Arthur Charles Manfred Edwards, resting against the hotel room door, handle poking into his back and fire emergency poster affixing itself to his bald patch, clutched the bomb to his chest. The bomb, which for the purposes of the story we’ll name Lullaby, was a traditional cartoon version of a bomb, a little airship-like in shape and gold in colour. Arthur didn’t know much about bombs, only slightly more than Lullaby who thought itself a six-year-old boy. Children scared Arthur.
-from The Coyote Corporation’s Misplaced Song by Cate Gardner
PS: Welcome Cate. What’s in your room at The Hyde Hotel?
CG: There are threadbare sheets that the current occupants and countless others have worried at with fingers and teeth, and a phone that cries for attention and grows lonelier with each ring.
PS: Lullaby is the most wonderful bomb I’ve ever encountered. Where did he come from?
CG: In the reality of the story, he dropped from the sky. In his mind and mine, he’s a little boy who wants to be so much more. If you’re asking how he came to be in terms of story, then oh goodness, that little gem is long lost in the swirl of other things and probably the result of eating too much chocolate that day.
PS: Your writing is unique, I think. Part Roald Dahl, part James Thurber and all Cate Gardner. Would you consider doing some dark novels for children?
CG: I already have and they live in dusty boxes in my study. Once upon a time, I thought they were very, very good, then I realised they were horrid. I suspect I wrote The Coyote Corporation while working on a children’s novel as when I try to combine writing for children and short stories at the same time my shorts tend to come out extra-weird and a little odder. I’ve been promising my niece I’d write something for her for years, but I think she’s given up waiting as she’s started writing her own stories (I’m so proud).
PS: What’s the appeal to you about the hotel as a setting?
CG: A hotel can be anything and anywhere your story needs it to be. There’s something creepy about all those endless corridors. It’s a place most of us are familiar with and hopefully no one I know has ever stayed anywhere as unsettling as the Hyde.
PS: Do you have a favourite story in the Hyde Hotel collection yourself?
CG: The Blue Room by V.H. Leslie
PS: What’s your favourite hotel story/film?
CG: Probably 1408, although the last time I watched it, while in the midst of knock-me-over grief, I declared I could never watch it again. It’s one of the most unsettling movies (haven’t read the short story it’s based on) I’ve ever seen.
PS: Do you have any new projects you can talk about?
CG: Well, Snowbooks are releasing my novella The Bureau of Them at FantasyCon this year alongside novellas by Ray Cluley, John Llewellyn Probert, Mark Morris and Gary Fry. Very excited about that. I have two hush-hush projects (short stories) in the works, one due the end of April and the other next year. Other than that, I’m hibernating.
Liverpool-born Cate Gardner lives on the windy shores of the Wirral with the horror and crime writer Simon Bestwick and a ghost called Kneecap. Her short stories have appeared in Black Static, Postscripts, Shimmer, Best British Fantasy and many other weird and wonderful places. You can find her on the web at www.categardner.net
When the Moon Man Knocks appears in Black Static Issue 48
The Tranfiguration of Mr Punch contains Cate’s novella This Foolish and Harmful Delight.