by Julian Keys
There was only one thing I knew for certain when I sat down to write By Traveler’s Moon. It wasn’t going to be a supernatural tale. Like my other holiday stores, it would be a down-to-earth romance that focused on the holiday. That, however, was all I knew. And for a long while, I felt like I was stumbling about in the dark. After getting some encouragement from fellow Halloween fanatics at ForbiddenFiction, however, I finally asked myself: “What do you love about Halloween?”
The answer—or rather answers—popped into my mind, and took me completely by surprise. I loved seeing that parade of creatively costumed children, playing pretend out in the open, welcomed on any doorstep. I loved those artistically carved pumpkins, glowing on porches as night descended. I loved how my neighbors inventively decorated their homes with fake graveyards and big string spiderwebs. I loved, in brief, how Halloween made everyone playful and imaginative.
My crystal ball came clear, and I knew that to honor Halloween, my lovers had to be in costume at the start of their story, and engage in play and pretend. As their relationship developed, they would encounter some trickery and shivery chills, carved pumpkins, a haunted house, maybe even a ghost. Most essentially, there would, at some point, be a full orange moon in the sky above them, the kind found on cards with witches and bats and an arched black cat . A Halloween moon to cast its spell on the lovers, their tale, and on my readers.
That was going to be the story. Not a Halloween story, but a story of Halloween. Of why we love it, and why, for all its being a “frightful” holiday, it was made for lovers. This would be By Traveler’s Moon.