By day, Matt Moore is a social media and communications specialist working in downtown Ottawa. With a Gen-X style, an easy-going nature and career that would not raise one eyebrow; there is no hint that he is a horror author, let alone the breadth and depth at which he approaches the job.
By night, he probably sleeps. There is no hint of the darkness that crawls across the page when he writes. Studious and serious, yet quick with humour, Moore is far from the brooding or maladjusted horror author of myth. So, by the rest of the day, he is also the co-founder of a small writing group in Ottawa (the East Block Irregulars) and communications director for horror imprint ChiZine Publications of Toronto.
Steeped in folklore, he was raised in New England where haunted houses, ghost stories, and the eerie was commonplace. "The atmosphere of the supernatural is just a nudge away, just... don't nudge", said Moore of his influences. In high school, the popular slasher flicks introduced Moore to horror films. Being cautioned away from the genre by his parents polished the gleam of something a little dark and forbidden. They were fine with science fiction, but like any parental unit decided horror was a bit much for their young boy.
Crafting horror in the nations capital can sometimes mirror the projection of parent's fears. While our resident creeps work may look like it came straight from a dank basement, Ottawa Horror finds these creators are at home in sunlit backyard decks, plain home office spaces, or random cafes. Discussing the 'horror community' in the city, Moore said, "I think Ottawa is socially conservative to begin with as a function of the public service dominating this city... I have worked in the private sector, and people bring a lot more of their stuff to work. In the government you don't. If you say 'my wife and i had a fight last night' is that going to make somebody else uncomfortable? Is that harassment? So, that hovers over everything and may have an unintentional repressive effect on the arts in Ottawa regardless of the genre."
A very driven and thoughtful writer, he moved quickly from sitting at a laptop and squeezing his brain hoping a story will plop out the right way. Honing his technique is part of his daily regime, a lesson that most writers learn too late. Or, a lesson some stumble upon too early leaving their creations feeling formulaic and dry. From first draft to final, he finds the story changes. Ideas get discarded outright. Characters change, voices change. "I like the challenge of treating a story as a living thing that will evolve and adapt and fight back."
The rules of compelling writing and believable fiction are burned deep into his mind, as are the rules of various myths and genres branded behind his eyes. He has many hats to pull rabbits from, and with the dedication of an artist and fan, he herds his ducks into a row in the manner of a careful warden.
A great example of thoughtful and sharp fiction is found in his recent flash short Ascension which is a contender for the Prix Aurora Awards. Give it a read. A great reversal, it brings the zombie to life as a character as opposed to a fixture, scourge or weapon. He points out it is intrinsically a science fiction story, saying more about the reactions of society than the struggle of the character. Yet, it remains horrific - being a zombie story in all of it's gun-toting, rotting carcass glory.
(Disclosure: Matt Moore and I not only share a city and affinity for writing short horror, we also now share a publisher.)
Post Mortem Press' new anthology, Torn Realities, contains Moore's recent short, 'Delta Pi'. Among at least one other Canadian author, he is now published alongside the horror gentleman/rock-star, Clive Barker.
He had been writing all of his life, and decided around 2007 to begin making the effort his creations deserved. A dozen short stories later, his e-book Silvermans' Game and a handful of non-fiction articles, Matt Moore has quickly become a writer's writer. Giving workshops and being able to talk about the craft with ease, you quickly forget he is a horror artist, and know he is an author first and foremost.