Dark MoonPeople always ask about how you came up with a novel idea and for me, Dark Moon was born out of a number of things.

I have had a re-accurring dream over the years about a time a snowboarder took me out on a run up at Mt Buller. He knocked the wind out of me and then sat back on his board which was on my leg, and I ended up with a massive bruise that looked like a cut across my thigh. In reality, after I’d snapped at the guy, he apologised and skied off, but in the dream, he never did. He was also much cuter in the dream.

So, one day I decided to sit down and write this scene and see where it took me. It led me to Skye and Jason and their stories. I didn’t initially intend for their story to be a paranormal, but they made that decision for me. Jason just kept turning into a werewolf and Skye kept snapping fire out of her fingers which terrified her. I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal and think there’s a vast world out there that we don’t understand, so their determination to be something other than normal seemed really interesting and I went with it.

The second thing was, I love the idea that someone can change their shape. I think very much of how we identify ourselves is tied up in how we look, how we try to appear to the world and the expectations of society that are placed upon us dependant on how we look. The idea that you could change that shape so drastically and appear as something completely different, something that draws out different expectations of behaviour from society and also yourself, opens up a world of possibilities for me as a writer. It’s not just about the shape shifting, but about being ‘two natured’. There is something endlessly fascinating and discoverable about that.  Not least of which is the idea that my characters’ ability to change into a wolf gives them the freedom to behave in an animalistic way, but one that is tied a little to human behaviour and societal structures.

And lastly, the writing of Dark Moon also centres around my fascination with the moon and its cycle and the way it seems to affect so many people. I always feel a little out of sorts when there is a full moon. I dream more vividly and don’t sleep as well. I’ve also noticed at work that when it is a full moon, the kids I teach (I’m a swimming teacher) just tend to go a little nuts and things that don’t normally bother them, suddenly do, and they behave differently. Those of us who have been working for a while always turn to each other when the kids are like this and say ‘it must be a full moon’, because it’s something that happens all the time to all our classes. Also, my friend, who is an ambulance officer, says that on full moon nights, things are always more hectic because human behaviour goes a little haywire.

So, I began to wonder as I wrote, how the impact and power of the moon would affect people whose lives are ruled by it and how that could affect the deeper themes of the book – acceptance and belonging. I think these are some of the major problems people have in the world – not being accepted for who and what they are, not accepting themselves for who and what they are and therefore struggling with a sense of belonging, to themselves, to family, to a lover, to friends, to society.

My characters all have problems accepting who they are and therefore fight the expectations placed on them. But at the same time they desperately want to ‘belong’. I loved the idea that nature itself could help to shape this knowledge and feeling of acceptance – that a group of people who lived to be ruled by the moon and its influence, could come together under such differing circumstances and feel a part of something bigger, something whole.

In writing Dark Moon, I tried very much to explore these themes and ideas and I am looking forward to continuing my exploration with other characters from the Dark Moon world.

You can buy Dark Moon here:

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Leisl Headshot tweetYou can follow Leisl and find out more about her and her books on her website: www.leislleighton.com

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