Winners' Circle: Johnny Ray Moore

April 16, 2021

Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Johnny Ray Moore and his multiple books!

What are the names of your books?  Who are the publishers?
The names of my books are:
HOWIE HAS A STOMACHACHE (Seedling Publications/Continental Press)

A LEAF (Seedling Publications/Continental Press)

THE STORY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (Worthy Kids/Hachette Book Group)

MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (Ideals Publication)

BUT STILL, WE DREAM: A Novel in Verse (Publish America)

SILENCE, PLEASE:  A Collection of Children’s Poems (Clear Fork Publishing)

ANTHILL FOR SALE (Big Belly Book Company)

SO MANY QUESTIONS (Austin Macauley Publishers)

SEASONAL ADVENTURES: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter for the Very Young (scheduled for release in the Fall of 2021 by Reycraft Books).

Tell us about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.
My wife and I have 3 daughters. When our middle daughter was about 5 years old, she was very fussy at bedtime. My wife and I had to do various things to get our middle daughter to go to sleep. Because of our middle daughter, I got the idea for HOWIE HAS A STOMACHACHE.  After I had written the story, I stumbled upon Seedling Publications. Seedling Publications had published books for emergent readers that were the same length as HOWIE HAS A
STOMACHACHE. So, after polishing and tweaking HOWIE HAS A STOMACHACHE in hopes of making it more appealing to Seedling Publications, I submitted the manuscript to the mentioned publisher. And finally, Seedling Publications accepted and published HOWIE HAS A STOMACHACHE.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing, off and on, ever since I was in the 3rd grade. I discovered at the age of about 5 years old that I was very creative. And, I reasoned that I MUST utilize my gift in some way.  So, I began reading about how to become a writer. Btw, I [turned] 66 years old on 13 March 2021.

What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
Even though I write for all ages, at times, my favorite genre is writing board book manuscripts.  Because, writing for the very young FORCES me to tap into my skills as a poet. And, writing very short manuscripts allows me to say a WHOLE lot with very few words. And, I find that to be so refreshing!

What ICL courses have you taken?

I completed the Writing for Children and Teens Course. And, it has been the only course offered by ICL that I have taken, so far. But I would surely consider taking a course in How to Write for the Very Young, if such a course was offered.

How has taking our course helped your writing and/or your career?
In taking the course, Writing for Children and Teens, I was exposed to the endless array of possibilities that exists in writing for our youth. The mentioned course truly taught me how to BELIEVE in myself and WRITE!  

Have any of your class assignments been published?
No. None of my class assignments has been published. But, … during the time I was taking the course, Writing for Children and Teens, I did complete SILENCE, PLEASE: A Collection of Children’s Poems. I completed SILENCE, PLEASE… before I completed the course. And, SILENCE, PLEASE… was published more than 25 years, later. Of course, SILENCE, PLEASE… was not one of my assignments.  

Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?

Yes. Please do NOT let whatever is happening in your life rob you of your dream of becoming a published author. Use life’s COUNTLESS experiences to FUEL your desire to be the very BEST writer that you can be!  

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?

I would go back to the 3rd grade. And, I would tell myself to stay FOCUSED and stay MOTIVATED in pursuing a career as a poet and children’s author.  

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
The most valuable thing I learned was to just keep writing.

In an effort to GROW more readers, why don’t more publishers of children’s books publish board books for the very young?

I think it’s due to a different set of variables that has to be dealt with than what is obvious when it comes to publishing books for older children. Plus, I think it’s a matter of a lack of funds that will be made versus what can be made in publishing books for older children.   

Johnny shared a poem to keep us all motivated:

“Have FAITH; Then DO!!!”

by Johnny Ray Moore

If there’s an URGE to GO ALL OUT,
And, do your BEST each day,
DON’T let that URGE,because it’s WEAK,
Get STALE and FADE away.

The time is NOW to look INSIDE,
If YOU have PLANS to GROW,
In case YOU DIDN’T know.

What is RIGHT for YOU,
Instead, HAVE FAITH, THEN, DO!!!

Thank you, Johnny!


Johnny Ray Moore
April 27, 2021

Thank You, Carol Douglas, for reading and enjoying my interview! Carol, ... in that "our stories are somewhat similar," you WILL continue to write and make progress! If I can do, you WILL, too!

Carol Douglas
April 23, 2021

Thank you Johnny ! Just what I needed to keep writing! Our stories are somewhat similar. enjoyed the interview.

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