BackStory: Five Questions with K. Noel Moore

Richmond Barracks

BackStory: Five Questions with K. Noel Moore
Author of Homecoming

Who are your favourite historical fiction writers and why?

A: Emma Donoghue, hands down. I loved Room as much as anybody, but it’s her historical work I really can’t get enough of. Frog Music is in my top five favorite books, historical and otherwise. Given the subject matter of this particular piece, I also feel compelled to shoutout Jamie O’Neill’s At Swim, Two Boys, even if that’s the only piece of his that I’ve read.

If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?

The turn of the 20th century, like maybe 1901 to 1902. There was just so much happening at that point, socially and technologically, that I wouldn’t be able to observe it all even in a year, but I’d do my damnedest.

What, if anything, do you have in common with your main character?

We’re both disabled, but have a great drive to get beyond our struggles in order to serve a greater cause. My disabilities are mental, unlike Tig’s which are physical, but I feel like we’ve been doubted in the same ways. His words resonated with me for that reason.

We are open to imagined and alternate histories as long as each story rings true of itself. How important is historical accuracy to you in your own writing?

I like to work in magical elements where they work with reality, and I have filled in plenty of gaps where information simply doesn’t exist, but for the most part accuracy is very important to me. One of the jobs of fiction is to transport the reader somewhere else, and I want their travel experience to be as authentic as possible.

If you’d like, insert your own question here!

If you could have three historical figures over for dinner, who would they be?

James Cagney and Murray Hall, for two. I’ve written poems about both of them and I would love to see what they were really like, face-to-face. As for the third…honestly, it would probably be somebody off Boardwalk Empire, Lucky Luciano or somebody like that. I’m obsessed with the old-school Mob, and again, I just want to know what he was like. What do you even talk about over dinner with somebody like that, you know? How does he act after one too many glasses of bootlegged whiskey? I would keep terrible historical company, is what I’m saying.

K. Noel Moore is a writer of fiction realistic and fantastic, short and long, historical and futuristic and everything in-between. She is the author of Undertown, a ghost story set in Great Depression America, and has had work published in several magazines. You can find her tweeting @mysterioustales, or blogging at

Photograph of Richmond Barracks courtesy of The National Library of Ireland.