Timeless Lust Author Interviews Part 1

What is your favorite line or paragraph from the story? Why?


Jess Lea


Keeper of the Bed Chamber

If I have a favourite line in this story, it is towards the end: “It isn’t Alexandria, this place, but here and there it is beautiful. It occurs to me that maybe the soldiers won’t come, not tonight, not ever.”

In a world where we are bombarded with images of GLBTIQ people as marginalised, violated, defeated or dead, it was important to me that Ariston found a hopeful ending and things to enjoy and look forward to, even in exile.

Slave Nano


The Nemesis Bird

Some of my favourite lines would be story spoilers so I’ll avoid those. I’ll go with the Caliph’s response to seeing the titular Nemesis Bird for the first time: “Now, he possessed all manner of precious objects: rubies the size of rocks, luminous pearls from the depths of the Arabian seas, and exotic beasts from Barbary Africa, but he had never seen the like of this before.”

Part of what I wanted to do with the story was capture some of the spirit of The Tales of the Arabian Nights and this is the kind of language I used to do that. It also lays the ground for magical element of the story provided by this wondrous bird.

Murin Piper


Touched by Fire

I won’t quote word for word because it’s more about the unspoken context but there’s a moment where an uncertain Marcia asks Licinia to prove that her desires won’t anger their goddess and it leads Licinia to have a “God can strike me down if…” moment. Those are always powerful, even as someone who isn’t religious by any stretch, I get a shiver from saying that because not only is it deeply blasphemous, it’s almost daring it to happen and you have that little moment where you’re like “damn, what if I get struck down…” For Licinia, being a believer, it’s a massive moment of faith to hold her hand out above the flames and almost dare Vesta to burn her and like us all, she has that moment where she has to hold her breath and wait for it not to happen. It also reaffirms her confidence both in her religion, that she is doing right by her goddess and it proves how secure she is in her relationship with Aemilia, giving them a solid foundation to bring Marcia into.

Konrad Hartmann


Lot’s Sin

“Ado was impure, but you are of the flesh, and you are our flesh, and you must come into this flesh so we may continue to live, Lot.God has only burned the dross. Come into me, Lot, that I may swallow your seed, and with it create life.”

These lines are heard by Lot during a vision when his daughter’s vagina speaks to him. I wanted to explore the idea of greater beings working through the characters, mixing the profane and divine.


Arena’s Breed

My favorite part is the gladiatorial fight between Avitus and Faustina (“Avitus staggered backwards, the hilt of the quadrens projecting sideways from the left eye hole of the helmet”). In this scene, I tried to put together what would have been a memorable fight for the arena. While we don’t have precise information about how all of the equipment was historically used, I tried to make a reasonable conjecture of how it could have happened. I don’t know if anyone likes this scene, but I really wanted to write a good combat moment.

Annabeth Leong


Hunting Artemis

“‘I will know the touch of no man,’ Artemis purred. ‘But my Theron deserves some reward. Give him this for me.’ She bent her head and kissed me full on the mouth, her sweet tongue pressing my lips open and slipping into me.”

That’s my favorite paragraph because it represents the heart of the story, in which the main character, Nikia, serves as a conduit between the chaste goddess Artemis and the warrior Theron.


The Snake and the Lyre

“‘Child, don’t look so fearful,’ said the Lord of the Underworld. ‘This place differs from the land under the sun. We do not flinch from our desires here, but we keep our secrets with the most sacred respect.’”

That’s my favorite quote because it represents what I think of as the story’s key innovation. When writing a retelling of a classic tale, I think it’s important to add a layer of insight or interpretation, or to answer a question that the traditional version raises. In the story of Orpheus, I always wondered why he was prohibited from looking back—what’s gained by that rule? This quote from Hades gives my answer to that question.


Andromache’s Prize

“The woman before Briseis tossed her hair back, fires from behind her giving the brown mass of curls a bright red corona. She wore very little—her breasts were bound tightly against her chest with strips of cloth and a garment around her waist seemed more a place to attach her weapons and tools than an effort to cover the cleft between her legs. An improbably large bronze shield was strapped to her left forearm, but she showed no strain from holding it.

‘Andromache?’ Briseis said, awed. This was the first time since the death of Achilles that a warrior’s ferocity had stirred her.”

This is my favorite bit because I loved envisioning Andromache as a total badass. That image of her makes me much happier than what I’ve found in some traditional stories—it hurts me to think of the proud wife of Hector consigned to a life as a concubine and slave.

Mina Kelly


Never Before Touched by Cupid

“Give him five years, my dear. He will hunch like the rest of us, with no voice from dictating and eyesight like a blind beggar. He will have my belly from Maecenas’ exquisite catering. Not to mention everything his pretty Cynthia will gift him with.”

Horace is having a laugh at his own expense, but he’s perfectly happy with his lot, and has a sinking suspicion Propertius will be too.

Natasha Neil


Hera’s Punishment

“Bound and naked, the King of the Gods refused to be humiliated as well. He would get out of this, and when he did, he would punish these traitors…Apollo and Poseidon, he would make into slaves, yes! And to a mortal! Zeus laughed softly to himself, his eyes glowing with fire. Ares he would curse. Zeus had never liked his combative son. No one did. He would make Hephaestus his servant. The Smith God would make him anything he needed. And if Hephaestus disappointed him, Zeus would have him watch as he ravished Aphrodite. Despite his bonds, he smiled. He rather liked that idea. His mind turned to Hera, his traitorous wife, unfaithful sister, conniving queen. He would think of something exquisite for her.”

I like this paragraph because it shows Zeus’s character as well as his relationship to the other Olympians. In many myths, there are arguments between the gods. However, this story is one of the few actual attempts by the Olympians to usurp Zeus’s throne. Zeus had usurped his own father’s place. Yet it is not Zeus’s son who is the threat, but his sister and wife who endangers his place as King of the Gods. But even tied up and naked, Zeus doesn’t try to negotiate. Instead, he spends his time imagining how he will extract revenge. He is assured of his own power and never doubts his right to rule.

Elly Green


Scylla’s Pool

“Circe’s scream sounded far more like the roar of a lioness than the shriek of a scorned woman. Not that Glaucus would remember. His body crumpled to the floor in a heap, unconscious. The arc of energy she had released sizzled in the air above him, the odor of sulfur filling the room.”

This one paragraph took at least eight rewrites to get just right. I wanted to express her anger, his betrayal, her power, and his utter stupidity in a rather simple and graphic way. As the end of part one, I needed an impressive, dynamic scene to wrap-up the reason everything else happens. It is one thing to know she is a sorceress. Another to experience that power personally. Oh, and as the misquoted quote says, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”



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