Charlotte Platt came onto my radar with her enjoyable A Stranger’s Guide from Silver Shamrock Publishing. She kindly agreed to offer up a story and you find her in the Fifth Circle of Hell, with her tale, ‘Sunken Cost’.
Infernal Clock. What was the inspiration behind your story?
I love the idea of fairness in hell, or what could be considered reasonable or unreasonable in a deal. That span into the story quite easily as deals are a large part of demonic administration if we’re to believe historical texts. I also grew up on an island so the most water-heavy level was always going to be tempting for me!
Infernal Clock. What is your idea of hell on earth?
To be weirdly specific, inescapable sensory overload, I’ve always got headphones in to help avoid that. More generally I think the closest we get to it currently in knowing something terrible is happening and nothing is being done to stop it, the hybrid between helplessness and indignity. We see that repeating over and over through history and across a variety of things currently and it’s a mix of social and spiritual agony, that’s go to be bad.
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?
Well we got rid of limbo in canon, so to speak, so I suppose that has to go. I don’t think I’d keep lust either, though maybe switch that out for “predation”. I’d switch “gluttony” for “excess”, as well, as I always think that one is slightly misnamed. Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence and Fraud are all pretty good as is. Maybe treachery should become something new given our updated world were treachery can be a lesser evil to reveal something worse, such as whistleblowing. I would rather have that circle for wilfully harming others for gain, which I suppose is greed, but we’re seeing it on such a huge scale now it stands apart from the base greed we see in that circle. I think some of the sins have hybridised enough so we could join some of the circles together too but that’s going to be a logistical nightmare.
Infernal Clock. They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?
Either Scott Mackay Where The Enemy Sleeps or The Hillbilly Moon Explosion My Love For Evermore
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 would love to visit the city of Dis so I’d have to jump in at level six. I would love to talk to some of the demons there, because they must have heard amazing things, but I’d probably want to see if there was a lot of cult leaders or the such there. Charlie Manson or Jim Jones locked up in one of the flaming crypts could be interesting.
Infernal Clock. What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?
I like me some heat but I’m very generic. The best and hottest spices I ever had were from a friend who used to receive care packages of spices from family in Pakistan for his Ramadan meals, as he was studying in the UK, and he’d share them with other skint students. They were amazing.
Infernal Clock. Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?
A difficult question! On the one hand, Hannibal Lecter, because he’s such a horror and yet you’re rooting for him throughout the books because the other characters are so awful. However, you are suppose to like him so he hardly counts. I think President Snow in the Hunger Games works was a very well done villain, though I refuse to read the origin story that came out recently as I don’t want to be given warm fuzzy feelings for a dictator characters. Similarly Meruemu/Ant King in the anime Hunter x Hunter was a villain with a lot of interesting development and is probably my favourite anime one.
Infernal Clock. What is your long-term ambition for your writing?
I would like to develop a few universes that I could do more than one work in, and I would love to have more novels published. I’ve got a lot of short stories out there which I enjoy a lot, and I am particularly soft for shorts being made into podcasts or audioplays so I would be delighted if I could see more of that too.
Infernal Clock. Top-tip for other writers. Write what you want to see out there and don’t be afraid to play around with weird things.
Charlotte Platt is a young professional based in the far north of Scotland. She spent her teens on the Orkney Islands and studied in Glasgow before moving to the north Highlands. She lives off sarcasm and tea and can often be found walking near cliffs and rivers, looking for sea glass. Her short stories have also featured in Dimension6, K-magazine and BloodLet. Charlotte presented the pitch for her novel A Stranger’s Guide at the London Book Fair 2019 Write Stuff competition and this is now available via Silver Shamrock Publishing. She can be found on Twitter at @Chazzaroo