Guest post by Wayne Mansfield
As a non-believer I have always found the idea of Hell very intriguing. There is the commonly held notion of Hell as being an inferno of eternal damnation, but I wonder. Since most of the Bible has been changed, rearranged, bits added, bits removed, we can't know what Hell is really like, or even if there is a Hell. At least, not until we die, but then who is going to come back and report? Dis is not an inferno, at least not all the time. It is a dark, barren world constantly capped by thick, low-hanging clouds and scorched black by roaming wildfires.
Of Love and Punishment explores the lives of two demon in love -- a high ranking demon, Raum, and his partner, Charam. They live together in a rocky abode on the outskirts of Dis and have what can only be described as a stormy relationship. Charam is younger and is unusually attracted to sex with human males -- and who can blame him? However, his taste for the carnal is at the root of all his problems.
I often, but not always, write my main character with at least something of myself in him. It's a great way to do all the things I dream about without actually having to do them. Or I can exaggerate the experiences I've had in real life. I am not one for authority and so I liked the fact that Charam does what he wants. He's a bit of a free spirit. He is also immature and a tad spiteful. Yet, in the end his experiences teach him the lesson he needs to learn. This is also my preferred way of learning. Let life be the teacher.
When Raum finally reaches the end of his tether and punishes Charam, he comes up with a unique way of shaming his beloved. The punishment was the first idea I had for the story. I can't remember how it came to me, but these things usually materialise as I'm falling asleep, when I'm dreaming or when I'm under the shower. I thought it was a great piece of imagery and the cogs and wheels of my mind immediately began to concoct a story around this one idea. As the story progressed I knew I wanted the theme to be one about the nature of love; more particularly the idea that despite the fact we truly and deeply love someone, we can do some pretty stupid things. We don't mean to hurt anyone. It's just that when we do have a moment of weakness, a moment of stupidity, or even a few moments of either, we invariably do hurt someone and its a long hard road back to Trust.