Monday, March 4, 2013

Mythical Monday (1)

It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Fantasy author Sarah-Jane Lehoux
Talking of Jenny Greenteeth.

Jenny Greenteeth

I first fell in love with folklore and mythology when I was but a wee lass, between potty training and learning to tie shoe laces. While I was visiting my maternal aunt and cousins, I made the acquaintance of a kindly old couple who thought I was just the cutest thing. They bought me sweets and a story book about fairies.

I adored that book. I learned to read at an early age, and I believe it was that book that aided me. I devoured every word, every picture, and had dreams of wondrous and wicked little creatures. That book influenced so much of my life, from what other kind of books I sought out, to what courses I took in anthropology. I think the biggest irony is that the book has since been lost and I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it.

(Illistration from Faeries by Brian Froud
and Allen Lee)
I think what I loved best about this particular book was that it did not sugar coat fairies. There were Tinker Bells, yes, but there were also banshees and hags and other beasties that made my imagination run amok. And my favourite among the baddies were the water hags.

Why? Probably because I have a fear of water stemming from watching Jaws when I was five. While in a lake or a pool or even a bathtub, I’ve often had the sense that something was swirling around beneath me, just waiting for grab me and pull me to a watery death.

It’s no wonder then, that in two of my books, water hags make an appearance. Jenny Greenteeth (or Jinny or Ginnie among other variations depending on locale) is described as a green-skinned, with long, stringy green hair and viciously sharp teeth. She prefers children and the elderly, and like a crocodile, drags her victims underwater, drowns them, and then eats them.

Some folklorists believe that Jenny and other water hags were invented to keep children away from water. Others believe that perhaps victims were given to the water, sacrifices to appease the spirits. In either case, it’s pretty damned spooky.

In Masquerade (the third book in the Sevy Series), I made Jenny as terrifying as her legend can be, but with an extra added “Yikes!” She is one of a few dozen or so fairies that ambush a passenger ship and massacre the people onboard. Riding a demonic kelpie (a water horse that also drowns and eats its victims), she attacks Revik. He is able to escape her grasp, but another passenger is not so lucky.

In my WIP, Red Rover, a comedic fantasy, Jenny takes on a goofier appearance and attitude, and is more concerned with breast health awareness and the quality of her scales than the hapless fisherman she has snagged.

I think this is why I’m drawn to fantasy: creatures can be interpreted any which way the author or the reader intends them to be. Scary, funny, even sympathetic…there’s room for all sorts of varieties on the stories we grew up with. 

You can find Sarah-Jane Lehoux and learn more about her and her books at:
Twitter:  @SarahJaneLehoux
You can find Sarah-Jane Lehoux's artwork (and a bigger picture of Jenny) at:

You can Purchase Print or Ebooks of the Sevy Series:

Learn more on ALL of Sarah-Jane Lehoux's books.


Blodeuedd said...

Great new meme Melissa :D

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I love that you remembered the book despite losing the name of it. Hopefully you will find it again one day. Love faery books and especially Froud's work!

Ryan said...

I love Jenny Greenteeth and am always excited to come across new works that she inspired.

JezzebellJC said...

I have the book that the illustration is from. Love it! Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. My favorite part is the last part about shaping characters and the way we are able to interpret them. :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Myths and legends - loving this feature. I'm away to check out these links now, thanks for sharing.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

THank you Blodeuedd. :) I'm really looking forward to all the great authors to come. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you for stopping Melissa (B&T) It's neat to here these stories from the authors. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Ryan, Hey! Hope you are doing well. I enjoyed learning more about Jenny here. ANd glad you stopped. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Hi Jaclyn Canada! Really! Haha, that's great to hear you have that book. :) Thank you for stopping.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you greatly Petty Witter. I really enjoyed this idea with the authors and their books. It's a great way to learn more about the books. :)

Bea said...

This is an excellent meme and I can't wait to read what other authors have to say. I'm so excited.

I had a bunch of books of myths growing up and I still collect them. I got into urban fantasy via my love of mythology.

*note to self - must read Sarah-Jane's books*

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you Bea! I'm really looking forward to these posts by the authors. :) I like the ideas that help spar thoughts. :) Thank you.

And hope you enjoy Sarah-Jane's books. :) Thank you again.