Hammer Down by Marshall J. Moore
Private investigator Althea Stagg is having a rough week. When her beloved bike breaks down outside of Vulcan Motors, she thinks that her luck might just be turning around.
Pro tip: When dealing with the gods, always assume things are going to Hades in a handbasket. It saves time.
Marshall J Moore Hammer Down GOGV2
INTERVIEW WITH MARSHALL J. MOORE
- What was your inspiration for this story or favorite part about writing it?
I loved writing for Althea Stagg in Grumpy Old Gods Volume 1 and knew I wanted to return to the character and world for the second installment. This time around I knew I wanted something a little more action-packed, and to explore a different iteration on the “Grumpy Gods” theme. The idea of Hephaestus as a mechanic had a lot of appeal for me. My family has owned and operated an auto repair shop in Coventry, Rhode Island, Moore’s Motors, since 1927. My grandpa has run the place for over half a century and still goes into work there every day. So as soon as I settled on Hephaestus as a mechanic, I knew I had to ground him in that family legacy. “Hef’s” accent and demeanor are both a tribute to my grandpa.
2. How much research did you do and what type? Include most interesting or most unusual.
Most of the research I put into “Hammer Down” was about the car that serves as Helios’s modern-day sun chariot. I’m not the kind of guy who’s really into cars –I haven’t even seen any of the Fast & Furious movies! So I did a lot of searching for cool vintage cars and settled on the 1977 Trans Am Pontiac Firebird, AKA the car from Smokey and the Bandit, although I chose it as much for the name as for the fact that it’s an iconic American vehicle.
3. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
My dad was in the Army, so I moved around a lot as a kid. When I was in first grade we changed states halfway through the school year, and my new classroom had a far more advanced reading program than the previous one. I was so far behind that they placed me with a Special Ed teacher, Mrs. Wall. I was stubborn and easily frustrated, but her patience and kindness won me over. The moment I finally understood –how the letters on the page made words, how the words made stories- was like discovering a lost continent.
4. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
That’s a hard one, especially since “underappreciated” is such a subjective term. Instead, I’ll go with the lesser-known works of a popular author: CS Lewis’s Space Trilogy. Perelandra, in particular, is full of some breathtaking moments and imagery.
5. How many ‘in-progress’ works do you have?
I’ve gotten better in recent years at focusing on one thing at a time. Currently, I’m working on finishing the first draft of a full-length Althea Stagg novel. I’m also busy editing a nonfiction book, Kwajalein: Notes from the Smallest Island, a collection of memoirs and pictures from family friends about Kwajalein, the tiny tropical island military base where I grew up.
6. What does success look like to you?
Being able to walk into a bookstore, find a book I’ve written in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy section, and secretly signing it.
7. Do you have a favorite place to write or writing ritual?
I have a computer desk in my home where I usually get the bulk of my writing in. Admittedly, I do have two very demanding cats, so when they start getting too distracting I tend to head to the coffee shop across the street.
8. What do you do when you are not writing?
I practice and teach Muay Thai, a martial art and combat sport from Thailand. Known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai uses elbow and knee strikes as well as punches and kicks to score points against an opponent. It’s both brutal and beautiful, and my experience sparring and competing helps add a measure of realism when I write fight scenes.
9. Any last words for our readers?
You will be seeing much more of Althea Stagg in the future! Keep a lookout, and feel free to get in touch on my social media pages.
Marshall J Moore Hammer Down GOGV2
Marshall J. Moore is a writer, filmmaker, and martial artist who was born and raised on a tiny tropical island in the remote Pacific. He has traveled to over twenty countries, has sold a thousand dollars’ worth of teapots to Jackie Chan, and was once tracked down by a bounty hunter for owing $300 in overdue library fines. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Megan and their two cats, Delilah and Furiosa.