Issue 049 Author Interview: Ivy Grimes and “The Goddess of Fear”

Inspiration and writing techniques abound in our Issue 049 author interviews! Today Ivy Grimes, author of “The Goddess of Fear,” shares some of her writing process with us.

LSQ: You wrote one of the best first lines I’ve ever read for this story. It gripped me immediately, the seeming dichotomy of safety and fear. Was this one of the first lines that came to you, or did you rework it over and over until you found the perfect balance?

Ivy: Thank you! I actually think I started with “The beast cannot enter. The Goddess of Fear is stronger.” In revision, I circled back and set up my main character and setting (not something I always do in the first line), and I came upon the idea that she was safe in the Temple of the Goddess of Fear. And it seemed true, so I kept it.

LSQ: Fear as constructive isn’t an angle that seems to get looked at very often, in real life or in fiction. By the end of this story, though, I was completely invested in the Goddess of Fear and her priestesses. How did your personal beliefs about fear help or hinder you in figuring this story out?

Ivy: I struggle with anxiety, but I also have positive feelings towards anxiety. Sometimes it sends false alarms, and sometimes it alerts me to real danger. And while I can take steps to mitigate my anxiety, I can’t eliminate it entirely…so I might as well embrace its reality. In some ways, Thora has been ignoring her fear. Thora’s feelings of love and responsibility lead her until the priestesses take her in and show her the potential power and wisdom in fear.

I also love mystics who enter trance states and bring wisdom to others. I think storytelling involves a similar process. I thought it was sort of funny but also meaningful that the priestesses of fear must have terrors every day for the sake of the world.

LSQ: I love the star-crossed lovers angle, but I also love the idea that, in fact, love for another doesn’t have to be everything. Just as Jon made choices that led to his situation out of a desire to elevate himself, so Thora made the choice to love her own life more than an uncertain future with Jon. What do you hope readers take away as the central message of “The Goddess of Fear,” and would you ever write the stories of other gods and goddesses and their temples?

Ivy: When relationships (whether romantic or otherwise) end, we can feel uprooted. It can seem like we don’t belong anywhere. This story would probably resonate most with someone who has actually been afraid of a partner, but I feel like it’s relevant to anyone who has experienced the death of any kind of relationship (friendship, family, etc.). I would hope this story could serve as a reminder that new relationships will come, and there are safe places. I hope Jon finds a safe place, too, where he can heal.

It would be interesting to explore the other deities (and other mental states and emotions)! It would also be interesting to explore deities whose gender is fluid. In this story, I felt like I needed a Goddess of Fear because Thora ultimately needed to confront an avatar of herself so she could learn how strong she was.

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