Monday, March 18, 2013

Mythical Monday (3)

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 Philippa Ballantine
Talking of Magical Mythical Mermaids and Deadly Water Horses.

As a writer, myth and legend are fruitful ground to draw from. At school, my favorite classes were always the historical ones, and I loved it most of all when I had a chance to learn about other cultures and their stories.

Another resource was my Nana’s a collection of these old, leather bound books, which contained plenty of Hans Christian Anderson, and I recall spending many rainy days reading through them sitting in the sunroom.

I never realised that I was in fact doing research for my future career. I just thought I was escaping to other worlds for awhile.

Now looking back on my writing so far, I can see all the places were myth and legend have left their mark.

In my Books of the Order series (Geist, Wrayth, Spectyr and Harbinger) there is a huge cat who has his own plans that might run counter to the humans. The Rossin, as he is called, is terrifying at first, but later in the series we begin to see other sides of him. He is a beautiful creature, with his beginnings in the cats of mythology. Being a Leo, I have always been a cat person, but the Rossin owes much to the Nemian Lion of Greek myth; the terrifying and impervious beast that Hercules eventually bested. That kind of wild terror the Rossin also inspires. However, the way the Rossin would like to be viewed is like the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet—but then all cats probably think that way. To the Rossin, humans really are just there to serve, and if they are lucky not end up as lunch.

In my Shifted Worlds (Hunter and Fox, and Kindred and Wings) series there is the nykur, which is essentially the largest nastiest horse you might ever want to see. He is a direct descendant of the water horses (the kelpie, the nykur, and the nuggle) which prowl the lakes and waterways of Europe. All of them plot to find clueless humans who willingly climb on their back. However, once on, it is impossible to get off, and the water horse returns to its lake drowning the poor soul on its back. I simply loved the idea of something so powerful and beautiful, that people cannot resist, even if they may suspect they shouldn’t touch it.

The Shifted world is populated with all sorts of other creatures from myth and legend; centaurs, nagi, and griffons. I had a lot of fun taking the whole world of legend and mixing it up.

However, recently I have begun working even more directly with myths and legends. The Little Mermaid was one of my favorite stories growing up—as dark and disturbing as it is. Maybe it was the underlying thread of yearning, or the bravery of the mermaid who though she has legs went through pain for her dream, but it was always something I wanted to play with myself. When my husband, Tee Morris produced a novelette about Aladdin in a steampunk setting (Aladdin and His Wonderfully Infernal Device) I couldn’t let him have all the fun. So I set to, and wrote A Little Clockwork Mermaid in the steampunk genre. The transformation the mermaid goes through is accomplished with the help of her grandmother, and is entirely mechanical, but it still inflicts the same amount of pain on the poor creature.

Later this year, I have another novelette in anthology called Clockwork Fairytales. I’m very excited that my steampunk take on the Wild Swans story (also by Hans Christian Andersen) is going to be in collection with luminaries like KW Jeter and Jay Lake. The Wild Swans, is one of Hans Christian Andersen’s lesser known tales, but like the Little Mermaid deals with the themes of loss, strength of characters and redemption. In my retelling the city of the swan princess is a floating one, and the way she saves her brothers involves just as much bravery and determination as the original, but also a little more engineering skill.

I think that is why readers and writers keep coming back to myth and legend so often; it is a deep well of gathered human consciousness. The tales examine our own problems, and the realities of life are transformed into magical monsters that we can defeat—or ride off on depending on their nature.

Personally, I would chose the unicorn or the Pegasus rather than the kelpie, but then perhaps the water horse would show you some interesting things too….

Find Philippa Ballantine at:
Her blog:  The Worlds of Philippa Ballantine
Twitter:  @philippajane
Facebook:  The Ministry of Peculiar Occurences and Official Group Page of Philippa Ballantine's Writing
Goodreads:  Philippa Ballantine
Shelfari:  Philippa B

Interested in purchasing, or look into, the books Pip mentions in her post:

Harbinger is preorder now, due to release July 30, 2013.

Kindred and Wings is a preorder now, due to release August 6, 2013

Clockwork Fairy Tales is available for preorder, due to release June 4, 2013

Pip mentions one of her husbands works, it's available as well:


Blodeuedd said...

I really like the mermaid cover, so pretty :D
And nice post too

Melliane said...

what a wonderful cover, I love it as well. thanks!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I donno... I love the horse you created in Hunter and Fox. I also just talked about that book to my mom the other day. She was thinking about reading some fantasy.

Oh I SO need to get the clockwork mermaid. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention!

Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads said...

All the books sound interesting. Clockwork Mermaid especially.

JezzebellJC said...

So cool! All the creatures sound great, but I think the Rossin seems the most intriguing to me. I also really like the idea of the Steampunk myths. A Little Clockwork Mermaid especially. Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

Unknown said...

I haven't read any steampunk book but I am so curious about them, I want to read one. I love Aladdin so I'm tempted to pick that one lol.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Blodeuedd, I can't look at that one enough. There is something about her that catches my eyes. lol. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Sure thing Melliane! So glad you enjoyed it. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melissa (B&T) I soooo want that horse as well! Hahaha, And oh do hope your mom enjoys the story! It really was well done.

I did enjoy Clockwork Mermaid, such a quick little read. :) Hope you get it too.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Jennifer Bielman, I really enjoyed all the books she's talked about already. lol. I'm ;D Thank you for stopping!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

OH Jaclyn Canada, I love the Rossin as well. He is one amazing man, er lion. ;) And I loved the steampunk myths! Aladdin was amazing as well as Clockwork Mermaid. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Rivie Bleu, So glad you like the sounds of these. I read Aladdin, and absolutely loved the story Tee Morris told there. Really was genius the way he converted the magic parts to steampunk. Well done. :) Hope you get it and enjoy the quick read. :)

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Loving the sound of The Rossin, I'm hoping our library will be able to get hold of this series of books.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Petty Witter, thank you for stopping! I do hope you enjoy the books. The Rossin is a rather interesting character. :) Thank you!

Barbara E. said...

I've really enjoyed the stories of Philippa Ballentine that I've read and I have several more waiting for me to read. The fantasy and mythology in her stories is wonderful, and I love the steampunk stories too.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Barbara E. I am a huge fan of Pip's too. So many great blends. I love reading a bit of everything, and Pip gives me that in her vast array of genre picks too. :) THank you.