I’ve always been drawn to different mythologies and folklore. Norse, Greek, Celtic, Asian…there are so many wonderful, epic stories out there, I find something new every time I settle in with a fat reference book. If I’m struggling to start a new story, there is always some kernel of an idea that will pop up in some obscure tidbit. And I love when real world stories coincide with those of legend.
My leanings have always been toward Norse mythology first and that started even before I learned my first name is Norse. I wrote a young adult paranormal romance built around Norse mythology, but before that, when I settled in to really dig into Dweller on the Threshold, I’d decided to mix it all up. I took Greek and Norse mythology, then threw in a healthy dose of esotericism. This is another subject I find interesting because I was raised by parents who love to explore all things esoteric. More than likely, there will be more than just Greek and Norse subjects as this series progresses. The actual villain in the first book, The Dweller on the Threshold, came from a theosophical concept I found fascinating. While that version is more of a nice lesson about reincarnation and reaching true enlightenment, I took it dark.
Dark is fun.
In the world of Dweller on the Threshold, all myths and legends are based in truth, but some were either mixed up in the telling or were deliberately told incorrectly. For instance, the myth of the Minotaur—it’s true—but someone misunderstood a private ritual and made a huge mistake. The gods and goddesses are real, they’ve just moved into the background for the most part. The creatures of myth like vampires, werewolves and ghouls also exist, but they stay hidden unless they’re human enough to blend. The events in book one change that up a bit.
When Beri O’Dell first came to me I had no idea what she was or what she could do. Her image and her personality hit me so strongly, I wrote her into other stories—stories just for me. I began to learn about her capabilities, but I also discovered how very much she cared about things. It’s not something she likes people knowing, so she can be a bit prickly. At the time Beri was stomping through my head and trying to get me to ignore other characters, I was writing romance novels. All contemporary except for one paranormal that had to do with black cat shifters—something that later became funny when I started working with a critique partner who was known for her cat shifter books. (I still plan to release Ian’s Curse someday after a MAJOR rewrite.)
But the other romances I wrote dealt with women working through painful pasts. This is a theme that shows up a lot in my work and Beri is no exception. (Another theme you’ll see repeated in some of my work, is strong friendship and siblings. Nuts about my own.) I started submitting my work to publishers and putting it into contests. Though editors liked my writing, some had a problem with how strong my heroines were. (I did better in the contests.) After a while, I stopped submitting. But Beri stuck with me. And she was strong. Stronger than all my other heroines. Physically, anyway.
So, I wasn’t sure what I would do with her. But then, others in her story came to me. First, her spirit guides, Phro and Fred. (My esoteric-loving family believes in spirit guides. Ask my mother some time about hers.) Later, Nikolos walked into her world with his impossibly long legs and dark, dark eyes and I could not let this go. Then Blythe, a funny little witch with a fire problem, annoyed Beri and made me love her, and I no longer had a choice. Beri’s story had to be written. Strong or not, I went for it.
Luckily, there was a surge of interest in urban fantasy novels around that time and I realized this was a genre my style might fit. I haven’t looked back. I’ve written urban fantasy, paranormal romance and my other huge love, space opera and futuristic stories. I’ve used mythological concepts or in some cases made up my own. One of the best things about writing your own books is you get to make up the world with all its laws and interesting perceptions. I fell in love with Beri and her friends and couldn’t be happier that they are finally out there. I hope readers enjoy getting to know them too.
Thanks so much for having me! Just comment about anything you want. Share your favorite mythological story, or just say hi. I’ll let the random number generator pick someone to win an e-copy of Dweller on the Threshold.
From VBC: The contest will be open through Monday, March 31. Good luck!