In this installment of Issue 045 author interviews, we’re spicing things up with a dash of eldritch horror, just to keep things interesting! Be sure to read Hannah Hulbert’s story “Cosmic Resolution,” then come back here for her illuminating interview.
LSQ: What a fantastic and fun delve into the mythos of The Elder Gods! I love how Marina’s opening reaction to what is undeniably weird is fairly mild—I feel like her ability to take intrusive tentacles (almost) in stride is a neat bit of potential foreshadowing when it comes to her heritage. How did you decide to start the story here?
Hannah: My writing is always fueled by whatever is making me furious at the time, though I try not to make it too obvious. While I was writing “Cosmic Resolution”, I was thinking a lot about domestic violence. So, when we first meet Marina, she’s already been confronted by the tentacles a few times and tried dealing with the situation using denial and tentatively asking for help. The opening finds her settling into acceptance that the problem is real but also out of her control, and her Mum is either unwilling or unable to help. She’s reached a point where she just lets it happen – until things escalate and she’s forced to decide what to do next. As she discovers more about who she is, she finds that there are more options available to her than she could possibly have imagined!
I like to start my short stories just before the main dilemma presents itself, and that’s where we find Marina – dealing with an escalation of an already unpleasant situation, forced to decide how she’s going to react when so few options seem available.
LSQ: You do a great job laying out the relationship between Marina and her mum and by the end of the story, I had a much different impression of her mother than at the beginning. Who or what inspired Marina’s mother and her path skirting along the edges of darkness?
Hannah: I loved writing Marina’s Mum so much! She’s one of those characters you love to hate, but as the story progresses, you realize that there’s actually a real person inside that grimy exterior that you feel for. When I wrote her she just sort of sprang fully formed from my brain, like Athena. But when I read her now I can see I was subconsciously basing her on Marsha from “Spaced.”
LSQ: The end makes me wonder a bit about split timelines—whether Marina left the mother she grew up with in another world, while she hopped over to a happier timeline. Could Marina’s cosmic powers have unintended consequences, or should we take this happy ending at face value?
Hannah: This is such a great question! All of my main characters are really explorations of facets of myself, and Marina is no exception. When she blasted her way through reality and created a better world, she was only thinking about herself and escaping the immediate threat of the tentacle monster in her hallway. She wasn’t thinking about the consequences of her actions or possible repercussions in other timelines. I don’t think we should expect her to – she’s just a kid dealing with a bad situation (which she did nothing to deserve) the best way she knows how. By extension, that’s what I was doing when I wrote her – myopically trying to fix the dilemma she was in. I think if there are unpleasant side effects we need to blame them on the Elder God who brought this entire situation into being. Unfortunately, I think that Prime Mover was me. Sorry, Marina!