Monday, July 7, 2014

Mythical Monday (55)

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:
Author Katharina Bordet
Talking of The Coffee Legacy.

A key part of visiting Vienna (or Wien as it is called in German and in my book, The Coffee Legacy) is going to a café to savour some of the decadent Viennese coffees and cakes. Naturally, when my husband-to-be, Mick, first came to visit me here, we went to many cafés and – due to our love of writing and coffee – we ended up spending much time in them with our laptops, feverishly writing away on story after story. Some time in fall it became time to plan for NaNoWriMo. I knew I wanted to write a book set in my hometown of Vienna, but not much more than that. It was during one of those times, as we sat in the café and I was reading through the menu, that I came across an old legend, printed on the inside.

The story differs in some details, but the gist remains the same. Once upon a time, there was a goatherd, watching his goats on the field. Suddenly he noticed that the goats started behaving strangely. They started to run around like crazy – despite the heat – and were basically, what we’d call nowadays “hyper”. He worked out that the goats had been eating berries from a shrub, so he tried them too. Soon he, too, was on a caffeine high. According to the story, that’s how coffee was discovered.

This legend got me thinking. I remembered the stories I knew of how coffee came to Vienna, about the Turkish siege of the city when they left beans behind and a famous man... Naturally, many of those legends were mere distant memories, but they had sparked an idea. With the menu in hand – one that sported many different coffee variations with interesting names – I knew that the book would grow out of the idea of legends. So my research began.

Vienna has been the source of many legends – inspired by coffee, by the Danube, by wars and plagues, and much, much more. I was still reading up on legends and fairy tales when NaNoWriMo came around. I knew my book was going to be about Vienna, coffee and legends. A mere month later – The Coffee Legacy and the world of Wiener Blut were born.

Visit Katharina's site for delicious recipes.
The story starts off with two women running a café and one of them - Isabelle - tells her son bedtime stories in the evening. Bedtime stories that are old legends, sometimes slightly changed, some close to the original and some invented ones. So the legends became part of the story as just those — legends — at first. Then Isabelle's aunt gets murdered and her family find themselves in the middle of a story that is much more than just a legend. I took the old tales, wove them in, developed from them and then went back and looked for more stories. Some got put aside, some became part of the book. In the end, I had entwined the city and its places with the coffees and the legends revolving around them into my story.

When I put the proverbial pen down, I knew this would not be the end of the story of the people in Neu Meidling and Vienna. There were so many more legends to use and weave into my story. Some became short stories in the world of Wiener Blut, and some were set aside for what was to become Danube Waves. Much like coffee, the river is the life blood of the city and it had shaped its history due to its strength. Only in the last century was the Danube tamed into the course where it currently flows and people living near it still fear its floods today.

Hundreds of years ago, when the legends around the Danube were written, people attributed the moody river more to whatever must be living within, or who must be living within, rather than any natural phenomenon. At this point, I knew the world of Wiener Blut had just grown.

Whilst I was writing Danube Waves, I was still researching legends, stories and this time also real history. So many of the old Austrian legends were rooted in historical events that I could not simply ignore them. The funny thing was, it worked even better than I had expected. Even though some of the research was done “on the go”, the legends felt as though they fitted the overall picture and even more, they sparked new ideas and surprised me at the same time.

I could not write about Vienna and ignore the legends. Even though my book is fantasy, it is also set in modern-day Vienna. None of this makes the legends worth less – on the contrary – every Viennese person can tell you a legend or two about the city. When history is so much part of the everyday life of a 21st century city, legends never quite leave you, and people might even be heard discussing details of which version of the legend might be the “proper” one.

Author Bio:
Born and bred Austrian, Katharina Bordet lives in Vienna with the Scot of her dreams. She’s a trained lawyer, passionate podcaster, all-round geek, writer and photographer.

As well as the 'Wiener Blut' series of novels and short stories (, she co-hosts and writes for the 'Every Photo Tells...' short story podcast ( which features tales from many different authors around the world.

A keen photographer and amateur chef, Katharina regularly blogs about recipes, photo tours around Europe, Vienna's famous Christmas markets and similar topics at her own website (

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Short Stories in the Wiener Blut world:


  1. I love to go to Wenen! My sister went and loved it and my father is going in September. I've heard amazing things about the city. :)

    Nina from J'adore Happy Endings

    1. Oh Nina, you got to go to Wenen?! That's awesome! Thank you for visiting.

  2. I love it when an author weaves in the legends of the area they are writing about. This sounds great!

    1. Oh Melissa (B&T) This was an amazing tale weaved here. It was so neat to learn about the goats. :) Thank you!

  3. I am not a coffee fan, I never drink coffee ;) I am the only one in my country, lol

  4. Legends are such an important part of literature. I adore it when authors research and pour that into their writing. Great post! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. Thank you Jaclyn. I loved the creation of this world from the legend. It's amazing. And the story too! :D

  5. I'm not a big fan of coffee, but I love the hyper goats legend! And how interesting that you wove real legends into your story. Sounds like a great book!

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such...

    1. Terri, you don't have to love coffee to love this book. :) It's an amazing tale. Hope you get to check it out. :) Thank you!

  6. Love the legends mixed through. Sounds good. yay Coffee!!!

    1. lol. Thank you Jennifer Bielman. Hope you get to try it out one day. :)


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