Glenn Quigley is a bit of an all-rounder – author, graphic designer, photographer and accomplished watercolourist, as well as an active member of Dublin Bears, Glenn designs posters and t-shirts for the organisation.
Now Glenn adds novelist to his repertoire with his debut novel ‘The Moth and Moon’, published on the 15th of March.
The perfect read for those wet, stormy days of which we have no shortage of here, ‘The Moth and Moon’ takes us back to the 1800s, minus any oppressive religious atmosphere. The book centres around Burly gay fisherman Robin Shipp and his strained relationship with the other residents of Merryapple, the small harbour town in which the novel is set. However, as a hurricane hits the island, Robin convinces the other villagers to take shelter in the labyrinthine tavern named Moth & Moon, and trapped together they are forced to confront more than the storm.
As soon as we heard the canon of gay Irish novels had been added to with the premise of ‘gay burly fishermen’, we arranged a catch up with the author to ask him about his favourite queer novel, the end of the world, Dublin Bears, and how the idea for ‘The Moth and Moon’ came about:
Hey Glenn! For starters, describe the plot of The Moth and Moon in ten words.
Burly gay fisherman faces hurricane and secrets from his past.
How did the idea come about?
It all came from a single vision I had of a big fisherman standing at his bedroom window, looking out across the sea at an approaching storm. I often find that little snippets of dialogue or scenes will come to me (probably because I’m always daydreaming). I write them all down in Word documents and store them in a folder which has been on every computer I’ve ever owned. In 2015 I decided it was time to actually do something with them.
I think around that time I was becoming increasingly fed up with the real world, so I decided to build my own, essentially. Although it’s set in the 18th century, there’s no religion in the world of The Moth and Moon, so it was fun to have a gay story set in that time period without having to worry about any of the usual religious oppression that one might expect to find.
I took this one idea and expanded it into a short story. Once I’d done that, I found that there were lots of areas to explore in this world and a year later, I had a novel. I sent it off to a bunch of agents and publishers, and Ninestar Press offered me a contract.
Is it your first book, or do you have more manuscripts under the bed? (If so, what are they?)
This is my first novel. I have a follow-up planned.
Describe your writing day.
The first half is taken up with the day-job, then I stick on some ambient weather noise (rain, lightning, etc.), open up a Word document and get to work. I find the weather noise helps me block out the rest of the world and focus on the words.
What is your favourite queer novel of all time and why?
Can I pick the entire Tales of the City series? Well, I’m going to anyway. I love that world and those characters. Armistead Maupin makes writing look easy, which is equal parts inspiring and infuriating.
If you could have any five writers over to yours for dinner, who would they be?
Armistead Maupin, Charles Dickens, Grant Morrison, Zadie Smith and Alan Moore.
You design for Dublin Bears. What does bear culture mean to you as a gay man?
Bear culture also gave me an outlet to express my creative side. Firstly designing for Men of the North and our Belfast Bear Weekend events, then with Dublin Bears, as well as other gay and bear events. I’ve made great friends through the bear scene.
Who is the biggest personal influence on your life, and why?
Probably my partner, Mark. We’ve been together for almost 20 years and he’s shaped my life in more ways than I count.
What’s next for you? Any more novels in the pipeline?
I have a follow-up to The Moth and Moon planned.
If the world were ending tomorrow, what would you do today?
Plan to stay up and watch it happen, but fall asleep and miss the whole thing.
‘The Moth and Moon’ is published by Nine Star Press, find out more about it here.
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