Issue 045 Author Interview: Greta Hayer and “The Blinded God”

Ready for another Issue 045 author interview? Today Greta Hayer’s in the hot seat, answering questions about her story “The Blinded God“.

LSQ: What a lovely and mysterious story! There’s a great tension between Thea and Timon right from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of their feelings of faith and doubt, the way they seemed to change places as the story went on. Which character did you come up with first? Was their relationship central to your initial plot, or did it come in later as you thought out the religion and backstories?

Greta: Thank you! I’ve been thinking about the character that turned into Thea for a long time. Partly, it was a challenge–could I describe a world without relying on a character’s vision? But I also like magic that demands a price and gods who are mysterious and frustrating and rather unhelpful. Timon came later when this story was trying on its plot for the third or fourth time, and, with his help, the pieces started to fit together, from Thea’s questions of faith to the fire at the end.

LSQ: Thea’s moments of doubt, especially near the end, are intriguing. She’s having holy visions at the same time that she’s convinced the amphora is nothing more than a jug. Is her perception of its simple nature accurate? Should that make us question the accuracy of all of her visions—could these pictures be her imagination, rather than divine inspiration?

Greta: I really love an ambiguous world where the magic can slip into hallucination, and so I’m glad you’re asking this kind of question. I don’t have a great answer, though. In my first draft, the True Sight was far more powerful and absolutely divine, but as this story changed around in revision, Thea’s doubts grew and her powers weakened.

I did think of the amphora a bit like Christian reliquaries, where bones or vials of blood or even clothes are preserved as something holy and special because it (might have) belonged to a saint long ago. I don’t think that the toe bone of Saint Someone actually has the power to heal a believer, but if the person has faith that they’re healed, maybe something clicks in their mind and they can start a healthier life. Placebo is a hell of a drug. So maybe the amphora will work exactly like people want it to, simply through the power of their belief. I don’t know though. I didn’t write that part yet.

LSQ: I’d love to see more of the world of the Blinded God (pun intended)! Would you ever revisit this story or setting?

Greta: Oh absolutely! This story started off as a chapter in a much longer, now-abandoned novel I wrote a couple of years ago. Thea has changed a lot (even her name), and there’s no amphora or Timon in the original story, but I love the world, which I affectionately call “Ancient-Rome-ish.” I think there’s definitely a hunger for non-medieval fantasy, and when I’m done with the two medieval fantasy novels I’m working on now, maybe I’ll travel back to Thea and Timon, fighting their way through a world of politics, gladiators, and capricious gods.