Authors’ Commentary on "And Injustice for All"

Lawyers in HellAuthors’ Commentary on
»And Injustice for All«
in Lawyers in Hell
The Idea of Hell
It all started with a shrunken head that talked, and an idea.

When I was first approached to write in the new Lawyers in Hell anthology, my initial thought was “Oh my god, what am I going to do?”

I’d never written a short story before, and despite having my first published novel available in stores, I really felt unprepared for the monstrous task at hand. To write in something so established as Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell series was terrifying, especially given how many important writers were contributing to the upcoming anthology.

Lawyers in Hell So I spoke with Janet Morris, the editor and creator of the series, and  mentioned an idea I had for a doll in the form of a talking head, hoping I wasn’t overstepping my bounds.  This doll would be a miniature head that made prophecies.  Prophecies, in hell, could be both good an bad.  Good, because prophecies always have power.  Bad, because sometimes prophecies are heard by the last person in the universe who should hear a prophecy (or three).  Thus, the hellish manufacturing company called Prophecy Head Dolls, LLC was born.  But, while the idea was amusing, one prophecy-head doll alone couldn’t carry a story by itself.  I needed someone from history who would do the absolute worst thing with a prophecy:  take the prophecy as career advice.  The best person I could find for the job?  Marie Antoinette.

Now, I may have been harsh with Marie Antoinette in my story, And Injustice For All, but her character provided the suspense in the story, creating the potential for mishap that I love to explore in my writing.  I want my reader to think while things are going on, and I try to place clues throughout the story as to what may happen next.  Marie Antoinette and her best friend in hell, Henrietta Maria, are the perfect foils, my duo of misadventurers in hell.  These two characters would be oblivious to the overarching story arc of Erra and the Seven, but the changes in the greater hells would still change their lives.

Jason CordovaIn my vision of hell, little nuisances become torments:  the splinter which becomes infected; the dress which snags on the only exposed nail in the stairwell; the oppressive air pollution.  My hell features punishments as petty, vindictive and cruel as the damned souls who populate hell’s  underworlds.  Things go wrong, bad times get worse,. and Injustice falls harshly upon Marie Antoinette and Henrietta.  However, I still wasn’t sure how to wrap up the story in a balanced manner.  It wasn’t until Chris Morris showed me just how the prophecy-head doll could tie everything together that the tale became complete.

The story of Marie and the prophecy-head doll is about how to deal with the intricacies of hell as they smack you in the face every five minutes.  Do you struggle to achieve Paradise or give in to the temptation of sin?  Or are you such a simple person that hell really is just another bad neighborhood?

Damnation awaits the unprepared, and I hope you enjoy And Injustice For All as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And Injustice for All, © Jason Cordova; Perseid Publishing, 2011
© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved

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