Interview: Constella Espj

Name: Constella Espj

Author of: “Ipsa Scientia”

Age: 35

Geographic Location: Las Vegas, NV

Original Hometown, if different: Nashville, TN

Twitter: @alphabete


Past publications: I was once published in a little indie magazine called Unoriginal, whose editor actually pen-named me.

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? “The Shadow Out of Time” is my favorite Lovecraft story, because I love the more intellectual horror of the Great Race of Yith making use of other creatures’ bodies for their studies.  I can’t deny that I would love to find myself at their library, even though the end result is typically Lovecraftian.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? The first thing that came to my mind was “squamous tentacle sex under a gibbous moon” but once I managed to stop thinking about that I thought that it seemed like a brilliant challenge.  The two ideas seem so distant and dissonant to me that I honestly had not thought of it before I heard of this anthology.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? On Twitter!  One of the writers I follow kept mentioning it and eventually my curiosity took over from there.

What inspired your story? I have a friendship with a very smart man who could probably talk to me all day about physics and I would simply listen and ask him questions.  My story is a pretty extreme fictionalization of the dynamics of our relationship.  Without this friendship, my story would not have come into being.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? I listened to a lot of Sorten Muld, which is a Danish folk-electronic group.  I cannot understand the lyrics to their songs so they don’t distract me.  An added bonus is that I know what their songs are about (folklore set to lush music) but since I don’t speak Danish I got to feel a little of how my characters feel, this sense of knowing what something is but not being able to grasp it.  I also listened to “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors because it’s kind of a nerd love song.  Rounding out the selection is this “Zalgo Invocation” I found on YouTube.  Zalgo is a sort of Lovecraft-esque…corruption meme and the invocation is plenty creepy and atmospheric.  I emphatically do not recommend listening to that while in the dark and/or home alone.  At all.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I did about eight rewrites.  This is actually the most revision I have ever done on a story and wow was it a learning experience for me.  The story I ended up with, while the same in spirit, is definitely not the story I started out with.  Characters appeared and disappeared, there were changes of location and a lot of changes in transitions.  The ending had about six different incarnations.

What is your favorite bit?

“Later, after their goodbyes, Kara was too excited to sleep. Everything Jake had told her was swirling in her head. Her heart was pounding and she was panting. Her fingertips traced the curve of her breasts, the plane of her belly, the angles of her hipbones. She giggled softly to herself, remembering how she’d told Jake that the Navier-Stokes equations made her think of navels and strokes and soon the fabric of her panties was like spacetime, curved to the density of her desires.”