For our penultimate author of the month, we speak to Mog Moogle, author of arguablythe most infamous parody story ever published in the furry writing community – but don’t worry, we aren’t here to discuss TBAGS! Instead, Mog is here to discuss his more conventional stories and how he goes about crafting them.
Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?
I recently wrapped up a YA fantasy novel. It was an underdog coming-of-age story. The setting was a lot of fun. An order of knights that ride dragons. The main character has a disability that doesn’t allow him to telepathically link with the dragons, so he’s forbidden to actually be a dragon rider. If I had to pin it down to a particular inspiration, I would probably say that Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern was an influence. I know there will be similarities, but it wasn’t a direct one-to-one.
Also finished edits on the urban fantasy noir novella, got it to draft 2, as well as edits on the medieval fantasy, taking it to draft 2. Both of those are distinctly furry, unlike the YA fantasy that has humans and sentient feral dragons.
What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?
I like the people. I like interacting with them and my best friends are furry. It’s a tolerant place, a safe place, where I can be myself. That’s something that just kind of seems lacking in most of the rest of the world. I do miss the conventions a lot. I would do writing panels almost all day at conventions. I miss helping other writers in that in-person way.
Why do I write furry fiction? That’s a question and-a-half, isn’t it? I suppose the simple answer would be I really enjoyed reading it, and decided I wanted to try and write it. I found of all the creative things I have attempted, writing has been what I’m best at and enjoy the most.
What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?
My writing process usually starts with an idea. Cliché, I know, but that idea is just something that pops into my head and I have to write it down quickly or I lose it. I have a text file of one line sentences that are the ideas that pop into my head. That gets a little more fleshed out if it’s something I am particularly obsessing over.
When it comes to larger projects like the novels, I do outline. It’s very basic, usually has the key points I want to hit, but I am very much a pantser in letting the characters get to them on their own. I like that, because I surprise myself often, and find that I’ve accidently foreshadowed when I’m reading back. That’s all done subconsciously, and it tickles me to read back and see I accidently a good. Also, letting the characters take charge and move the story without me tightly regulating them leads to interesting developments. In the medieval fantasy, two rivals fell in love. When I was writing that, I remember thinking, ‘well, I didn’t see that coming.’
What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?
Characters. That’s not something I can objectively say from my own observations, because I am attached to each of them in my own way. My opinion would be biased, I’m sure. But, time and again, one of the biggest compliments I get are how my characters seem relatable and people get invested in them. I am really grateful for that, because I do invest a lot of myself in them. I am normally a very empathic person, so conveying those emotions that I feel with them to the reader is a huge compliment.
What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?
I like to write the stories I would like to read. The urban fantasy noir story, for example, I had not scene that mix of genres. I’m sure it exists somewhere, but I thought it would be interesting to read one, so I wrote it. I would say it does align well with what I like to read, because I find myself reading a lot in the genres I most often write. Right now, I seem to be on a big fantasy kick. All three of the last big projects have been a flavor of fantasy. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last novel I read through was a steampunk fantasy, and before that, it was Koa of the Drowned Kingdom by Ryan Campbell.
Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?
I don’t think I can narrow that down to one character. Some of me goes in all of them. There are characters I really enjoy writing, some more than others, but to nail it down to a specific one would probably be impossible. I guess I could cheat and say that the self-insert character of Mog, (not Professer Mog, (yes that’s misspelled but it’s supposed to be,) in a few stories I wrote for a friend would most directly be identifiable to me.
Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?
Wow, that’s also hard to pin down. I suppose if we are going back to the very beginning, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien and The Giver by Lois Lowry are what made me fall in love with reading. By extension, that means I fell in love with writing a little later down the line. Andy Wier with his light hearted but techy sciencey writing has been a fun inspiration of late. That lets me know a story can be goofy and accurate.
In fandom, two of the biggest influences would be Faora Meridian, of which I really enjoyed Cold Sleep and his Blood and Water stories. Ryan Campbell for his fantastic worldbuilding and vivid imagery while having an amazingly approachable writing style with an economy of words. Several friends in the various writing groups and organizations like Jaden Drackus, T.J. Minde, NightEyes Dayspring, Slip Wolf, Ocean Tigrox…and many many more. Tim Susman and MCA Hogarth on the more mainstream side of things. Rukis was an early inspiration. Yeah, I could go on for a while and still not name all the authors and works that influenced me.
And, I certainly don’t want to forget to mention Dwale. It was my go-to for anything related to poetry, and my Leo for Top to Bottom is definitely partially credited to it.
What is the last book you read that you really love?
Hmm…would it be pretentious to say Piety of the Damned by Mog Moogle? I mean, that was technically the last book I read that I really loved. But if we’re talking about something I didn’t write, then it would have to be The Martian by Andy Wier. I was hooked from the opening line.
Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Pina coladas and walks in the rain? No, not really. Don’t like pina coladas and walking in the rain just gets me wet. I used to BMX a lot, but since I tore the ACL, there is much less of that. Occasionally, I’ll get hooked on a video game and feel the need to play through it. I do like stuff outdoors. Recently cowboy camped on the river. Sleeping on rocks isn’t so fun, but being so far out that you can see the Milky Way is always a treat. I like to walk around the falls not far from me. But, these past few months, a lot of my free time has been writing, reading, or thinking about writing. Hammered out two novel drafts in three months.
Do you have any advice to give other writers?
There is one thing I say at almost every panel I’m on, because it is very universal. The only incorrect way to write is not to write. Writing is like any skill. Sure, you can call it talent, but what most people mistake for talent is actually hard work, dedication, and thousands of hours of practice.
Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?
I had to think about this for a long time. Things are moving in good directions overall. I do wish there would be more calls for submissions, but the past few years have thrown wrenches in about everything. So what I finally came up with is I would like to see more of us getting mainstream crossover. Ursula Vernon, Tim Susman, Watts Martin, they’ve all done so and shown we’re just as good, and in a lot of cases better, than some fairly big mainstreamers. So it would be nice to see more of that for sure.
Where can readers find your work?
Well, I’m around here and there. I recommend doing a search on Furplanet’s, SofaWolf’s, and Weasel Press’ websites for Mog Moogle to see the various anthologies I am in. As for something more direct, there’s my SoFurry page, which is the most up to date public releases and one-off works.
I co-host a furry literary review podcast called Up Fur Review. (I promise we’ll get back to releasing episodes soon,) and I do that with TJ and Jaden Drackus. You can find us on twitter @UpFurReview
I recently started streaming the writing, and that has been loads of fun with a lot of great interaction and co-working with others that watch the stream.
Links to everything can be found on the twitter, along with writing updates, stream notifications, pictures of food, and other twittery stuff @Mog_K_Moogle
Tomorrow we speak to our final author, and after that we shall be concluding the month with another publisher. Please do come along for both of those as we bring Furry Book Month to a close for another year.