»With Enemies Like These,«
a story in Lawyers in Hell
With a basic idea of the world, I needed characters. The first was easy. One of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s quotes was personally important to me: “If a man neglect to enforce his rights he cannot complain if, after a while, the law follows his example.” So I had one character. The basic plot was one I had wanted to use for some time, and it’s a classic: two enemies forced to work together for mutual survival.
I wanted to do a little more with that plot, though. I wanted to use an opponent who was a “mirror image” of the protagonist. And so I found William Dunlop Simpson. Both were US Civil War veterans, Holmes for the Union, Simpson for the Confederacy.
Both were lawyers. Holmes became a US Supreme Court Justice. Simpson a South Carolina State Supreme Court Justice.
I had two characters and a basic plot device so I needed a setting. As I said, I wasn’t very familiar with the Heroes in Hell series so I didn’t feel comfortable working in the main settings. So I asked if I could maybe have my characters “fall into” another Hell, the Norse Niflehel with which I had some familiarity through an interest in the Asatru religion. Janet approved the idea and from that point on the story just wrote itself.