Interview: Steven J. Scearce

Name: Steven James Scearce

Author of: “The Assistant from Innsmouth”

Age: I’m 42, actually.

Geographic Location: Kansas City, by way of Detroit and Seattle.

Original Hometown, if different: Kansas City

Twitter feed: @ShinkaiMaru5


Recent publications:

1. “Second Sunday in September” from Rigor Amortis, Jaym Gates & Erika Holt Editors

2. Unknown Transmission (a science fiction web serial)

3. All kinds of alt-rock music articles in magazines that don’t exist anymore

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? Ah… “The Dunwich Horror.” Brilliant.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? Although Lovecraft’s work is almost entirely devoid of relationships, sex, intimacy, and even women, it’s not for us to say that his work is without an erotic quality. The best erotic fiction creates an almost unhinged desire deep within the reader – a madness of sorts. So, for Lovecraft, who was no stranger to madness, the stories and mythos elements may have been a highly-charged projection of his deepest desires – strange and terrible as they may be.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? I believe that I may have been there when the idea was first hatched, like a fly on the wall. *

What inspired your story? My story was inspired by thoughts of travelling through the Miskatonic River Valley. I wondered what it would be like to drive through the valley and into the depths of the unknown. And, as so many of Lovecraft’s characters were ordinary folks who found themselves surrounded by the extraordinary and the horrific, I also wondered what it would be like to walk around in the central character’s shoes for a time and watch those nightmarish events unfold before me.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? During the course of the writing, I listened almost exclusively to the Philip Glass/Kronos Quartet re-imagined soundtrack for the 1931 horror classic, Dracula (with Bela Lugosi).

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? There were nine or ten drafts of the story. One of the early drafts actually approached 4,000 words. Through the course of the editing, I whittled the dialogue and descriptive passages down to a much-tighter version of the original. There were no major cuts. The ending was always the same (horrific), but a brief ritual scene was cut from the final version.

What is your favorite bit?

“The valley itself was wondrously dusky and quiet, although somewhat ominous. Massive trees of deep green foliage populated the whole of the valley and at no point in my journey was my vehicle ever without cover of deep shade. The central aspect of the valley was the Miskatonic River, a broad, dark watercourse that babbled rapid but quiet, as if whispering urgent secrets that only creatures of the water could hear and comprehend.”

* Editor’s Note: It’s true. When the original conversation that inspired this anthology was being had, Steve was a tiny insect, perched on a wall. We nearly swatted him, but he flew away, wings buzzing angrily, and survived to write “The Assistant from Innsmouth”.