By Aaron Compton
It was an honour to help edit this collection. As mentee-editor it was an eye-opener on how the real pros do it– Lee and Grace were so great, being part of their team and the process was a joy. My motivation to apply for the position was simply to get some experience within the literature scene of Aotearoa, to learn about editing and to read some cool stories. Amazing stories. The whole experience has heightened my desire to gain more editing experience.
I remember, as a child, being fascinated by a kuia who spoke to a carved ancestor on the marae and seemed to get answers from it. For years the idea of a carving talking to me rattled around in my head, until it fell out, in this story. Moa Love, occurs in an alternate history world that I began creating a couple of years ago when I decided to take fiction writing seriously. I had grand ambitions to write a couple of series of novels in this world, but after about sixty thousand words I realised that I didn’t quite have the skills to do the story justice– it just wasn’t working. I pulled back from that story and began writing short fiction in an attempt to build my skills. I listened to a lot of writing podcasts, and in one of them (The Story Grid Podcast) Shawn Coyne talked about the obligatory scenes readers expect to see in a love story. I decided to write a story that hit as many of those scenes as I could, within my created world. And somehow… it worked. It’s weird, but it works, I reckon. It might seem as if it is set in a future Aotearoa, but in fact the events of Moa Love occur in the 1950s. This isn’t explicitly stated in the text but if you think about what Boy says about the clothes the other characters are wearing, and the decades they come from, and when TripleG died… yeah, 1950s. This is because of reasons that are not part of this story– I’ll have to get back to those novels, someday.