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.
This week we have:
Urban Fantasy author
Talking about Selkies.
Selkies – by Aaron Galvin, author of Salted
Zombies eat the flesh of the living.
No worries if you didn’t recognize the term Selkies. You’re in good company. Most readers I’ve met had never heard of Selkies either before discovering my novel, Salted.
Of course, if you have heard of Selkies…well…ten points to Ravenclaw. You’ve clearly done your mythological homework.
The lack of Selkie-awareness isn’t really shocking, I suppose. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies are all creatures wholly capable of rending humans to tiny bits. They tend to hog the spotlight for those preferring darker storylines.
On the lighter side, fairies, unicorns, and mermaids are beautiful and generally romancey. I’ve found Selkies most often lumped into these lighter-toned mythical creatures. Historically, a Selkie is a sea-maiden of Celtic folklore. Gorgeous beyond compare, any sailor in his right mind would kill to take a Selkie babe for a wife.
And I do mean take.
About the only way to keep a Selkie ashore is to steal their sealskin coat and hide it. This gives the sailor power over the maid. She inevitably marries him, they have children, and then do not live happily ever after.
That’s right. Most Selkie stories don’t have happy endings.
More often than not, the children find their mother’s sealskin tucked away somewhere and reveal it. The mother than takes the coat (and sometimes the kids) then returns to the sea, breaking her hubbie’s heart, and never seen again.
Personally, I think the sailor has it coming in these instances. I mean, my wife hates it when she can’t find one of her shoes. Can you imagine what she’d do if I stole her mythological coat that turned her into a seal and hid it somewhere? No wonder these Selkie women take off for their sea home as soon as they find their sealskin coat.
I’d be remiss not to mention there are tales of Selkie men (also gorgeous, I might add) but I’ve found these fewer and far between. Add all the beautiful, attractive, and enchanting stories up and it’s almost as if the histories wish us to believe Selkies are solely for girl readers.
“Humbug,” says I. “If Stephenie Meyer declawed werewolves and made them ‘safe’ for romance lovers, surely there can be such a thing as deadly Selkies.”
Turns out, I didn’t have to work very hard to make it so.
Take my favorite Selkies, Leopard Seals, for instance. They have been known to stalk humans. Yep. Imagine a seal, 12 feet long and over 1,000 pounds, tracking you from beneath the ice you walked upon. You can forget gorgeous too. The long necks of these bad boys gives off an oddly reptilian vibe.
Even the cute, tiny Ringed Seals have claws over an inch long. Oh, and their teeth? They chip away at ice with those to maintain breathing holes.
Another edge Selkies hold is their diversity. I had no idea how many types of seals there were before I wrote Salted. You think Walrus are huge? Southern Elephant Seals are almost three times heavier!
Ribbon Seals have painted skins with white swatches that resemble a belt around their waist, or a collar around their necks.
I considered seals among my favorite animals since I was a kid. Turns out, I loved Sea Lions all along. It’s Sea Lions you see in zoos and aquariums most often because of how playful and friendly they are!
All this and more I learned in my research and all of it drawing me closer to these truly remarkable creatures. If you look at pictures of their faces, (Leopard Seals aside), they almost resemble dogs. Which brings me to the trump card Selkies hold on most other mythological creatures: you can see them.
Just go to the zoo, or local aquarium. Better still if you live near a coastline. You’ll find them lying out on the beach, or atop a barge. Who knows? You might even be lucky enough to see them poke their head out of the water.
Just don’t steal their coat.
Life isn’t better under the sea.
Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.
But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences?
How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.
Salted is Aaron Galvin's debut novel. He first cut his chops writing original stand-up comedy routines at age thirteen. His early works paid off years later when he co-wrote and executive produced the 2013 award-winning indie feature film, Wedding Bells & Shotgun Shells.
He is also an accomplished actor. Aaron has worked in Hollywood blockbusters, (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers), and starred in dozens of indie films.
Aaron is a proud member of SCBWI. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter