Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and thank you for stopping by today for Genre Talk on The Novel Approach. We’re joined this time by DSP Publications author
Mark David Campbell talking about his latest fantasy Eating the Moon.
Let’s check out the blurb for Eating the Moon.
What if there was a place that nobody else knew about – a secret place – where everyone was queer?
That’s the question Guy, a 70 year old, lonely gay anthropology professor asks Richard, his 32 year old psychiatrist. During their twice weekly sessions, Guy tells Richard a fantastic tale of his experience as a young man bound for Cuba on a cargo ship which sinks in the Bermuda triangle. Guy and the first mate Luca are washed up on the shore of an uncharted tropical island and discover a complex society where almost everyone is homosexual. Could there really be such a place, or does it only exist within the fantasy of lonely old gay man?
This tale takes you on an erotic tropical vacation to a place where all your fantasies of homosexual love and sex can come true, but even paradise has trials, tribulations and tears.
Elizabeth: Would you tell us about your genre?
Mark David: Officially my genre is speculative fiction which is a hybrid and includes fantasy, historical and science fiction. I consider myself a writer of anthropological fiction which centers the human experience within diverse social cultural contexts. The fun (and difficulty) in writing this book was to imagine and create an alternative functioning society which was almost exclusively homosexual based on my knowledge of anthropology.
Elizabeth: Tell us about Eating the Moon.
Mark David: As a gay kid growing up in a small homophobic Canadian village I often dreamed of someplace different – better. This book is an elaboration of those fantasies. I wanted the book to be pure escapism and romance, while at the same time thought provoking and relevant.
Elizabeth: Tell us how you define “diversity” in your writing, and how you explored it in this book.
Mark David: The island is an utopic society based on an ideology of diversity and inclusiveness, as told in the founding myths and in the relations between characters of diverse qualities and attributes.
With respect to ‘race’ Guy observes that, That’s odd, I think. They must have contact with other people, because the children look as if they might have come from every corner of the globe.
Later on, at the initiation feast he is impressed by the diversity of the people on the island.
The men cluster around me. From old to young, they are almost every size, shape, and tone that one can possibly imagine. Some are tall and lean, although many are shorter and more robust, like Nando. Some have dark hair, eyes, and complexions, while others are paler. All, however, from the big ones to the small, have a natural muscle tone, typical of people who move, work, and play…
Diversity on the island also includes characters with a wide range of diverse mental, physical, and social capacities.
But even utopia has it dark side and the inability of this society to include heterosexuals and bisexuality is what threatens to rip it apart.
Elizabeth: Eating the Moonis being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for genre novels that don’t necessarily focus on or even contain romance. Tell us about the relationship in Eating the Moon and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
Mark David: DSP Publications is the perfect forum for Eating the Moon because DSP validates our unique form of romance and love which is at the very heart of our struggle and who we are as LGBTI+ queer people. The core story is a classic romance about a young man who is ship wreaked and falls in love with a man he meets on a tropical island but he must first go through a series of trials and test to prove his love.
As well, DSP Publications gives me the latitude to incorporated an infinite variety of situations and experiences beyond romance, which are also essential aspects who we are. As a friend of mine says, “Being gay describes me but it doesn’t limit me.” I love adventure and this is also a classic adventure story, narrated by an old man who couldn’t accept that he had everything in life he could desire; love, friendship and a home, and he lost it all through his foolishness and greed.
Whether this book is romance or adventure or both ultimately depends on the readers perspective.
Elizabeth: And the lightening round! GO!
Elizabeth: Tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Eating the Moon?
Mark David: The earliest incarnation of this book started way back in the 1992 when I had just come out and was attending my first Toronto Pride. A friend next to me looked out across at the streams of people and asked, “I wonder what it would be like if it was the other way around and the straights were hidden away in the closet and the we ran the show?”
I think this book is an attempt to answer that question.
Elizabeth: What goes into naming characters? Do the names have significance?
Some of the names are ‘borrowed’ from my past but when most of the characters appear in my imagination they already have their own names, such as Pico, Kizo and Tukuman.
Elizabeth: What sort of research did you need to do?
Mark David: In order to construct this society I drew on an enormous amount of anthropological/archaeological material but I was very careful not to focus on or appropriate from any specific culture or people. Other background research included historical records, such as Tukuman’s back storyline. Of course, the psychoanalytical material comes from my own personal experience, which I must add was very positive.
Elizabeth: And because everyone likes to talk about what they’re doing the old standby: What projects are you working on now and what is coming next from you?
Mark David: I’ve just finished the first draft of an adventure story about a little robot boy who, through being loved, learns to love.
Elizabeth: Thank you so much to Mark David Campbell and, of course, our readers for joining us today! Coming in September we have a post from Xenia Meltzer, always a good time. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and check out our web page.
Mark David Campbell is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for the past seventeen years where he teaches, writes and paints, moving between Lago Maggiore and Milan with his husband. Prior to moving to Italy, he spent twenty years studying and working in archaeology and anthropology in Canada, Central America, Jordan, Egypt and Greece and earned his Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto where he taught as a part-time professor.
In addition to writing, he has shown his paintings at numerous individual and group shows in Toronto, Canada and throughout Italy. In his spare time, Mark David Campbell likes scouring second-hand stores, boating on Lago Maggiore and eating pizza and drinking beer with friends.
Until next time, Happy Reading,