Journey to new territory

December 22, 2009

By David Hayes

sci-fi-book-author-20091200One could say Laurence Moroney is quite the prolific writer, having authored 14 books since 2000. However, unless you’re as much of a computer gearhead as he, you’ve probably missed most of his technology guides.

“With technology guides, you get started at the bottom of the food chain, writing about topics publishers are having a hard time filling,” said Moroney, a freelancer with Microsoft since 2005. “Then, once they start selling, you can pick and choose the topics you want.”

For his latest project, Moroney has chosen to switch genres from technology guide to science fiction. His first book in a planned trilogy of teen novels, “The Fourth World,” came out in October.

With two children, 9 and 12, Moroney decided he wanted to write the kind of book they’d like to read.

“My daughter, Claudia, is a ’tween, and she’s read the whole Harry Potter and Twilight sagas,” Moroney said. “So, ‘The Fourth World’ should appeal to that audience.”

The idea of a Harry Potter in space has been percolating in his head since 2004.

“It came down to five years of procrastinating and two months of furious writing,” he admitted.Being careful to only take the barest of elements from the Harry Potter plot (four main characters at an eccentric school), Moroney wanted to steer his tale away from the problems he perceives in the other series.

“Many books and movies in the genre tend to be dark, depressing and moody,” he said. “I tried for a lighter, lighthearted and funny take.”

“The Fourth World” follows four multinational and cultural youths as they progress through a secret school run by the government at Area 51, aided by aliens who may have a hidden agenda of their own.

When Moroney signed up in college to study computer programming, he was required to take pure math and physics. As it turns out, he enjoyed physics the most and he said he hopes his love for the subject shines through in his sci-fi series.

With an insight into the difficulties of the publishing world, Moroney decided to form his own company, Destiny-Press. It allowed his book to come out online, registered to just him with his own identifiers, not some huge, anonymous publisher that would end up destroying any unsold copies.

Before the book could be published, however, he needed to know he was on the right track. He submitted the finished text last Christmas Eve to his harshest critic and subject matter expert, his daughter.

“She was the first to read it,” he said. “When she came in crying over the ending, I knew I had a good book.”

Claudia even went the extra mile to use it for her book report at school, helping to create a buzz for the novel among her peers who wanted to read it next.

Moroney knows the average sales for a book, excluding the big-named, best-selling authors is about 500 copies. His previous technology guidebooks have all performed above average, selling anywhere from 900 to tens of thousands. His book “Silverlight 2” was the No. 2 best-selling book in the U.S. on the Microsoft Web application and No. 1 in Japan.

“They’re great if you want to be an overnight thousandaire,” he joked.

Unlike the guides, which have such a short shelf life due to continual developing technology, he said he hopes “The Fourth World” will have legs, also reaching that 500-copy mark.

Where to get it

‘The Fourth World’

By Laurence Moroney


David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, Comment at

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