Shannon Felton is a talented author whose novella, The Prisoners of Stewartville, was published by Silver Shamrock Publishing earlier this year (a book I’ve read and would highly recommend). Shannon’s story, ‘Her Knife is Hunger. Her Cup is First’, is to be found in the First Circle of Inferno. Here, we ask a few questions to get an insight into the workings of Shannon’s devilish mind.
Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?
I actually don’t know a lot about Christian mythology but I’ve always been interested in non-Abrahamic religions. In H.A Grueber’s Myths of the Norsemen, there’s a section on the Thuringian goddess, Bertha, and her lake of unbaptized children. One line in particular, “tradition relates that she once left the country with her infant train dragging her plough, and settled elsewhere to continue her kind ministrations,” really captured my imagination.
Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?
[Looks around] Is this not it?
I’m only half-joking. It’s easy buying into the idea that earth is hell. We compete for limited resources, and despite how well we do we still lose loved ones to disease and crime, and on top of that we commit atrocious acts of war against one another. But maybe the trick to heaven on earth is finding the good despite all that. Little moments that miraculously outweigh the bigger ones.
Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?
The entry level would definitely be a Walmart and from there you’d descend down the corporate ladder into even darker depths of despair, greed, and perversion. At the end? A private dinner with Jeff Bezos every day for eternity. But he’s the only one who gets to eat.
Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?
HELL from the Valhalla Rising soundtrack.
Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there? (I think it’s best to keep current politics out of it though!)
I would go to the ninth circle of treachery, and the person I’d want to see there knows what they did.
Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten? Can you share a recipe?
I don’t know if it’s the hottest, but my family likes Spicy Sausage Mac and Cheese Bake.
1lb ground hot sausage
1 ½ cups milk
12oz velveeta, cubed
1/2c Dijon mustard
1c hot Rotel
1c sliced mushrooms
1/3c sliced green onions
⅛ tsp cayenne
12oz elbow macaroni
2 tbsp grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage in skillet. Combine milk, cheeze, and mustard in saucepan and cook over low heat until smooth. Stir in sausage, Rotel, mushrooms, green onions and cayenne. Remove from heat.
Cook noodles, drain. Combine macaroni and cheese mixture in large bowl. Pour into greased casserole dish. Cover and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Stir, sprinkle with parmesan. Bake uncovered 5 minutes.
Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?
I watched Megan Follows as Catherine de’ Medici on a TV show recently. She did a great job of being evil, conniving, and murderous. And yet she still also managed to be hilarious and sympathetic. Definitely one of my favorite villains.
Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?
I’d like to someday earn a living from it, have an actual office, hire a maid. Buy a cheese wheel and watch The Hobbit.
Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers
Don’t share your writing until you think it’s finished. I think having time alone with your story before anyone else reads it is really important—like Schrodinger’s Book, if you will— where anything is still possible and it’s neither good nor bad until someone else cracks it open.
Shannon Felton lives in the Phoenix area with her husband, four
children, and dogs. After relocating to the States from Germany, she
focused on a career in writing and has since published several short
stories as well as her debut novella, The Prisoners of Stewartville from
Silver Shamrock Publishing. You can find more on her Twitter