... Petra E. Jörns & Bettina S. Meister on Writing For Hell

Petra E. Jörns and Bettina S. Meister ... Petra E. Jörns & Bettina S. Meister ...
... on Writing For Hell

zur deutschen Version The stories for the new book of the Heroes-in-Hell-Anthology, titled "Adventurers in Hell" is almost ready. Many writers already know that they will "be in".  Janet Morris herself is waiting with her story for the winner of the contest "Write a Person to Hell". Don't forget to enter - the contest closes Dec 23rd.

For the first time in the series, we will very likely have German authors among them.

Even though the two German stories are still in the process of editing and even though they are not yet finally accepted by Janet Morris, we asked the two contributors, Petra E. Jörns from the Palatine and Bettina S. Meister from Northern Hessia what it is like to "write for hell".

The questions were provided by Leo Champion, also member of the Lawyer in Hell Working Group.

Zauberspiegel: Where do you see yourself as author and how did you get started?
Petra E. Jörns: In the last years I have written several (yet unpublished) novels and short stories and I believe that I have finally found my way. I now know what I wanted to write and what I can write. Not having this self-assuredness - in my opinion - hindered me to be successful up to date. I have begun writing as a teenager already. I always had a crush on inventing stories – usually with romantic topic. I now have finally realized that this is my strength und this is the topic to which I´m always drawn back.
A friend of mine, author as well, once said about her stories, that war is the father of all things. My answer is that then love is the mother of all things.
Bettina S. Meister: As an author ... well, that's not easy to answer.  I have - like Petra - been wirtiing since being a teenager. During adolesence I first wrote poems that even managed to go into the local newspaper Embarassed and wrote cheesy lovestories, I think I even have some of the notebooks in the stack somewhere. During the last years, being editor of the Zauberspiegel, I felt this urge to seriously write for the public coming back. In 2010 my historical cookbook was published, and now I am working on several projects, short-stories and novels, which mainly deal with adventure, fantasy ad my very favourite right now: Victorian Fantasy or Steamfantasy ... call it whatever you want.

Zauberspiegel: How did you first hear about the Hell series?
Bettina S. Meister: I first got into touch with Janet Morris on Facebook. The initial reason was Horst introducing me to her since he wanted me to meet her. As soon as I got in touch with her, I was fascinated by the idea of the Hell-series of a shared world.
Petra E. Jörns: Horst von Allwörden told me about it and made contact to Janet Morris in facebook.

Zauberspiegel: What drew you to it? Why do you want to write in a series about humans being sent to hell?
Petra E. Jörns: Hell is very individual. For every human hell looks different. Everyone finds his/her own hell. To find this point is what´s most interesting in this anthology. When I found the right protag the rest was very easy. And naturally the topic of my story is love.
Bettina S. Meister: At first, I think the idea of exploring afterlife of a human being particulary interesting. The principle of hell depends grately on what you belive in, even within the religions there are different beliefs. I wanted to try and explore what hell means to an individual with its individuality, personal belief and that of the society they lived in. Secondly I was simly eager to appear in an American anthology together with Janet Morris and the other members of the Lawyers-in-Hell-group.

Zauberspiegel: Was there a difference, writing for the English market, writing in English, as opposed to do so in German?
Petra E. Jörns: To write a contribution for an anthology always means that you have to stick to a given presetting. Therefore it made no difference for me to write for the English market.
Naturally it was a difference for me to write in English. But I was surprised at myself how good it worked.
Bettina S. Meister: Other than Petra I didn't write the story in English. I wanted to concentrate on the philosophical ideas of my main character and found it a lot easier to first do it in German. After that I translated the story to English - thus I had the chance to make an additional edit to the story.

Zauberspiegel: You were working together with Janet Morris. How did you experience her an editor?
Bettina S. Meister: Janet is a very experienced author and learning from her is fascinating. She is very clear on what she wants, yet at the same time willing to let the author do it his/her own way. It is not easy to keep the group of very heterogeneous people on track. This requires a lot of natural authority. She is - at the same time - very understanding and it is pleasure to "talk" to her - as far as chatting in Facebook provides a chance to decide on that. I like to be the ghost who objects, who articulates his different opinion if so. And I think there another true strength of her can be seen: Not to woo the other or ignore him. She tries to convince the other - or just accepts it as a different opinion.
Petra E. Jörns: Janet was very helpful and was keen to explain me all details of the presetting of the anthology respectively to give me hints how to revise my story so that it fulfilled the presetting. But I never had the feeling that she tried to stamp her style on me.

Zauberspiegel: The Hell writers have a community and a regular chat. Did that influence your story? How did it and what does the group mean to you and your work?
Petra E. Jörns: Via the chat I have learned details about the presetting and the stories of the other authors. Finally this didn´t influence me by writing my story.
But it feels good to know that a community stands behind you to which you can appeal if you have problems. Thus Leo first read my story to eliminate the crudest mistakes before I handed it to Janet. This has helped me very much.
Bettina S. Meister: This group is very interesting. Many authors are among them. It has become a habit to talk to them about all kinds of things - including writing, cooking and our stories of course. To me the group has become an important part which indeed influenced me. 

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