I have a very special guest on the blog today. She features in a number of short stories, she is universally admired and, some say she has special powers. Please welcome, Miss Moonshine from 'Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings'.
MissM Thank you for inviting me, dear. I have Napoleon with me, he's not too well today and I don't like to leave him by himself when he's poorly. I hope you don't mind.
AW Not at all and I hope he's feeling better very soon. We'll talk quietly, as he's snoozing. So, you feature in a new book, an anthology. Tell me, what was it really like working with nine very different writers?
MissM Not that difficult at all. Naturally, they all had their own ideas of me as a character. They each had a very individual setting for their stories, so there were one or two moments when I felt that not quite everything gelled. So, I peered over their shoulders and planted the slightest whisper of a suggestion in their minds. By the time they came to collate all their work and look at it as a whole, there was nothing further for me to do. It was a pleasure and an education to work with them all.
AW I notice on the back cover of the book, there is a small silhouette of you and Napoleon. I must say, you are looking very elegant in your Edwardian dress and hat. It's very different from the Doc Martens described in the book, though.
MissM I am, as the people who need me perceive me. Sometimes they barely perceive me at all. Take Clare Sampson, for instance. When she first visited, she was so lost in sorrow that she had stopped noticing the world around her. It was a pleasure to help her open her eyes again – and now she always comments on what I’m wearing! And I do love Edwardian styles. The wide-brimmed hats are my particular favourite. You could fit a whole menagerie onto one of those hats. Of course, the skirts aren’t practical at all – hopeless for running in, for example. But sometimes it’s nice to be impractical.
AW Your amazing Emporium, Miss Moonshine, how do you know that the objects you select or are given for sale, are the ones that you really need?
MissM It's just wisdom and insight. As soon as Beatrice Diamond came into my shop, I knew she was looking for something more in her life. I gave Beatrice something she might find useful, but of course, in the end, it was Beatrice herself who took hold of her first chance at freedom and flew away with it. When Hettie Brown walked back into my store a decade after her last stay in Haven Bridge, I knew she would need a helping hand. Finding her the perfect vintage outfit for her day with a handsome local and a gentle hint or three about rethinking her direction in life was all just part of the service, of course! But, Lola Brown, needed direction, and her colourful jewellery told me she would appreciate the Angel Stone. I don’t normally give away my stock, but I sensed she was in a confused state that day, poor girl. However, the stone soon began to work its magic.
AW Interesting! About your magical powers –
MissM I'm sorry to interrupt, my dear. But magical powers? I would never say that. When you have dealt with people for as long as I have, witnessed how they behave and, seen at first hand what people are capable of, you learn a wisdom that cannot be granted or given. You develop an insight that gives you the confidence to watch and wait and to provide whatever is required at precisely the right moment. I have spent many, many years learning and perfecting my craft. When Diana Riston first came to me, what she needed most was shelter, somewhere to live and to grieve for the loved ones she had lost. I could help her with that until she was ready to move on. The pianist Grégoire Beaufort was very different. Tired after his flight from Paris and the drive from Leeds airport in the pouring rain across bleak, empty moors, he almost completely forgot why he came to see me. But, I was still able to help him.
AW Hmmm. OK, last question, what do you think your 8-year-old self would make of you today?
MissM I'm not sure I can remember what I was like as an 8-year-old. It was such a long time ago. I think I hope she would be pleased that I had used my craft to the best of my abilities. I do remember as a child always wanting to help wherever and whenever I could. I think she would be pleased about the book, too, although perhaps a little shy of the consequences. I think an interview of this nature may have been a little daunting for her.