Issue 033 Author Interview: Holly Schofield and “Heart Proof”

With the recent release of Issue 033 comes interviews of the nine authors found within its pages (or pixels, depending on your media of choice). We start with author Holly Schofield and “Heart Proof” which is this issue’s featured story. Here’s a tip on how to best enjoy these interviews: it’s a two-part process like this: a) go read “Heart Proof” and b) now read what Holly has to say about it.
LSQ: The concept of sacrificing a culture’s greatest treasures instead of memorializing them, say, in a museum is key in your story but is presented as a benefit to society. What made you think of these actions in this way? Does this speak to today’s culture whereby via technology, almost everything seems to be kept nowadays?
Holly: My hope is that the reader will finish the story and contemplate our rampant consumerism, our chase of the “new and improved”, and our rapidly-growing  disinterest in antiques. And that they will think about those things in conjunction with concepts of planned obsolescence, respect for handcrafted products, and “bespoke” items (which, I predict, will be an increasingly growing trend due to the advent of 3D printers). The concept of “detachment” from material goods that appears in Buddhism philosophy and other belief systems is also intertwined in the story.
LSQ: The concept of religious doctrine shaping a culture is ever present in your story. Was this modeled on any particular real-life examples?
Holly: The transference of knowledge and skills from one generation to the next is a complex issue that no culture has yet perfected. I find it fascinating to think how much information is now stored in the cloud and how much could be lost due to the decline of printed books. I wanted to explore a method of knowledge transfer that was counter-intuitive and see how it played out.
I think that organized religion–or, rather, overly-strict doctrines and overly-rigid interpretations of well-intentioned philosophies–has caused huge difficulties in our maturation as a species. I’m sure that every reader can think of several global and local examples.
LSQ: Can you speak to the title of this piece?
Holly: I do like using puns in titles and hiding them in stories. Since this story has a more serious tone than some of my pieces, I restrained myself and simply let the wordplay between the heatproof nature of her invention contrast with the emotional resistance in her heart.
LSQ: Forging iron, the volcanic landscape for the sacrifices, Kamik’s fireproof box — can you comment on the theme of fire in this piece?
Holly: I wanted to portray a female craftsperson rebelling against a destructive imaginary religion. Her occupation and the setting (which is based on the drive-through volcano on St. Lucia combined with various Canadian hotsprings) served both those needs.
LSQ: What was most challenging about writing this piece?
Holly: The combination of how female roles are cast in society, old age grinding a person down “like spices in a pestle”, and the death from cancer meant it intersected in my personal life in several dimensions.
LSQ: Was there anything in particular that inspired this piece or drove it forward in your mind?
Holly: My starting point was a female blacksmith in a culture where that was unremarkable. Then I simply listened to what Kamik was telling me. I hope you enjoying reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.