Molly Montgomery, whose story ‘The Goddess with Two Faces’ is published in issue 9 of Lucent Dreaming, is a writer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches high school English. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing from UC Davis. Her work has been featured in several literary magazines, including Entropy, X-R-A-Y, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
So, what inspired your piece ‘The Goddess with Two Faces’? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?
I was inspired to write ‘The Goddess with Two Faces’ because I was thinking about how the goddess Persephone is a perfect example of a woman who must constantly juggle responsibilities between two worlds. In her case, she is caught between the world of the living and the world of the dead, but her predicament is similar to women balancing their work life with their home life. I definitely wanted to show Persephone’s agency, which is why in my retelling she chooses to marry Hades. But she’s still limited by others trying to control her and funnel her powers into something they view as “productive.” The fact that she is also a mother doesn’t get mentioned very often in stories about her, so I wanted to show that aspect of her too.
What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?
One book I read recently that I really enjoyed is These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, which is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in Shanghai in the 1920’s, but the main focus is actually a zombie-like plague. I love retellings, especially ones that bridge cultures, and that book was a fun read. In general, I like science fiction and fantasy novels that have a literary bent, such as Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I also love retellings of mythology, if that wasn’t obvious. I’m a huge Madeline Miller fan. As for TV shows, Downton Abbey and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are probably my all-time favorites. I know those are two very different shows, but they are both epic in scope in different ways, and they get better every time I rewatch them.
What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
I’m really looking forward to having more time to write over my winter break. I’m a teacher, so most of my writing happens during breaks and over the summer, though I’m trying to develop the habit of writing more consistently.
I am currently working on a historical fiction novel about the experience of a mixed race girl growing up in an orphanage for Chinese girls in California. It’s partially inspired by my grandmother’s experience of growing up in the Ming Quong Home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was fully Chinese, and I’m mixed race (Chinese and white), so in the novel I’m putting myself into her shoes but then changing things around a bit. When I get frustrated with novel writing, I write short stories.
Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?
I got into writing because I had teachers who encouraged me to write stories and to keep a journal. I initially wrote because my teachers gave creative writing assignments in elementary school, and then I kind of got hooked on it. I loved writing fanfiction in high school. I have notebooks filled with fanfiction that will never see the light of day, but I don’t think it was a waste. Fanfiction taught me how to think about character, plot, setting, and so many other elements of storytelling, so when I was ready to start developing my own characters and plots I already had a toolbox to draw from.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
My website is mollymontgomerywriter.com and my twitter handle is @mollywritesalot.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.