Monday, October 31, 2016

The Meddlers of Moonshine

The Meddlers of Moonshine
A.E. Decker
Series     *     94,000 words / 344 pages     *     Fantasy

Something is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it's all his fault. Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot's pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.

Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!

Who's meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.
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Author Interview Questions:
1. I write because…
It would get too noisy in my head if I didn’t. Seriously, I think I have some characters in there who’d leap out of my brain, tie me to a chair, and not let me up until I’d written their stories. That said, it’s also tremendously rewarding to hear that someone can wait to read your next story.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
My friend, Jennifer, is a great cookie baker, and she makes these extremely dark, not too sweet chocolate cookies. There’s espresso powder in the batter, and their consistency is similar to shortbread. Oh, and they’re half-dipped in chocolate, because, why not? Yum.
3. Plotter or pantster?
In-betweener. I don’t plot out every scene, but I have a sort of graph of particular plot points that I know I’m going to include in the story. Plus, I always know the ending. The challenge—and fun—for me is figuring out how to take my characters from point A to point B.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
I love all my characters, and tend to see them more as individuals than types. I like characters who act, who are willing to be outrageous, and go against what’s expected of them. The character I’m working with now is a devoted liar—he tends to think one thing and say another, and the dichotomy between the two makes him fun to write. I don’t like mopers or angsters, unless they’re exaggerated to a humorous extent.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?
I’m a vegetarian, so either a mushroom burger or vegetarian sushi, like Inari rolls or something featuring a hearty slice of avocado.
6. Name three things on your desk.
An hourglass with bright magenta sand, a pencil sharpener shaped like a black chess knight piece, and more Daleks than any sane person should own.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?
I try very hard to keep to my own style, but the works of Terry Pratchett are very much an influence. I often feel writers of humor don’t get the credit they deserve, and his books had such heart and wit to them. I like to think my work has a little of his spirit in them. When will Death bring him back, by the way?
8. Tell us a little about your book.
The Meddlers of Moonshine is the second book in the Moonfall Mayhem YA fantasy series. The first book, The Falling of the Moon, poked fun at fairy tale tropes. Meddlers spoofs Gothic tropes, particularly The Turn of the Screw and Frankenstein. There’s plenty of adventure, mystery, and a core of seriousness under the humor. Ghosts, graveyards, a dilapidated chateau with a sinister folly, a touch of steampunk, and plenty of avocados.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
If you’ve just decided to become a writer, the first thing you need to do is develop good habits. Write for at least an hour every day for a year. Writing is a pleasure, but it’s also work, and you need to know that you can do the work. The next most important thing is being able to actually finish a story. Fanfiction can actually be really helpful. Knowing that you’re writing for an audience can actually inspire you to keep going. If you discover you can’t think of a story, put it out in front of people, and finish it, this is probably not the occupation for you.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’m working on Into the Moonless Night, which is the third book in the Moonfall Mayhem series. Meddlers end on a slight cliff-hanger—sorry!—so I have to tell my readers what happens next. Moonless spoof the tropes in Tolkien, with a touch of The Hunger Games. After Moonless, I’ll work on the third book in my urban fantasy series featuring a tomato-obsessed hitman of the supernatural.
Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Top 5 movies:
The Seven Samurai. A three hour and twenty minute black-and-white classic of honor and idealism. Beautiful.
Spirited Away. My favorite Miyazaki film. I have a tattoo of Haku in dragon form on my right arm.
The Princess Bride. Inconceivable. Need I say more?
Withnail & I. A cult British black comedy with the best quotes in existence. “Don’t you threaten me with a dead fish!”
In Bruges. Another black comedy. What if Hell were an eternity in Bruges? That’s the kind of question to make you think.


There was a hand in the forest, and it held an avocado.
“Miss Ascot bought it for me,” said Rags-n-Bones, clutching it to his chest as he ran. The dead leaves crunched softly underfoot, thick and bouncy as a crispy cloud. “That means it’s not stealing.”
On his shoulder, Nipper squeaked. Being a rat, Nipper was hazy on the concept of “stealing.” Generally, he felt if you could get something in your mouth, it was yours.
Rags-n-Bones wished he were a rat. It would make dealing with guilt much easier. I should never have rummaged through Miss Ascot’s pack, he thought, ducking around a birch. His thumb caressed the avocado’s soft, pebbly skin. If I’d waited, she, or the Captain, or Sir Dmitri, or the Mighty Terror from the Deepest Shadows would’ve awakened and given it to me. He leaped over a log, mouth watering in anticipation of the avocado’s rich, buttery flavor. I should go back right now and—
Squeak? Nipper stuck his nose in Rags-n-Bones’ ear impatiently.
Rags-n-Bones gave up. He’d take whatever punishment arrived later. Right now, the torment of not eating the avocado was too great to bear. “There’s a grove up ahead,” he replied. “Around that cone-shaped boulder. We’ll eat it there.” Avocados required privacy for proper consumption.
How could you possibly know there’s a grove ahead? asked a small part of his brain not drunk on avocado-lust. You’ve never been here before.
He shrugged. Ahead just seemed like a convenient place for a grove. A small circle of beech trees, with an old oak smack in the center, its gnarled, moss-covered roots gripping the hummock it sat atop like an old man clutching a tea cake.
A foot skidded out from under him as he rounded the boulder, kicking up a trail of wet leaves and the smell of tannin. That’s a lot of detail for a mere hunch. Why, you can visualize the oak, can’t you? That thick, knobby trunk. Those bare, crooked branches. And carved into the bark—
Six feet into the grove, Rags-n-Bones stumbled to a halt and stared vacantly at a patch of earth. Something was very wrong. Was he being watched?
He whimpered. He was being watched. A disapproving stare pressed almost tangibly on the top of his bowed head. Branches swayed creakily overhead. He watched the wind skitter a fallen acorn across the carpet of leaves.
Squeak? Nipper scrabbled at his cheek.
I have to do it. Slowly, Rags-n-Bones lifted his gaze to meet the watcher’s.

The avocado hit the leaves with a soft crunch as his fingers abruptly slackened. Punishment had arrived sooner than expected.

Author Bio:
A. E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them. This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless SkiesFireside Magazine, and in World Weaver Press’s own Specter Spectacular. Like all writers, she is owned by three cats. Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at

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