“The Yellow Fruit” (for the sign of Leo) by Ralph Robert Moore appears in Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac.
Give us a little bit of background on your writing career.
I’ve been writing since childhood. I discovered writing was a great way to learn about the world around me, by trying to recreate it on paper, and of course over time you learn it’s also a great way to learn about yourself. I started selling stories in the mid-Eighties, but my output didn’t really take off until the mid-Nineties when word processors and the Internet came along, making everything so much easier. My fiction has since appeared in a variety of literary and genre magazines and anthologies both here in America and overseas.
What appealed to you about the Astrologica project?
I’ve worked with Allen Ashley (the editor) a number of times before and have always enjoyed the experience. So once I learned Allen would be editing Astrologica, I wanted to be part of the project. And the theme, focusing on star signs, intrigued me.
Why did you choose this particular star sign – Leo – for your story?
Actually, in this case the star sign chose me. I was in the middle of a dream, feeling my way around, hands over my head, feet shuffling backwards, and a lion appeared in front of me. It seemed so real to me – I could smell it – I knew I’d have to write about it.
Which star sign are you and what qualities of that sign do you display?
I was born November 24, which is “on the cusp” between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Scorpios are often characterized as loyal and passionate; Sagittarians as honest and generous. Who can’t see themselves in those four adjectives?
What is the most accurate / least accurate horoscope you have ever read?
I’ve found the more flattering horoscopes to be the most accurate. There was one horoscope in particular, though, that I’ve always remembered. It was the late Seventies, and I had just moved across country, from Connecticut to California. It was a beautiful blue day in San Francisco. I was wandering around one of the tourist piers by the Bay much like I was wandering around in my life back then, and came across one of those glass booths that house a life-sized automaton. This automaton was made up like a stereotyped gypsy fortune teller. “Let Your Horoscope Tell You About Your Future.” I was curious to see it in action, I didn’t have a lot else to do that lonely afternoon, so I slid in my quarter, then had to answer a series of questions about my date and place of birth, my sex, and some questions that seemed to be completely random. After a long enough wait to where I began to wonder if the machine was broken, the automation suddenly whirred into action, arms lifting, head jerking, set of metal playing cards in her elderly right hand fanning out with a buzz in front of her dead eyes, and a long white strip of paper curled out of the front of the booth. Her prediction? “You will get stranger and stranger the older you get.” I still remember that. Such an odd thing for an automaton to say. But I took it as a compliment. When you’re young, and you don’t have a lot of money, and you’re three thousand miles away from everyone you know, you try to find a compliment in most anything.
Where do you go from here?
Apparently, getting stranger and stranger. I have a “novel in the form of short stories” I’m trying to sell, Ghosters, about a loosely-connected group of death-sensitives.