L. L. Hill is a woman of few words. So few, I actually don't know that much about her! We will call her a woman of economical words, since she is also a poetess. Her story in this anthology has that same quiet air about it, as all her emails do:
Give a one or two sentence summary of your story.
My story 'Ordained' is about the conflict between Thai brothers. One is a gifted and innovative monk and the other chose Occidental learning.
Why did you choose this particular theme?
As a teacher, I noticed the pride Thai students took in their heritage while they learned all of the requirements of a modern curriculum.
When the anthology theme was posted, I decided to try to Steampunk Thai culture and adapted some of the mythology that is still publically displayed.
Did you do a lot of research for this story? If you did, found anything interesting?
The year that I spent in Thailand and everything that I learned about Thai culture contributed to this story. That includes amulets, architecture, and religion.
I noticed that Thai culture remains strongest when the traditional use of amulets is maintained.
Tell us a bit about where you've set your story.
Phu Phra Bat Historical Park was a major inspiration for this story. This is an area adjacent to Nong Khai and features unusual geological features that have been acknowledged as a spiritual and historic site. While traveling by bus on a mid-term break, I also noted caves that were still in use near wats on the bank of the Mekong River.
What was the hardest part about writing this story?
The hard part was figuring out transcendental meditation, yet even that was fun.