Interviewer: In “The Bureau of Sinful and Emotional Gods”, how did personifying your assigned emotions by using the literal gods of ‘Awe’ and ‘Lust’ help you explore the feelings more? What did you learn about awe and lust through your characters and writing process?
David Gray: Oddly, it was the process of deciding which of the emotions to make male and which female that was more illuminating, not least about my own preconceptions and issues regarding the emotions I was assigned. I initially wanted to have Lust as the male, but couldn’t write it without him seeming a right creep. And yet I thought it ok to make Lust a woman? Hmmm. Though in my slight defense, Lust is smart and Awe is stupid. I realize I must be all kinds of messed up.
Interviewer: How did you separate the major emotion from the minor emotion, both literally and metaphorically?
David Gray: I made Awe physically huge and Lust tiny. So that’s literally lazy of me. But it’s Awe whose personality and actions are the driving force on the surface with all of his bluster, and Lust whose machinations cause the whole thing to happen.
Interviewer: After finishing your story, what was the single most valuable take-away from the experience?
David Gray: That I am ill-suited to specific commissions. I spent months mulling ideas over, and finally opted for my first – and exceptionally literal – interpretation. Which, compared to some of the wonderful stories in the collection, is shallow. But I hope amusing.
Interviewer: Given that this is a “score” anthology, what representative piece of music would you connect to “The Bureau of Sinful and Emotional Gods”?
David Gray: Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”, or Anton Karas’s zither theme music from The Third Man.
You can find David Gray on his website and on Instagram @david_a_gray.
Buy the Score anthology, which includes David A. Gray’s story “The Bureau of Sinful and Emotional Gods” focused on Awe and Lust.