A warm welcome to author Mark David Campbell joining us today to talk about new release “Eating the Moon”.
Welcome Mark 🙂
What scene is the most fun?
The scenes where Tukuman, Pico and Guy attend Nando’s initiation ceremony still makes me laugh.
What is the most frightening scene?
I think the most frightening scene is where Guy and Smiley are swimming with Tiki, and Guy realizes there is something swimming underneath them.
Have you ever been in the water with sharks?
Yes, while snorkeling in Belize. I’m frightened of sharks (and snakes too) but I was warned in advance that the shark was there. It was only a four foot nurse shark (not a man-eater) and I dove down so I could see the splendid beast up close. What a beautiful creature, indeed!
Have you ever fallen in love with your best friend like Guy does with Luca on the island?
Oh, yes, too many times and I was always left with a broken heart. In fact, the name Guy comes from a friend who I was head-over-heels in love with, but I never told him. I don’t think this is a rare experience for gay people.
Happily, the guy I’m in love with and married is also my best friend. Two birds with one stone, eh?
Who is Nando?
He’s an amalgamation of various friends and boyfriends, I’ve had over the years – or at least the nice ones. Physically, Nando is similar to an old boyfriend of mine but his personality is quite different. Nando is a lover, a caregiver, a teacher and a protector. He is creative, sensitive and at times timid. He’s not a party boy or macho man, yet Nando embodies some of the finest qualities a man can have. I have to admit, even though I do like guys who are ‘ruff and manly,’ like Luca and Kizo, I have a weakness for boys who are sweet and caring, like Nando, Pico and Lalli. I guess one is not necessarily exclusive of the other.
Is the older Guy bitter and pessimistic?
Absolutely not! He’s a lonely, frightened man who protects himself with his cynicism and detests hypocrisy. He is a man with many faults and human failing but he always tries to help and defend others who can’t help and defend themselves. Like most of us, he desperately wants to be needed and loved for who he is.
Who is Richard?
Richard was a difficult character to write because typically psychiatrists/psychoanalysts say and do very little. Their job is largely to listen. The other difficulty was that psychiatrists/psychoanalysts are usually very careful to guard their privacy and do not permit patients to know anything about their personal lives. Guy, on the other hand, can only relate to someone on a reciprocal interpersonal level. And so it was a challenge for Guy, quite an invasive person, to find out about and understand Richard. Although Richard is intelligent, he’s a bookworm, and quite clearly, Guy has much more real life experience and often runs circles around poor Richard. In the end, however, Richard is able to tolerate and manage Guy, a truly horrible patient, and even win his respect.
Why does Guy pressure Richard to out himself?
Guy believes that Richard has constructed a safe elaborate lie and is making many of the same mistakes he made in his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality. As Guy reminds Richard, truth is food for the mind and lies are poison.
Why is Guy so interested in Richard’s relationship with Armando?
Guy sees Richard heading down the ‘glitter trail’, unaware that Armando, a true gemstone, is right there in front of his eyes. Once you penetrate his defensive cynical exterior, deep down inside, Guy is really just a romantic.
Where did Tukuman come from?
He was an amalgamation of two people I knew; a shaman and a WWII pilot. His background story of how he came to the island was inspired by the squadron of planes that disappeared in the Bermuda triangle just after the war.
Who in the book are you most like?
I wish I were most like Kizo, Pico and Luca (before the grog), but I’m much too nerdy too be cool. My domestic skills suck, so I couldn’t hold a candle to Nando. And I’m certainly not wise like Kyle. I’d have to say I’m a combination of Guy the geek on the island and the cantankerous old Guy in the studio. Since I didn’t come out until I was almost thirty and conveniently hid my sexuality within the protective walls of academia, I’m also part Richard.
What was the most difficult part in writing this book?
The most difficult part was structuring and balancing the two contrasting settings, the psychiatric studio and the island. It was essential that what went on in the studio had to relate to and reflect what was happening on the island, yet both storylines needed to be able to stand on their own. With two parallel storylines, the other problem was to avoid unnecessary complexities while weaving together multiple intricate details.
What does Guy mean when he says the following?
“Men? Women? Bisexual? Pansexual? Metrosexual? I don’t know what any of it means. My whole life I’ve fought to be homosexual for myself, gay to my friends and a faggot to the rest of the world. Now what am I? What is anyone, anymore? I miss the days when we were perverts, Nancy boys, fudge packers and fairies, and only we shared the secret shadowy corners.”
I believe he is lamenting the days when out of our persecution we created a strong sense of identity and collectivity. He is also commenting on how many in this generation have conveniently forgotten our struggle for identity and rights and even shun those courageous warriors who fought to give us what we have today.
Eating the Moon
What if there was a place that nobody else knew about – a secret place – where everyone was queer?’ That’s the question Guy, a 70 year old, lonely gay anthropology professor asks Richard, his 32 year old psychiatrist. During their twice weekly sessions, Guy tells Richard a fantastic tale of his experience as a young man bound for Cuba on a cargo ship which sinks in the Bermuda triangle. Guy and the first mate Luca are washed up on the shore of an uncharted tropical island and discover a complex society where almost everyone is homosexual.
Eating the Moon takes you on an erotic tropical vacation to a place where all your fantasies of homosexual love and sex can come true, but as both Guy and Luca soon discover, even paradise comes with a cost.
Mark David Campbell is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for the past seventeen years where he teaches, writes and paints, moving between Lago Maggiore and Milan with his husband. Prior to moving to Italy, he spent twenty years studying and working in archaeology and anthropology in Canada, Central America, Jordan, Egypt and Greece and earned his Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto where he taught as a part-time professor.
In addition to writing, he has shown his paintings at numerous individual and group shows in Toronto, Canada and throughout Italy. In his spare time, Mark David Campbell likes scouring second-hand stores, boating on Lago Maggiore and eating pizza and drinking beer with friends.