clouds judgment.
But death surrounds us daily in one way or another. It’s the only constant we have and share. A million souls parading through life, trying to be independent or unique, only to end up in the same place as everyone else—locked in a box six feet under or secured in a sealed jar. Either way, existence is snuffed and turned into dust as time continues without a care.
To measure the quality or success of time spent walking the earth, can it be by the amount of earthly possessions acquired, the number of people who mourn for you, or the length of the obituary placed in the newspaper?
I ponder this, not for the first time. Even the winged creatures hidden in the depths of the branches seem to hold their tongues, watching silently from lofty perches. Every now and again, one will break protocol and sing a short, sorrowful message across the way, adding an ethereal feeling to an already-somber mood.
The heat and humidity are stifling, and like many times before, I wish the AC worked. My beat-up off-red Jeep, a conspicuous addition to the neat row of newer and sleeker cars, has definitely seen better days. It, however, has been a steadfast companion, having cemented my lifelong loyalty during my college days by always being there, unlike the family I surround myself with now. Looking at the sun- worn paint, I’m reminded of my father and how he gifted the beast to me all those years ago. I’d probably have traded up before now if I could hold down a job long enough to afford it. Or maybe I’d keep it out of pure nostalgia. Either way, more debt isn’t an option.
The grumble of engines turning over and small puffs of exhaust break the spell of my past. A black hearse passes slowly on its way to the head of the line, signaling the start to this formal end of my father’s life and, by extension, the end of his influence on me. I follow along, going through the motions of parking while swept up with the nameless faces trailing the flag-draped casket with its honor guard to the gravesite. Camouflaged in black attire, I cling to the shadows, not wanting to draw attention from family and other close friends whose sympathy would be unwelcome.
Family and close relatives’ friends sit at the front. Their sorrow is on full display as it hangs like a cold, dense fog crossing the marshes, concealing both predator and prey. Taking advantage of the shield of grief, I become invisible against the back wall, lost in the congregation of bodies. No one will notice.
I hope no one notices.
Standing off to one side at the rear of the crowd, I watch, mesmerized, as a baby bird braves the ring of predators to land on the wreath centered in front of the coffin. The military padre continues his sermon, defining life and death and life after death, not aware of the latest addition to his flock. The bird hops from one foot to the other, pecking at the flower arrangement until the uniformed soldiers lift the flag from the coffin, causing the tiny creature to freeze in fear. It raises its head hesitantly, cocking it slightly to the side to watch the men. I’m enamored with its courage. As if reading my thoughts, it shifts its penetrating gaze to me.
I stare into those dark orbs, bedazzled. It’s as though it were speaking to me, like it knows me. For whatever bizarre reason, I feel a kinship with it. The bird opens its beak for a single sorrowful call, trying to tell me something but I don’t know what. After what seems like a lifetime, it spreads its miniature black wings wide and disappears with a flutter. The motion jars me from my thoughts and highlights my solitude.
A sharp crack resounding through the air, coupled with the wafting scent of gunpowder, brings me back to the now. My body involuntarily flinches with each subsequent echo of guns, saluting the life and service of my father. Birds, formerly happy with their unobtrusive overwatch, take to the sky, squawking their protest from above. The crescendo plays out until we’re left with only a moment’s silence before a bugle plays the first notes of “Butterfield’s Lullaby.”
Time stands eerily still. It’s in this intense silence that I feel my mind bolster my resolve to sort my crappy life. I’m not sure how I’ll do this, but I know I must.
A shiver travels up my spine as I feel the spirits of the cemetery’s slumbering ghosts waken to welcome their comrade-in-arms. Corner to corner, the flag is folded with military precision until it’s nothing more than a life reflected in geometry, a triangular prism. Gloved hands gently hold the material as they offer the token to my widowed mother.
Tears line the faces of those around me. I can’t help but cringe at the irony. My father served his country proud. If only he’d served and protected those closest to him with the same fervor.
A domestic life thriller that takes you on a turbulent ride through the depths of the human psyche.
I don’t know what to say except I’m in crisis. I’m mad and I’m angry. I feel trapped. I wish I could erase the person that I am …
After the death of the family patriarch, Ash heads home to help take care of mother. Days and weeks pass; a temporary arrangement turns into an inescapable reality where Ash’s life shrivels to dust.
Nothing ever prepares you for the role reversal where the child becomes the parent.
Aging is the cruelest of jokes. Death comes for us all.
To find out more about K. Moore and her upcoming projects, click on the links below: