We welcome author Angela Meyer to discuss the inspiration behind her latest literary novel Moon Sugar.
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Angela Meyer on her inspiration for Moon Sugar
I began writing Moon Sugar as a thriller or crime novel: a missing person story that also engaged with ideas of sexuality, surfaces, and online expression and commodity (and the blending of these). I was still working in publishing at the time and I worked on several crime novels and was inspired by the authors’ ability to plot, to create tension, to draw you into the story.
But the real work on a novel often begins for me when some sideways element slides in and, well… explodes it out.
I like layers; I like to play and to invoke big concepts and questions. I was flying back from a trip overseas (in the beforetimes), and at the time my dad was very ill, and on the dark plane, sleepless and wracked with anticipatory grief, something bloomed inside me that I can’t quite describe. It was a sensation of love and gratefulness, even amid difficulty, and it’s something that helped carry me through the years and challenges to come, and the writing of this novel.
I realised then that something very big would happen to my character, Mila. She was dealing with her own griefs, one of those being for a life she thought she would have. (Certain heteronormative expectations we are all familiar with, but also a genuine longing for partnership and for a child.) I thought about her potential and her power, about her being able to be open again to the world after the ways she might have closed herself (or been closed) down. But, as I was realising in my own life, this opening happens often alongside friendship, and community.
My character Kyle becomes her buddy and sidekick, and through the younger characters I also explore the differences in even two very close (in time) generations; the intelligence and awareness of people in their twenties, and how this often translates to a pressure of responsibility, too; and how, while attitudes to sexuality and gender have come very far, there may be discrepancies in experience based on age, background, the internalisation of stigma, certain layers of privilege, etc.
Both Mila and Kyle end up searching for Mila’s lover Josh, while Mila is undergoing a huge transformation, and it gets a bit dangerous, and there’s a lot they have to consider about this strange situation they find themselves in.
The pandemic happened as I was writing it, too, of course. I decided to resist what a lot of writers were doing (avoiding it!) and keep the book contemporary. Part of the point of the book is to not look away from our current situation/s, including climate change. How can we open ourselves to the inevitability of the current moment?
How can we own our griefs, our worries, our anxiety, and yet also be open to love and connection, and engage with action?
Moon Sugar takes the reader on a ride, and it is both playful and probing, and I hope people find it both stimulating and enjoyable.
Moon Sugar Book Synopsis
Mila can’t shake her grief for the life she thought she’d have. She’s broke, childless, and single. But her developing relationship with Josh, a ‘sugar baby’, opens her eyes to new possibilities.
Then Josh goes missing on a trip to Europe – a presumed suicide. Mila, and Josh’s best friend Kyle, are devastated, yet they suspect something is amiss. Together, they feel compelled to trace Josh’s steps across Budapest, Prague and Berlin, seeking clues in his last posts online.
Yet is there one mysterious factor Mila hasn’t considered?
Is running toward danger the only way for Mila to meet her true capacity? Or will it mean yet more loss?
This genre-defying stunner asks how we might make the most of our power in the face of fear, loss, and the unknown. It celebrates our ability, despite great challenges, to be intimate with others and with the world.
‘Sexy and smart and hyper-colour and haunted, in the most beautiful way. As I read Moon Sugar, memories and feelings from my own life and the characters’ lives kept surfacing, and then sinking again. Using magic as a form of truth, Meyer has written a story that is at once pure, dark and startling as life itself.’ – Laura McPhee-Browne, author of Cherry Beach
‘Moon Sugar evokes a world that is strangely ours and recognisably something else. A wild, genre-bending ride, irradiated by grief.’ – Miles Allinson, author of In Moonland
(Transit Lounge Publishing, October 2022)
Get your copy of Moon Sugar from:Booktopia AU Amazon Transit Lounge
Genre: Literature, Drama, Mystery
About the Author, Angela Meyer
Angela Meyer (she/her) is an award-winning writer and editor. Her debut novel, A Superior Spectre (Ventura/Saraband), was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, the MUD Literary Prize, an Australian Book Industry Award, the Readings Prize for New Australian Writing and a Saltire Literary Society Award (Scotland). She is also the author of a novella, Joan Smokes, which won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Award (UK), and a book of flash fiction, Captives. Her work has been widely published in magazines, journals and newspapers, including Island, The Big Issue, Best Australian Stories and Kill Your Darlings. She has worked in bookstores, as a book reviewer, in a whisky bar, as a commissioning editor and publisher, a teacher of writing and publishing, and a freelance editor and consultant. She grew up in Northern NSW and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Check out her website and connect with her on Twitter.