Former CMU teacher enjoys outlet as creative writer

Jerry Moorman, author of “Killer Tuition”

Jerry Moorman has written for and about academia before — he’s the author of four business textbooks, spanning topics from entrepreneurship to how to write a business plan.

But in his second novel, “Killer Tuition,” the college campus is a far more sinister place. At Thunder Mountain College, the Mafia is in charge, and it’s running an international money-laundering scheme through the school. Soon, a professor is murdered and an innocent professor is implicated in his death.

Moorman retired from Colorado Mesa University last year, where he taught marketing and other business classes for 24 years. Now, without grading, class preparation, student advising and committee obligations, he is free to pursue a career of writing of his choosing.

Laurena Mayne Davis: What are the differences in the creative process between writing an authoritative textbook and writing a novel?

Jerry Moorman: Writing a text doesn’t involve a great deal of creativity. You are driven by multilevel outlines and editors at several levels — not much fun. Novels are about fun and creativity. In a novel, the writer is like a god. If you tire of a character, you simply write them out. In a text, if you tire of a theory such as the four P’s of marketing, you’re stuck with it,

Davis: How did you hit upon the plot for this novel?

Moorman: Having served as a college administrator for many years, my job was often to protect the integrity of the university. I identified online and international education early on as areas of concern and possible problems. Then it just hit me one day that this subject would make a great novel topic.

Davis: Because you’re a CMU emeritus, readers may be looking for some reality behind the fiction here. What about your real life at CMU inspired or informed this work of fiction?

Moorman: I don’t think money laundering could be very successful at a public institution because of state controls. Private schools might be another story. I have never experienced criminal activity at schools where I have worked. With that said, my 34 years at the university level provided needed background for the book. Local readers will find some of the college settings very familiar.

Davis: There’s a lot of action in this book: a mob hit man, a Navy SEAL, a government agent and more. How did you research these characters?

Moorman: Reading, reading and more reading. There is very little knowledge unavailable to a good researcher with a computer. During my life, I have also had the opportunity to be in contact with one or two SEALs and government agents. The Mafia was a very real presence in my hometown when I was growing up.

Davis: You can take the boy out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the boy. You make several Southern references in “Killer Tuition,” including chicory-laced coffee and mudbugs. As a Mississippi native, what do you miss about the South?

Moorman: As you can tell, I miss the food. Also, the access to the Gulf and beaches are missed. I am an avid cook, with many of my dishes influenced by the South. You should taste my pecan pie.

Davis: I’m going to take you up on that! You write glowingly of Grand Junction. Did you get a kickback from the Grand Junction Visitors & Convention Bureau?! Seriously, what is it about the area that appeals to you?

Moorman: I love this community: the people, the desert and mountains, our downtown area, and the large community of creative people. We raised our daughter here and now our grandson is growing up in this wonderful area. We could live anywhere, but we chose to live here.

Davis: How is writing different for you in retirement versus when you were working full-time?

Moorman: I can now write full-time, which I do. I hang out at coffee shops with a whole community of writers. I now have the time to just sit and observe people. My creativity grows out of the minor chaos of public interaction. We have some very interesting people in Junction. We also have great support for writers, such as your column.

Davis: What are you most proud of from your teaching career?

Moorman: That’s easy: my thousands of students and their successes. I loved my students and my teaching; what a great way to enjoy life. I especially enjoy bumping into them around town or catching up via social media. I have one biological child and thousands of adopted ones. I had a wonderful career spanning almost 42 years.

Davis: Talk about your collection of poetry, “A Body Less Perfect.”

Moorman: It’s a book of poetic prose about growing up with cerebral palsy. I also have polio, something I denied in the book. Polio was so contagious that many of us denied our condition. Writing the book made me realize the mistake of denial. Growing up with polio in particular created a very isolated life for me in my pre-teen years. It’s probably why I enjoy writing so much. “A Body Less Perfect” was well–received. It won a state publisher’s award for most inspirational. The book is one of my favorite works.

Davis: Who are your favorite authors? Are you an avid reader?

Moorman: I am an avid reader. Favorites are Brad Thor, Clive Cussler and other adventure writers.

Davis: What’s next for you?

Moorman: I’m already over 13,000 words into my next novel. As long as my fingers are able to type, I’ll write. Writing is something I have done my entire adult life. I don’t see stopping anytime soon.

Davis: Where is “Killer Tuition” available?

Moorman: It is available on Amazon as hard copy and in Kindle format as an e-book. Locally, autographed copies are available at the Crystal Book and Gifts on Main.

Have news about local authors, bookstores, book clubs or writing groups? Email Laurena Mayne Davis at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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