Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the Interviews Editor at UT Dallas’ Sojourn – A Journal for the Arts. She is also a Dance Lecturer and Assistant Director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. Danielle is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas, and her first book, The Politics of State Public Arts Funding, is out now.
Crying babies, heckling bipedal octogenarian cowgirls … thus starts my day with Christopher Moore.
Christopher Moore, New York Times bestselling author and cult favorite, was at Bookpeople in Austin last Sunday for a brief reading and book signing, and I had the privilege and pleasure to attend. As the Interviews Editor for the University of Texas at Dallas’ Sojourn – A Journal for the Arts, I spent the better part of the fall of 2008 interviewing Chris for our upcoming edition.
A humanist with an eye for the surreal, Moore’s everyman characters become instantly relatable, much like those of Melville and Shakespeare. And the same is true with Pocket, the main character in Fool, his new novel chronicling the adventures of King Lear’s court jester. But Chris didn’t quite set out to reinvent Shakespeare; he just wanted to write a story about a fool – the least powerful literary character there is, but the one that can always speak the truth. And that he did!
Actually, he didn’t really know anything about Shakespeare, or the English culture, before he started his research for Fool. To truly bring the story to life, he read as many plays and sonnets he could get his hands on to get a sense of the sort of banter Shakespeare wrote for his more rascally characters. Later, by reading a lot of books on British slang – both contemporary and historical – he worked the idiom into Pocket’s speech. He also took a couple of trips to England, and one to France, where he visited medieval sites and experienced the European lifestyle.
He graciously gifted us a bit of advice for traveling through England:
- The British say “sorry” a lot; even if they didn’t do anything wrong.
- English squirrels expect treats.
- “The dog’s bollocks” is a good thing.
- When someone “knocks you up,” they are coming over for a visit, in the non-biblical sense.
Moore truly cares about his readers; he even cut his reading down to answer questions from the audience. He stayed as long as it took to sign every book, and he took the time to speak to everyone. And he loves to hear your stories about how you discovered his work, or how his work has influenced your life.
Here are a few highlights from my afternoon with Chris:
- Out of all of his books, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal (which covers the first 30 years of Christ’s life) and Fool were the hardest books to write because of all the research and history that was involved
- Contrary to what most people think, he didn’t receive much backlash from Lamb; in fact, more than a dozen seminaries teach Lamb and he has only received three negative e-mails.
- When asked about Lamb, he said, “He can’t do better than that.”
- He is working on a new book, the third in his vampire trilogy, tentatively titled Bite Me.
- He does requests; he has brought characters back at the request of fans and he is one of the few fiction writers to do that.
If you ever wondered if an author is as funny in person as his written words are, Moore is. He is here to provide an escape from the cancerous effects of society, to give us an absurd view of who we are, to allow us to really look at ourselves and laugh. He doesn’t write mysteries; he writes stories, stories about monsters, vampires, fools and humans. He writes about us all.
Fool, and any Moore, definitely deserves a spot on your bookshelf. Begin your addiction now…
For my interview with Christopher Moore, click here.
For that story about heckling bipedal octogenarian cowgirls, visit Moore’s blog.
For more information about Chris, visit his Web site.