Lantana’s Stephen Moore Lives Exciting Double Life

Steve_JK_portrait_RGBBy day, Stephen Moore is like most people working a regular job as marketing director for a Garland-based metal detector manufacturer.

On nights and weekends, when not involved with his wife and three children, the 48-year-old long-time Sandlin resident often can be found telling stories of Texas history and World War II in words and pictures. With his 17th book coming out in November following the spring release of the companion book for the 10-hour History Channel mini-series Texas Rising, it’s been more a labor of love than just labor.

“I think 1 percent of 1 percent make a living at this and the rest of us have day jobs,” said Moore while attending a security trade show in California. “It’s a hobby. In the back of your mind you always hope it will take off. You hope for that one big hit that makes you a bunch of money. But so far that hasn’t happened.”

The only exception has been Texas Rising, which aired to mixed reviews in May and June. It allowed Moore to hang around The Alamo in San Antonio with some of the stars who depicted, not entirely factually, the state’s fight for independence from Mexico and the early days of the Texas Rangers.

Writing comes naturally to Moore, who studied advertising, marketing, and journalism at Stephen F. Austin State University. Rather than go into the challenging lifestyle and low pay of newspapers, he opted for the advertising agency route in his native Houston, Charlotte, N.C., and Dallas, before taking his current job in marketing.

“I always was interested in writing,” he said. “I used to write stories and fiction. As I got older I got more into history. I always read World War II stories when I was a kid.

“Later in life I worked for the school newspaper and things like that. But I didn’t want to go the newspaper route so I thought I’d write my own books and see how that went. I basically pick topics that interest me and have fun with it.”

His first book, which came out in 1996, was about a World War II carrier squadron and written in collaboration with SFA professor Bob Gruebel and Confederate Air Force historian Bill Shinneman.

Seven of Moore’s books relate to World War II focusing on submarine service in the Pacific War. That includes The Battle for Hell’s Island due out in November. It’s a continuation of his Pacific Payback that come out last year.

His Texas history series is divided into two sections – Savage Frontier (four books on the early Texas Rangers and Texas Indian Wars) and other Texas history (three). His other two books fall within the relic hunting/metal detecting realm.

Moore will be one of the featured authors at the 2015 Texas Book Festival on the grounds and inside of the state capitol in Austin where he’ll be part of an Oct. 18 panel discussion on Texas Rising.

“I’m looking forward to going back again,” said Moore, whose only other appearance at the festival started by former Texas and U.S. First Lady Laura Bush was more than a decade ago. “I’ll get to see a few friends and meet some historians.”

Following that, Moore will continue work on a book on Special Forces in Vietnam and another on 11 soldiers who escaped from a Japanese prisoner camp near the end of World War II.

In between, he’ll hang out with wife Cindy; daughter Kristen, a freshman at Sam Houston State University; daughter Emily, a senior at Denton Guyer; and son Jacob, a fifth-grade at E.P. Rayzor Elementary School.

“My son is the only kid who has lived in the same house,” he said. “When the girls were little, we moved around to a lot of different houses.

“I think if we had to move again, we’d stay in Lantana. We have friends there. We have neighborhood pools, trails, and everywhere else. It’s just a great place.”

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By Mark Miller

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