Updated: Feb 5
Stories that are dark, the ones that reek mystery and everything macabre have always called on to me. Thus, when I found out about the book called The Nobodies I couldn't not get enticed by it. I got to communicate with Laurel at her Instagram handle and have been dazzled by her dark & aesthetic feed since then.
My call to everybody who is indeed enchanted by the darkness that surrounds us and the netherworld that engulfs us? This is one book to check out.
Interested? get to know about the book and Laurel in the little conversation we had...
Laurel Elizabeth Hasara
Abhigyan: Religious redemption, the love of the undesirables, small-town mentality, and the Lillelid Murders that is what “The Nobodies” is based on right? Can you tell us more about it?
Laurel: Thank you for asking! My narrative intention for The Nobodies was to write a psychologically disturbed romance between two individuals who would—by all measurable societal standards—be considered lowlifes. This could mean being impoverished, severely scarred by childhood traumas,
addicted to methamphetamines, burdened by a criminal record, achieving little more than a GED,
parenting children conceived out of wedlock, mentally ill or a combination of many. Hence, the
subtitle: An unusual tale of society’s least desirable. Sometimes the insult, “lowlife” can be a
deserving title earned when an individual makes consecutive immoral decisions leading to their own unadmirable circumstance and other times it can be a judgmental conclusion jumped to without proper context.
In The Nobodies, one can argue it’s a little bit of both. I have a strong fascination for writing outcasted characters: dollmakers, the neurotic, failed socialites, facial deformity patients, even quite literally fallen angels out to destroy God’s creation. There’s no one less interesting to write than those with all the conventional trappings of modern success. If you’ve seen the optimistic depiction of life straddling the line between a budget motel outside of Florida’s Walt Disney World and homelessness in the 2017 film The Florida Project, then The Nobodies (heavily influenced by my experience with screenplay structure) can be likened to its distant, darker and less comedic cousin. My stylistic intention for The Nobodies was to write entirely in poetic prose to create an atmosphere of constant tormenting unease through visceral horror imageries and the ambiguity of the character’s intentions—are they planning to do harm or aren’t they. None of the characters are ever assigned names. There’s only the woman, the man, the priest, the faintly freckled little girl, the Afro-mixed little girl, the hooded man, the six neglected youths and a few other minor nameless characters. I’ve been researching the Lillelid murder case of the 90’s Satanic panic since high school. I don’t want to give any details away so, I implore anyone reading this to do some preliminary research themselves (if they’re interested). I will say the case perfectly commentates on how only those who can afford it are given proper counsel, separate trials and due process. The collective failures of teachers, social workers, parents and a community at large to intervene when a child shows early signs of delinquency can have catastrophic results. There’s only one name spoken throughout the entire book, and it directly relates to the Lillelid case—those on the fringes of society often only make a name for themselves through infamy. The Nobodies is a homage to those dealt losing hands at birth, but flock to the church steps later in life to find guidance and redemption in the words of some of the most spiritually wise among us, the clergy.
Abhigyan: How did you commence your voyage through the ever-changing waters of literature?
To be honest, I don’t follow the ebb and flow of trends in the literary world. I’m blissful in my
ignorance of what’s charting! And anyway, the stories that need to be told are often the ones no one
wants to tell. If this question refers to the challenges of publishing a work of literature, then I have
to comment on how fortunate I am to have discovered self-publishing. It’s been a wonderful
learning-curve and quite the investment, but I’ve opened my own LLC, House of Hasara and feel
relieved in knowing I’ll never have to rely on the endorsement of a higher-up to release my literary
babies out into the world. My logo is the embodiment of my greater life goal to make my life into a
living art piece and one day dance about the corridors of my Victorian!
Abhigyan: As a child and as a grown-up which authors have you looked up to most?
To again be honest, I have little to no experience voluntarily reading fiction aside from what my
English class syllabuses required. I can’t yet fully explain why I’ve never gravitated toward other
people’s fantasy worlds, but I haven’t. 99.9% of what I read is nonfiction because I have an
insatiable need to learn. I guess I’d consider myself an autodidact. I can actually become melancholy
if I don’t have proper time allotted to studying each day. Some of my biggest inspirations are the
father and successor of psychoanalysis Freud and Jung as well as American poet, Emily Dickinson.
I’ve always found Dickinson’s personal quarks relatable to my chosen life path as a “professional
loner”—a label I’ve jokingly adopted. It’s often assumed the only life to be lived is the external, the
physical reality, but a select few souls live an internal existence. The latter of the two is self-fulfilling,
difficult, requires vigilant introspection and lacks the tangible glamour one would need to boast
about a particular lifestyle. People often ask, “what did you do today?” rather than “where did your
mind travel today?” On the dedication pt.2 page of The Nobodies, I quote a paragraph from one of my all-time favorite collection of academic essays called Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul by Connie Zweig Ph.D., & Steve Wolf Ph.D. This is a must read for anyone looking to expand their understanding of themselves and humanity at large—though, I must warn there are some frightening realizations you’ll have to contend with. Lastly, I’d like to mention my sincere love for Tim Burton. Although I know he’s not an author, his whimsical spin on the Gothic genre really introduced me to the beauty of the grim and the ugly at a young age!
Abhigyan: Monsters, occult, and the world of the macabre, pretty intense subjects all of them, what is your inspiration and how do you make the demons come alive through your writing?
Well, according to others I’m an intense person (to me, I’m just functioning at my own speed) and
part of this reason I suspect is because of my interests, which like I mentioned before range from
the men (or women) in black phenomenon, the psychology of sadism, masochism and stalking, the
poltergeist phenomenon, demonology, catholic theology, the pre-Raphaelite art movement,
mysteries of the 20th century whether crime or cryptid, death makes a holiday, etc. Each story I
choose to pursue requires hundreds of hours of research, but the main ingredient to exorcise “the
demons” if you will is an obsessive focus! I’m sure everyone’s read the famed Nietzsche quote,
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if
you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” You will inevitably tap into
those collectively shared archetypes, especially as a writer of darker material. It’s the same silent
ritual an actor performs before they yell “action.” You have to be very weary that any one of these
archetypes doesn’t consume you. For example: Till Dusk do we Honeymoon, a beloved screenplay I wrote at age 18, was about a socially inept man who hires a professional dominatrix to play the
female role in his scripted sexual Shakespeare fantasy where every line of dialogue they exchange is in Elizabethan language. Let’s just say his final act goes off script to the dominatrix’s own chagrin.
In preparation I consumed a decent amount of Shakespeare, studied the allure of sexual domination,the BDSM discipline, the dominatrix sex-industry, sex trafficking schemes disguised as massage parlors and some Jungian psychology, eros & pathos. Another really intriguing nonfiction read I’d recommend is an older one called A documented study of the strange ecstasies that some human beings find in the infliction of pain, SADISM by L.T. Woodward, M.D.
Abhigyan: Do you believe in the netherworld? I would like to hear if you had any otherworldly
experiences… as a kid were you afraid of the dark? If so, which dark creature did you find
crawling behind the bed stand once you were tucked and cozy in your bed?
Remarkably, I don’t recall being afraid of any monsters as a child. I did however sleep with a
nightlight. I had a different themed nightlight for every season, which my mother switched out every
few months. I don’t recall having a fear of stretching my arm out over the side of my bed or of what
stood on the other side of the shower curtain. My childhood home was fairly old. Open floorplans
weren’t popular during the time it was built like it is today so, every room was closed off and the
doors had these bulky black medieval looking antique latches that sometimes popped open by
themselves. My sister’s bedroom (she moved out by the time I was 8 or 9) always made every
childhood friend I ever had over uncomfortable. It had five closets—five (more places for the
monsters to hide I suppose)! My childhood friends and I would dare each other to go stand inside
by themselves in the dead of night. I never felt fearful of the bedroom, just uncomfortable. No
other room in the house ever made me feel this way. It’s funny how I never mentioned this to any
of my friends. They were always the first to bring it up. When I was a bit older, I had an unusual
encounter with a cashier in a TJ Max in Annapolis, Maryland. My mother can attest to this too. As
soon as I walked up to this beautiful older African American woman’s register, she backpedaled a
step or two as if I startled her. She said I sent chills running up and down her entire body and it felt
as though my stare shot right through her. She proceeded to tell me how “serene” I was and asked
me if I had any paranormal abilities? I kindly replied that I didn’t. I was caught incredibly off guard
by all of this as I was really just mundanely attempting to purchase about a half a dozen scented
candles. When I got home, I wrote the encounter down in my scrapbook, dated: February 12, 2020.
Although I have an incredible memory, some encounters are not worth chancing to be forgotten. I
always wished I had stood on the other side of the counter that evening and felt whatever it was that cashier had felt as I do tend to be oblivious of my own nature. But alas, I’ll never know. For part two, do I believe in the netherworld? The answer is undoubtably yes. I believe emphatically that there is a sentient evil and a good that lives outside of time and can invade the human mind in ripe opportunities. As for this inhuman evil, the heinous acts it motivates are beyond what is the result of “normal” human sinfulness like rage, revenge, lust or passion killings. I’m talking about those extreme forms of inhumanity. In these rarer cases I do believe the perpetrator has been
compromised by an evil that transcends human understanding. This is where beings from the
netherworld live… in whatever place they’re allowed to invade—the simple act of dwelling on the
wrongs done unto us is enough to open ourselves up to an invasion. I’ve been around plenty of bad people growing up. People with hardly a semblance of a conscience, but never have I met someone marked by this kind of evil. Nonetheless, they are out there, and I hope I never am unfortunate enough to meet them. The netherworld walks freely among us.