In co-ordination with the good folks over at EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing—and as a small part of their online event 18 Days of Tesseracts (September 18 to October 7, more information here)—I hereby present Part Four of the interview series Writing Gods, featuring email chats with a number of the many authors who’ve contributed to EDGE’s newest (and eighteenth[!]) Tesseracts anthology Wrestling with Gods.
Today’s interviewee: Carla Richards
Carla Richards is a Canadian author who writes mainly contemporary and paranormal humor. Interest in the paranormal comes naturally to her–her grandfather read palms and did numerology. She loves writing about unexplained phenomena and quirky love stories. Carla has also recently finished her first book for children.
Carla received an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards (Science Fiction/Fantasy Category), and 3rd place in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Short Manuscript Competition. Her short story, “The Wrath of Spock,” was produced for CBC Radio.
Tell us about your story, “Summon the Sun.”
An irresponsible novice witch summons the Egyptian Sun God, Ra, to help warm up winter. But how much can a deity accomplish with a present following of one part-time Starbucks barista?
How did your story come about?
It was very cold. I got thinking creatively about how to fix that, and I thought of Ra. A funny mental picture, and a first line, pretty much just came to me: “Ra sat in my living room, in my bathrobe—the lavender one with ducks on it—soaking his feet in my foot spa.”
What is it about so-called “genre” writing that makes it such an effective avenue for theological discussions?
I think genre writing is effective for theological discussions for the same reason it’s effective for tackling any difficult topic. It gives the reader and writer a degree of separation from real life, and that distance makes the topic emotionally easier to process, and promotes out-of-the-box thinking.
Who’s your favourite god? Least favourite?
Although I’m rather fond of Ra, the story of The Fenrir Wolf tugs on my heartstrings. He was the son of Loki, and raised by the Norse gods when he was a pup. But then a prophecy said he would be instrumental in bringing about Ragnarok (the end of the world). The gods tricked him and chained him in an underground prison because of the prophecy. If you don’t believe in pre-destiny, it makes you wonder if being betrayed and chained becomes the real reason he would fulfill the prophecy.
My least favourite is Zeus, because he seems like kind of a jerk.
Sometimes characters do and say offensive things, and our job as a fiction authors is to tell the characters’ truths, which aren’t necessarily our own.When writing about theological subjects, do you ever worry about upsetting someone?
Yes, particularly because I know some people think everything an author writes is their personal opinion. It isn’t. Sometimes characters do and say offensive things, and our job as a fiction authors is to tell the characters’ truths, which aren’t necessarily our own.
If it turns out there is one god ruling over all, what’s the one question you’d ask?
I struggle with the dichotomy between the law of attraction (which involves picturing and believing you already are the way you want to be), and the buddhist teaching of just being present with what is(acknowledging your current state, whatever that might be). So, I’d like to ask how that all really works.