Shifting Shadows - an interview with Thorne Moore

Thorne Moore is many things - a Law Graduate, a historian, a maker of Lilliputian furniture, a writer of crime fiction and 'domestic noir'... With three well-received novels and a book of short stories already out and a new novel set to come out of the Shadows any day soon, Thorne took the time to talk to Remy Dean and answer a few questions for IAWN...

Thorne Moore considers the light and the shadows

Remy: Conducting these member interviews for IAWN, I have found that most authors here (myself included) are also passionate about the wider arts and are visual artists of some kind as well as writers. You also have a second outlet for your creativity - making miniature period furniture replicas! How do these two branches of creativity tie-together for you?

Thorne: I suppose they both make use of my imagination and my creativity, which I hate to see go to waste. At the end of each day I have created something, at my laptop or in my workshop. Something other than money. I haven’t just pushed endless pegs into holes or papers into pigeonholes. On a very mundane level, they also provide the opportunity to be self-employed. I discovered very early on that I am not very good at being employed and fitting into someone else’s plans, doing what I’m told. I like to make decisions for myself and be responsible for my own disasters – and the occasional triumph.

You write ‘Domestic Noir’ – what is that and why does the genre interest you?

What is Domestic Noir? Good question. I write psychological dramas about ordinary people coping with traumas that tip them out of their comfort zones. Yes, the trauma is usually a crime, so my books rank as crime mysteries, usually in domestic settings, not in police stations or amongst international drugs cartels. They are about the people involved and their emotional reactions to events, sometimes over many years. If people guess the culprit early on, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is revealing how traumatic moments come about and how they affect the survivors. I don’t do sadistic torture scenes or police procedure or neat country-house cosy puzzles.

Thorne Moore's bestseller,, A Time for Silence

With your particular interest in art especially paintings of historic settings and ‘antique’ furnishings… how long before you write that Historical-Romance-Domestic-Murder-Mystery? 

Ah. Funny you should say that. My fourth novel, Shadows, which is about to be published by Endeavour Press, is set in an old house in Pembrokeshire that is riddle with ancient unexplained mysteries. So to accompany it, I am polishing off a set of novellas - Long Shadows - set at various times in the past in the same house. Historical, yes, but murder mystery rather than romance.

If you had a time machine, which historic person would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

I suppose I should say Napoleon or Anne Boleyn or someone like that, but I think it would be my mysterious great great grandmother, Martha Thorne, and I’d ask what really happened with her. Long story, all to do with family angst and dramas.. Other than that, maybe I’d like to meet the British victor at the siege of Mount Badon in about 500 AD, and ask if his name was really Arthur.

In your author biography, you tell how you were brought up with parents who stood by their values. Would you say that your writing ever becomes a vehicle for your own values and do you think a writer has any social responsibility in highlighting or dealing with wider issues?

Undoubtedly my values colour what I write and I can’t imagine writing something that doesn’t explore and question some aspect of society or general humanity. Setting is very important to me and settings make no sense without social context, so I write about it. But that’s me. I don’t know that I would expect all writers to be guided by social responsibility. It might lead to some rather heavily didactic writing. Themes that filter into the flow of the story are fine, but blindingly obvious sermons are likely to put readers off.

Motherlove - settings need a social context

What was the first book you can remember that really wrapped you up in its magic and carried you off into its world?

The Tombs of Atuan, one of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books. I can remember my skin crawling. The imagery and atmosphere that she created in it are still embedded in me.

Who have been your favourite authors and what have you learnt from them?

Jane Austen – keep going and keep laughing. John le CarrĂ© – nothing is black and white. Barbara Vine – people are complicated

Is there a favourite book, one you have re-read or return to often?

The Bell, by Iris Murdoch. I usually read it once a year. Painful comedy and tragedy in one.

Do you have a writing ritual or regimen and what time suits you best? 

No rituals or specific regimes, but I’m a morning person, so I write early. I like walking, and do my thinking, plotting, problem solving, while walking, but I write first thing in the morning, before I bother to get up.

Long-hand or keyboard? 

I used to write long-hand before word processors came on the scene but I’m not sure I can remember how. I use a laptop, which is the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

What is the view from your usual writing place?

Usually the cat on the end of the bed.

...and, finally, Shadows sounds very intriguing, can you tell us a little about your new novel?

The narrator is Kate Lawrence, a woman who has a paranormal gift. She can sense where violent death has happened. Or she thinks she can. The book is not really about paranormal matters but about how isolating it must be if you thought you could see-hear-feel things that other people can’t.

Kate has become very isolated and emotionally frozen, as a result of trying to conceal the shadows she can sense, but she’s determined to get the better of them. So, she comes to live with her cousin Sylvia who has bought a derelict mansion in North Pembrokeshire, with all manner of extravagant business plans for the place. The house is old and, of course, it has shadows that only Kate is aware of, but while she focuses on them, new shadows are in the process of being created around her, thanks to the arrival of Sylvia’s appalling son Christian. Everyone has reasons to feel guilty, but some feel it more than others.

Thank you very much, Thorne!

Thanks for asking me.

Thorne Moore was talking with Remy Dean

For Moore info visit
Thorne Moore's Official Website

and to buy her books - or read the reviews - check out her amazon author profile

for Moore musings, 'mutterings' and interviews with other writers, have a look at 
Thorne Moore's Blog, Thorny Matters


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