Authors’ Commentary on “Interview with the Devill”

Lawyers in Hell Authors’ Commentary on
»Interview with the Devil,«
 the introductory story in Lawyers in Hell

zur deutschen Übersetzung We didn’t expect to end up in hell.  But then, no one ever does.  And we’d been in hell before, for many years, conceiving, editing, and writing stories for our legendary Heroes in Hell™ series of shared-world anthologies and novels.

Then Wikipedia created a Heroes in Hell™ (HIH) page and exported it to Facebook.  So now the HIH series has a Facebook page.  We thought, innocently enough, that we’d put a few messages there, since we were writing The Sacred Band of Stepsons series again, to direct fans to the Facebook page for our first novel in twenty years, The Sacred Band.  Little did we know that the Heroes in Hell™ Facebook page is a portal to hell itself.

Lawyers in Hell The whole Lawyers in Hell project began innocently enough:  author Edward McKeown wrote to the HIH Facebook page and said if we wanted to do a new volume, such as Lawyers in Hell, he’d volunteer to write a story; we didn’t immediately notice the horns on Ed’s head, or his spiky tail.  Then one of our original HIH writers, Rich Groller, said he still had that hell story he’d written for us, in case we ever did a new HIH volume.  Next we called some of our favorite writers from the old series:  Michael Armstrong, Nancy Asire, C.J. Cherryh.  Michael said he still had his hell novel, written for us long ago, and he’d be happy to write a story for Lawyers in Hell and, by the way, did we want to arrange for publication of that novel, Bridge Over Hell, which we’d always loved; we agreed to take both the novel and the story.  Nancy Asire said, “Count me in,” and C.J. Cherryh said, “I’m busy but I can make time.  When’s your deadline?”

These writers would bring some of their most beloved and most hated characters from the original Heroes in Hell™ series, and add new characters.  We said we would do the same.

Books in the Heroes in Hell™ series usually begin with a story featuring Satan.  It’s customary.  It’s appropriate.  We delineate the main story arc during that first story.  We always provide at least an introduction, and usually a first story and a last story for the writers, to guide them:  they set their stories in between our first and last tale.  Each volume is thus defined.

Simple.  So it seemed.  So it always has seemed, whenever we go to hell.  We’d gotten out of hell once before:  few could say as much.  Now we would return to the underworlds, bringing with us veteran hellions and writers newly fallen from grace.

Janet Morris with ChristineWe needed more victims…er…writers.  Ed Mckeown and Sarah Hulcy, a long-time fan of the Sacred Band of Stepsons series, got together and created a “secret” working group on Facebook, where we proposed to share ideas and story elements.  Sarah Hulcy became the group “Muse” and curator of the records for the Hell series:  a gargantuan job.  We made it known that we were accepting writers only on recommendation from Hellions (writers already involved in the Lawyers in Hell project).  We stipulated that we would debut a few previously unpublished writers, and include a few who’d had novels published but never short fiction.

Doomed souls flocked to us, eager to descend into hell, their souls on their sleeves.

We wrote the introduction to Lawyers in Hell and shared it with all our Hellions.  In it, Satan himself confirmed our warnings to our writers:  Heaven is sending auditors to hell; hell is getting more hellish; Injustice will be served.

So we warn you as we warned our authors:  beware.  Read Interview with the Devil at your own peril.  Oh, we know you’re curious.  Go ahead, then.  Indulge.  What, really, can you lose, other than your immortal soul?

And yes, Marilyn Monroe is still Satan’s very private secretary…

Interview with the Devil, © Janet & Chris Morris; Perseid Publishing, 2011
© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved


#1 Tempus Thales 2011-07-19 00:06
:-) Zauberspiegel, this looks wonderful! Thank you so much for your interest in Lawyers in Hell. Janet Morris

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