[Interviewer’s Note: This is a series of interviews featuring the contributors of The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.]
Stewart Moore has spent more time on stage than is really good for him, as Kate the Lion-Tailed Girl could tell you. He has worked as an actor, a lighting designer, a director, and a playwright. He has also been a legal proofreader, which is a good deal less interesting, and is a husband and father, which is considerably more interesting. His work has been published in Palimpsest and The Encyclopedia of Early Judaism.
Currently, he is pursuing a doctorate in the study of the Hebrew Bible, but no, he doesn’t know the meaning of life — yet.
Charles Tan: Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. “One Thin Dime” is set on Halloween. What’s special about Halloween for you? Do you prefer a trick or a treat?
Stewart Moore: There was always a romance to Halloween for me when I was younger, though I was no longer exactly young by the time I finally grew the moxie to actually wear a costume. I always felt like people could see right through my mask to my real face, and they were saying, “You’re not scary, kid.” I wanted so badly to be scary, the way Kate is so effortlessly. William’s regrets are my regrets. So it’s probably no surprise when I tell you that I want to say I prefer a trick, but to this day, I’d really rather have a treat.
CT: The crux of your story, and in your afterword, is partially about music. In your opinion, what is it about music that stays with us?
SM: Music stays with us because we don’t need to be conscious of it for it to work on us. You suddenly realize you’ve been humming a tune all day, and you try to remember why, and it’s because you heard it hours ago. And for people like me who have no musical talent whatsoever, you can even forget the tune, be completely incapable of reproducing it, and yet it can still work on me. That tune I heard in Central Park, that inspired this whole thing, is still with me, though I have no clue how it goes.
CT: Was it difficult writing for a themed anthology? What were the challenges? How did you get involved with this antho?
SM: These two questions I need to answer together. My writing teacher saw an
earlier draft of “One Thin Dime,” and she suggested I send to Ellen Datlow. Ellen said she liked the story, and though she wasn’t working on anything appropriate for it at the moment, she asked if she could hang on to it for a while. I said yes, and not long after, The Beastly Bride sprang up, and Kate and William’s odd, sweet little romance fit right in.
CT: What’s the appeal of the Beastly Bride concept for you?
SM: I’m very interested, in my professional life as a student of the Hebrew Bible, in borderlines, border crossings; in how, when and why we decide who’s in and who’s out. The Beastly Bride at one and the same time incarnates the border between human and animal, reality and fantasy, and, by her existence, negates it, denies it is a true border at all. It turns out to be a zone of contact, a place where possibilities multiply, and the Beastly Bride is both our guide in this zone, and the first, best guardian of it.