Interview with Stephen L. Moss

Stephen Moss Stephen L. Moss’s short story, Oscar’s Temple, appears in the Summer 2006 issue of Shimmer. Send him e-mail at

Questions About the Story

Where did the idea come from?
The pre-dawn ether.

How did the story change as you developed it?
The Aerids didn’t appear until about the fourth draft.

You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
I did a lot of cutting and it didn’t hurt a bit. Actually it felt rather nice. Like a smake might feel as he gazes at the skin he has just shed. Shimmer’s editors were wonderful in pointing out where the story could be changed and improved.

How is this story like your other work?
Weird stuff happening in the backyard is a common theme for me.

Questions About Writing

How long had you been submitting before you made your first sale?
On and off for years. I finally made a commitment to stick with writing and submitting no matter what. After that, the first sale came in about eight months.

Do you work with a critique or writers group?

What authors, if any, have had the most influence on your work?
Larry Niven, Stephen King, William Gibson

Favorite short story you’ve read recently?

Okanoggan Falls, by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Another “aliens among us” story.

Random Questions

Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural? Why?
Hell, yeah! Why wouldn’t I?

Fast food: Yea or Nay?
Pizza Hut has pretty good pepperoni. And those curly fries from Arby’s, oh man. Otherwise it’s all evil and should be outlawed.

Name one place in your hometown that you love to go to and would recommend to others to visit.
The Milwaukee Ale House. Great food, breat beer, awesome service, and a view of the river.

Is there anything that you would “sell your soul” for?
I would sell my soul to live next door to Tom Waits.

Do you have a secret skill that you never get to show off?
I can outstay any fellow party guest every time. I am the thing that wouldn’t leave.

Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain your answer:
Fifteen. One to change it and fourteen to muse about how much they would like to change it if they could only find the time.

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