This most recent leg of our journey has been arduous. We’ve reached unfathomable depths, traversed through impossible darkness, and have now found ourselves standing before a bizarre sight.
The timeless ebony of this gulf pierced by light. Is it wholesome? Perhaps some kind of benevolent sign of watchfulness? Or, my friend, is it akin to the flicker of a bio-luminescent glow under the crushing weight of the sea — bait to seduce and enchant the unknowing into voracious maws?
She is upon us, and the light is her own. Her movement casts bounding shadows as she gracefully inches closer. This, dear companion, is Leslie Moon.
Leslie, thank you for your time. We are searching out the elusive troupe that is the Pen of the Damned.
Each individual in the ranks of the Damned has been different, providing the readers a darkly succulent and toothsome literary bite. Each soul is marked with its own set of skills like a unique Rorschach inkblot test. You are, by admission, a quirky Christian who writes horror. Do you find this presents challenges as an author of horror, or does it offer an interesting perspective on the macabre?
Great question Zack. Depending on the day, I could answer this question many ways. It is today so this is my answer: Each writer has an inkblot as you refer to it that forms their foundation. Life, culture, beliefs all play into that foundation. I think for some the foundation can be a springboard for others it can be a mire. It is true that in the core of my foundation is faith. it is that faith that allows me (like a springboard) to feel, express and experience. Pen of the Damned writes primarily about the dark sector. For some that sector is real. I have seen and lived in some pretty dark places and met some pretty “dark” people. For a long time I could not write about that place but I have enough light days(now) that I can write about a world that I have lived in. Blaze had made a comment that many Christians have to resolve the darkness. The darkness doesn’t always resolve itself. I like a happy ending, but “happy” in fiction and non-fiction is not always possible.
You also write for children. I remember reading some pretty scary stuff as a kid and I absolutely loved it. What type of literature do you write for the younger crowd? Have you toyed with the idea of writing something relatively scary for children? If so, what?
To date the works I have written for children have had a moral or a teaching element. I have a segment in my blog called Life’s Lessons that are like proverbs or Aesop’s Fables. As a teacher (for 15 years), I like using fiction to make facts magical and memorable. There are some fun ways to make history alive for children. I recently wrote a piece that a commentor said was like Goosebumps. Writing horror is a new challenge for me writing dark historical fiction for children would be a greater challenge. I always love a challenge.
You are a multi-talented woman. Beyond your writing, which includes some fantastic poetry, you are quite the photographer. Your ability with poetry points to how crafty you are with words and meaning, and your ability with photography is a pretty good indicator of how powerful your imagination and visualization are. How do you use these skills with your writing? How do they help?
First Zack thanks for the very nice complement. I’m humbled by your comment. I have always been a visual person. Stories come alive in my imagination easily. Poetry and art tend to work well together. If I see a picture or image (or capture that image) the poem usually writes itself. My first published pieces (when I was in a teen) were drawing and poet duos. With a work of fiction, I have to live the story in my head.
Do you have one creative product, whether a poem, story or picture, that you are the most proud of?
Yes I have a book that I wrote with a friend who lives in UK. We wrote it for children as realistic lessons that could make the Bible come alive and make sense. Not only was it a lot of fun to write, but we had people involved on both sides of the “pond” giving us input and help with editing. There’s a story about a tunnel, a sword, two hikers, a compass, and a sheep. We have sold this book on three continents by word of mouth only. We have as many adults who have enjoyed the book as children. The book will never be a best seller however it has made the Bible make more sense to many readers and the stories have been re-told and the books passed on. The book also inspired a non-profit and a radio show out of North Wales that I wrote children’s shows for which then led to my writing scripts for an international ministry for a number of years. Who would have known one little book could open so many doors.
What do you like the most about writing with Pen of the Damned?
When I started reading Pen, I was impressed by the caliber of writing. I thought “If I could write dark like…” I was surprised when Joseph asked me to join and I promise you I still feel like the novice running to keep up with these exceptionally skilled writers. Needless to say they keep me striving to write past the pinnacle of my ability.
Is there any literature or a life event that you can point to and say “this is where my ability and/or desire to write was born”?
My life as a child was where my ability to create stems from. I am the product of an artistic genius who makes creating in any art form look easy. It’s hard to be a mere mortal when studying under a genius. I look back at all the work I produced/ performed/published/sold before I was sixteen (not to mention after) – in my eyes I am not exceptional. My teachers pushed me toward art school with the hope for a art history art degree so I could work in the art world. I was afraid that I would never reach the caliber of the other art students I had met so I declined art school. Were I to look back on my life, I’ve been on three creative journeys: the first striving as an artist, the second striving and performing as a musician, the third and as a poet and a writer (the photography is a throw back to my younger days.)
Do you have anything knocking around in the corners of your mind that you are dying to write about, or is there a project you are working on that you would like to mention?
If you could climb the ladder in my imagination, you would be knocked over by ideas the flying about. I have several that I am working on with a co-writer. The first is a fantasy where the dragon is a hero. The MS is going to editing as we speak. I’m hoping my mother will illustrate this older elementary fantasy. This fiction could be done by the end of 2013.
The other is an historical fiction series that will require travel to put the story together. I stayed in the region where this story would take place and I’ve already heard the story (yes in my head). The characters who lived during this 100 year span of volatile want (need) it to be told.
There are several projects that involve my mother and my son (an artist and photographer) that we hope to produce. I’m still researching producing books about art history.
…And I am helping several exceptional crime writers try to get their works out as their editor.
Zack, I want to thank you for your encouragement and the time you have taken to do this interview. If I could say one thing to writers (of any genre). The creative world opens up a treasure trove for discovery. It is the writer’s commission to use the treasure to entice the next generation. The written word has the ability to inspire the imagination and unearth learning in a way that media cannot. Write from your heart and see the world that unfolds for you and others.
Thank you, Leslie. You are an exceptionally busy woman. I appreciate the time you gave to us.
Here is a link to Leslie’s blog. You will notice, both on her blog as well as on Pen of the Damned, that she goes by Moondustwriter.
Here is a link to Pen of the Damned. Follow the link, dive into the content, but know that you will have a hard time escaping the talented grasp of the Damned.