Interviewer: In “Faux Ami”, your two assigned emotions, curiosity and respect, both involve a certain level of sophistication. When Moira discovers the Scarlett Inn, curiosity trumps her fear, for “The impulse [to run away] was nevertheless muffled by a more potent inclination, that which had made her follow the two humans. It was, she was amazed to find, more intellectual than it was passionate.” Combined, the curiosity and respect within both Moira and Elinor dissolve their hostility. Do you think that curiosity and/or respect overpower flight-or-fight responses?
A. Martine: I absolutely think that both emotions halt fight-or-flight in its steps, and more specifically: that curiosity usually dissolves the flight instinct, because it causes one to want to linger behind and figure out what is going on, and that previously established respect (or admiration/esteem) can impede the impulse to fight, if only for a moment. Curiosity and respect don’t seem necessarily related, at face value, but while writing this story, their correlation became obvious to me: if ignorance is the root of hostility, then curiosity, which seeks to challenge it, and respect, which could stem from that, are the antidote, and they always pay out in the end.
Interviewer: How did the involvement of these two “intellectual” emotions shape your characters and story ending?
A. Martine: My characters are governed by the impulsive, primal and intuitive realms, so to offset that with something so cerebral and levelheaded helped me give them depth and reveal their inner contradictions. Beyond that, this clinical quality of thinking is something they have in common, despite their differences (in social status, in age, in species) and is the thread that would always have tied them together. I was going with the principle that what makes us similar is always going to be louder than that which does not, and that crossing that threshold of suspicion and joining forces will always combat loneliness and personal tragedy. So that ending was always very clear to me, before anything else.
Interviewer: Do you think a flow of emotions, such as attempted in this anthology, can be as important within a single work as the causal chain?
A. Martine: While it’s normal for one or two emotions to dominate in a given story, I think that having many underlying emotional currents is key to plot development and character growth. Those transitions are inevitable, and however short the piece is, move the events forward. That said, in the context of an anthology, I believe it’s more interesting to see how the stories fit in alongside each other, and the general scene it paints for readers.
Interviewer: Given that this is a “score” anthology, what representative piece of music would you connect to “Faux Ami”?
A. Martine: “Violet” by Marika Hackman encapsulates the intellectual attraction and animal instinct that define Moira and Elinor’s relationship. It also touches upon the subtleties and versatility of respect and curiosity, that push-and-pull of enmity and mutual fascination.
Buy the Score anthology, which includes L’Erin Ogle’s story “Shiver Soft Feathers” focused on Despair and Trepidation.