Interview: Caroline Totten

TottenCaroline Totten’s story “By the Sea, By the Sea” appears in the Summer 2009 fiction issue of Innsmouth Free Press.

She lives in Canton, Ohio USA. She has worked as a reporter and a teacher, and currently is a freelance writer. Her fiction, humor, and poetry have been published in print and on the Internet. She is a member of Writers With Humor and the Canton Writers’ Guild. A few of her recent publications are listed in the Directory of Poets and Writers.

How did you become interested in writing Mythos/Lovecraftian stories?

I became interested in writing Mythos/Lovecraftian stories by chance. When I happened on the Innsmouth web site, it held my attention. I was intrigued by the story concept. It ignited my creativity, and at some deep level all my experiences with the sea came into play.
I felt I had walked the streets of this mysterious village. Actually, it was the memory of many seaside villages where I had resided at one time or another that made Innsmouth seem real to me.

What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for my story was fear. I confess I have an unnatural fear of the ocean. It seems like a fascinating, but alien world to me.

If you were a mythical character, who would you be?

I would be Nu Wa, a Chinese girl who shared her name with the great goddess who created the first people at the dawn of time. Nu Wa loved the sea and took pleasure in rowing on the deep waters far from land, watching the sea birds swoop through the buffeting winds or skim low over the waves. But one day a squall caught her boat and she was swept overboard and drowned. Her spirit was filled with anger at the cruel sea that ended her life before it time. Her soul took the form of a white-beaked bird with a many-colored head and red feet. Her soul-bird nested on the mountain, but daily it flew to the sea and dropped twigs and pebbles into the water. Nu Wa vowed she would turn the great ocean into a marsh to prevent it from robbing any more young people of their lives. The sea laughed and told her she would never achieve her goal, no matter how hard she might try.
Why would I be this character? In a literary sense, I share the spirit of Nu Wa (New Water). I drop the twigs and pebbles of my stories into the ocean. They disappear and the great waves roll on.

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IFPInterview: Caroline Totten