Hunter Ligoure

Arthurian Fantasy Fiction through the Ages, nonfiction, Issue 24, September 1, 2013


What themes do you like to write about? History and mythology. Causality. Philosophy. I like thinking about the social aspects facing our world and dissect them in novel form to work out questions and solutions, if there are any. I like to think about the causes of events, and ask hard questions to get at the human condition. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about King Arthur (thus the essay) and what it means to be an advocate of peace who also rules. Or the person doing bad who also does good—a paradoxical character. An example of this is in my short story, “The River and the Pen.” (published Descant, fall 2013). It tells the story of an average woman hired to drop a pen that contains a lethal virus into a river. Downstream is the unsuspecting village, and the hundreds of people who will become infected and perish. Throughout the piece, the woman struggles with her decision, but rationalizes that it is actually the best thing for the village. It’s a piece that ultimately makes you think. In the end, that’s what most of my work attempts to accomplish.


What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? The philosophy novel is one of my favorites. Stories that combine a certain level of philosophy and thinking, that pause to inquire, while delivering a working story. Usually, books of this nature are multi-layered, like Briefing for a Descent Into Hell by Doris Lessing. While on the surface it is a story of a man’s “descent” into madness, it is also filled with mythological symbolism that necessitates the author’s participation in understanding, but is deeply routed in the larger questions on what it means to be human.

Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I think some of my work, at least in novel form, is allegorically driven. There are always two stories, the surface one that is spoken about in the back-jacket blurb, and the deeper one, that like Lessing’s work, isn’t always interpreted by the reader. For instance, my novel, The Arrow-Maker's Daughter, which is about a frontier man who takes a Native American woman prisoner in order to find a secret gold city, that he hopes will change his financial luck. This is the surface story; the gold city is an allegory for attaining inner riches.

Not everyone will see it. It takes someone who will pause long enough to unlock the puzzle the author intended. In our day, there is so much talk about distraction and being “fast-paced,” and people not having time, but I think this is a small sect of people. Plenty of people spend time with a book, and know when a different mindset is needed. We don’t read Austen the same way as Dostoevsky. Nor would I expect someone to read a Liguore novel the same way they do a commercial novel.
 
Biography
Hunter Liguore, a multi-Pushcart Prize nominee, earned a MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in History. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, New Plains Review, The Irish Pages, Empirical Magazine, DESCANT, The Writer's Chronicle, Rattling Wall: PEN USA, Strange Horizons, Amazing Stories, and more. She is the editor-in-chief of the print journal, American Athenaeum. She revels in old legends, swords and heroes. www.skytalewriter.com