Campus Life

The thrill is not gone for bestselling alumnus author

After spending a number of years as a freelance writer reviewing fiction for newspapers, University of West Florida Alumnus Joe Moore had an epiphany. He started to believe that he could write books as well as many of the writers whose work he was reading. His novel conviction combined with immense creativity has led him to become an international bestselling author.

“I started writing the books I was dying to read,” said Moore, an art major who graduated in 1970.

He is not alone. His most popular body of work, the Cotten Stone Thriller series which he co-authored with Lynn Sholes, has received accolades from critics and fans from around the world. The Grail Conspiracy, the first of the four books in the series, was named Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine and subsequently was translated into more than 23 languages. Moore describes their books as high concept apocalyptic thrillers with a big dose of the supernatural thrown in. He and Sholes recently completed their fifth novel together, The Phoenix Apostles-the first thriller in a new series.

Moore credits UWF as the breeding ground for his creativity, as well as his love life.

“I was an art major,” he said. “Like all creative types, I was able to find and refine my creative outlet while in the classroom. It’s proven invaluable later in life.”

However, Moore’s fondest memory of his days at UWF is meeting the love of his life, Carol, an elementary education major who he later married. They are about to celebrate their 39th anniversary together.

Grateful for the experiences and knowledge he gained while attending UWF, Moore has enjoyed a diverse career path, one that has taken him from a marketing and communications executive to a two-time EMMY(r) winner with 25 years experience in the television postproduction industry to an international bestselling author.

“My degree from UWF helped fine tune my organizational skills, caused me to look at the world with an eye for beauty and gave me a foundation to grow and excel in the business and professional world,” said Moore.

Moore provides the following advice for prospective and current students – “Never give up, especially if you are a writer. There’s a word for those who never give up: published.”

For more information about Moore, visit For more information about the UWF Department of Art, visit

Written by Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications