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Published Author with Kiowa County Connection Will Be at the Fair

By Betsy Barnett

September 6, 2023

Loni Kemper Moore is the author of two novels including Faith Lights a Flame (1929-1930) and Hope Travels Through (1976-1977). She will be at the Kiowa County Fair selling her books this week. Moore is the maternal granddaughter of Jesse and Flora James, niece of Jess and Nancy James, cousin of Bonita and Donna James Williams (Burlington), and cousin of Louis James who lives on a ranch northwest of Eads with his wife of many years Dawn James, an educator at Eads High School. Loni says there may be more relatives than that, but we think those credentials are more than enough to call Loni Kemper Moore a local published author.

The James family came to Kiowa County from Texas in the late 1930s during the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Since then, the family has spread out some and, in addition to Kiowa County, lives in Lincoln and Kit Carson counties, to name a few. Loni currently lives in Colorado Springs with her husband.

Loni has a BA in Bible studies and emphasizes, “I want my books to be clean and encouraging.” She lived in four different states as a child and credits her wanderlust to living in Wyoming, Texas, Virginia, and Colorado before entering Kindergarten in Denver. After graduating with an education degree, she taught in Indiana, Boulder (Colorado), and Kitzingen, Germany. She continued to wander through many travels ending up working for Delta Airlines as a travel agent and also traveled as a technical consultant for a few years.

She has traveled through parts of Europe exploring historic castles, museums, cathedrals, and walking the places where the literary masters lived including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Loni says she remembers when she decided she was going to be a writer. “I was in fifth grade and our dog Frisky was hit by a car as we children waited for the bus in Loudon County, VA. I wasn’t allowed to stay with him and coincidentally that day we had to write an essay. When I read mine to the class, I saw even the boys with tears in their eyes. I loved knowing my words about not knowing if my dog had died (he didn’t) made them feel what I felt.”

The two books that have been published and that will be available at Moore’s booth at the Kiowa County Fair were conceived during the pandemic. “During COVID, which everyone is tired of hearing about, I was as freaked out as anyone else. I have a few documents that a great aunt and others put together about the original James Brothers ranch and wondered how they endured what they did. Then, I flipped through some diaries I’ve kept since I was twelve and came upon the story my grandmother, Flora, told me of testifying in her father’s murder trial and it found its way to Faith Lights a Flame.

Her second book had a different genesis, “My second book, Hope Travels Through, was written first as a catharsis after my younger sister died of Lyme Disease, twelve years ago. It helped me deal with her death but includes my interest in southern Indiana, the first place I lived on my own.”

Moore says she conducts the research for her book ideas by asking questions, reading, visiting places like museums and libraries, and using many Google searches. Her characters usually come first as she imagines herself as the Point of View (POV) character and then researches to find out what “her” story is.

But the main way she gets her ideas is through travel. “I’ve met so many people during my travels. On the Navajo Reservation, as it was called, meeting a person who had been taken to a boarding school in a cattle truck at the age of 7 challenged me to be a teacher who would change children’s experiences. In Germany, I sat across the table from an older person who honestly believed Hitler was misunderstood which showed me how powerful propaganda is. A Muslim man in a New York City high rise told me how losing family members in the 1978 Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple turned him from Christianity to Islam saddened me because of one person’s ability to deceive. At our son’s BSA activity in Atlanta, I met another mom who lived in Virginia as an elementary student the same years I did. Her life, as a black woman, included her father once driving a different way to distract the children from seeing a burning cross in the 1960s. But in each life story, I see the future hope.”

Finally, Moore says that working with a writer’s group was the main catalyst that helped her become serious in writing and publishing her books. “Living in Colorado Springs, I was able to attend a writers’ convention that Jerry Jenkins, writer of the Left Behind series and many other books, was hosting.

Moore advises anyone who would like to become a published author to first and foremost, “Write. Write every day.” She adds one should also find a writers group who can give feedback—even if it’s online. “Finally, one must be able to learn, have a thick skin, and be persistent.”

Loni has a webpage where there is more information about her published books. Check it out at http://lonikempermoore.com. On there you will soon see what is coming up for Loni in the future.

“I plan to write for the rest of my life, even when it’s just in my diary. I have more ideas to pursue as far as the Kiowa County James family is concerned. My next story, chronologically between Faith Lights a Flame (1929-1930) and Hope Travels Through (1976-1977), is a WWII story with some family tales I’ve heard. I’m also researching the Orphan Train, North Platte Canteen, Choctaw and Navajo Code Talkers.”

Moore says she’s excited to be back in Kiowa County again. “I always feel like Kiowa County is home.”

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