Interviewer: In “Selkie’s Song,” how did your minor emotion, ‘sorrow,’ change the dynamic of your primary emotion, ‘lust’?
Mariah Montoya: Before writing this story, whenever I thought of lust, it was usually accompanied by joy or excitement. It was never sorrowful. My minor emotion pushed me to think about what prompts us to be physically attracted to certain people. Is it based on love? Is it purely a drive to reproduce, or can it be more? In Selkie’s case, her lust for Luren derived from an intense desire to produce offspring with someone who was rich and powerful enough to grant her children the kind of privilege she was denied – unfortunately, the plan backfired, and her lust produced even more sorrow.
Interviewer: After finishing your story, what was the single most valuable take-away from the experience?
Mariah Montoya: I was amazed at how difficult it was to keep a story confined to just two emotions; it completely altered the characters, plot, ending, dialogue, and even setting. During the writing process, I wanted my characters to do more or say different (less cringy) things, but they were molded by lust and sorrow. In the end, I was pleasantly astounded that an emotional prompt could be so challenging and liberating at the same time.
Interviewer: Given that this is a “score” anthology, what representative piece of music would you connect to “Selkie’s Song”?
Mariah Montoya: Although it doesn’t necessarily reflect a fantastical ocean setting, “Notice” by Little Mix has some very sensual, sorrowful vibes that remind me of the tone of “Selkie’s Song.”
Follow Mariah Montoya on Instagram @mariah_author.
Buy the Score anthology, which includes Mariah Montoya’s story “Selkie’s Song” focused on Lust and Sorrow.