Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting Myth-y With It

(Yeah, sorry for the lame post title.)

As you read this, I will be winging my way north of London to Bedford, a town that will be overrun with romantic novelists this weekend! Oh lucky place!

Instead, Paul Anthony Shortt is taking over my blog for the day. Paul's just released his first novel, Locked Within. Without further ado... over to him!


The Underworld

I want to thank Talli for having me on her blog. While I’ve been busy writing and finding my place in the blogosphere, Talli has been something of a role model, both in terms of her success as an author and as a member of the online community. I am deeply grateful to her for taking part in this blog tour.

Mythology forms the most basic roots of our society. The moment the first humans tried to understand where fire came from or why the wind blew, they were setting humanity on a path that would see us branching out into countless distinct cultures with wide-ranging belief systems.

As we have progressed, we’ve put aside mythology and superstition. Dismissed as children’s stories or just attempts by primitive man to understand the world, myth often misses out on the respect it deserves for shaping us.

The study of mythology profoundly shaped my writing and played an enormous part of Locked Within’s development. There was a specific element which called to me as I thought of the book and what it would be about. The Underworld. The place souls are sent after death. The afterlife, where we finally learn the great mysteries of what our lives have meant. To the ancient Greeks, this required the departed to pay the ferryman, Charon, in order to be taken safely across the River Styx. If they could not pay, due to not receiving proper burial, they were thrown overboard to join the lost souls below.

Ancient Egyptians believed that their soul was made up of five parts, which each served a different purpose and had a different fate after the body had died.

The Norse believed that if they died in battle, they would be taken to Valhalla, where they would fight and feast to prepare for Ragnarok, the end of the world.

The fate of the soul in the afterlife is a core part of every belief. When creating the world of Locked Within, I needed to decide how the inhabitants of the supernatural society felt about death. Two dominant ideologies formed in my mind. One, represented by groups called Conclaves, believed that the soul returned in another incarnation, and so the true essence of the person carried on forever. The other rejected this belief, insisting that while people did have memories from other lives, these were only echoes, imprints, and not the true person. They believed that when a person dies, nothing of that person truly remains, and so they banded together in their fear of death, forming the Council of Chains, which strives to find ways for its members to live forever. Vampirism, body-stealing, the magical preservation of the body, and pacts with powerful otherworldly beings are the Council’s tools. In discarding their mortality, they become predators, driven to live forever while innocents suffer as their prey.

Has mythology ever inspired your writing? Or have you read stories from myth that resonated with you as strongly as the best novel or movie?



A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.
Website: http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com


Thank you for the kind words, Paul! So... tell me. Has myth inspired your writing? Have a great weekend, everyone. I'll be back Monday with a full report on my weekend of lurve. 

40 comments:

  1. It was a pleasure to write this post, Talli. Thank you again for having me!

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  2. Hi Talli - enjoy that trip north to the outer regions of London - at the Bedding Ford! Have fun.

    Paul - very interesting to meet you - and I loved the way you describe your book - definitely will be on my buy list ..

    My thoughts are with you for Conor ... and for your twinly futures ahead - may you and Jen be blessed with happiness ..

    I'll enjoy your book I'm sure .. cheers Hilary

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  3. Thank you so much, Hilary. Last year was rough, but we're both stronger for it, and it showed us how blessed we are to have the love and support of so many friends and family.

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  4. Norse mythology is fascinating. So is Greek mythology. I've never used them in a story though.

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  5. I wouldn't do it every time, and there isn't much in the way of actual mythological creatures and characters in Locked Within, but the setting features particular interpretations of them, which will become more apparent in the next book.

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  6. Great and fascinating post. Being Scandinavian, I sure hope I don't have to do battle in my afterlife.

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  7. Your book sounds every interesting. I know a little about mythology, but not a lot. I've never used it in creating a story, but I've read many novels based on it. Laura Eno writes a lot of myth-based stories and novels.

    Have fun, Talli!

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    1. I remember being hooked on the likes of the Usborne children's mythology books while growing up. That interest stayed with me all my life and led to me studying classical civilisation in college.

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  8. I love mythology but have never used it in my writing. Paul, it is so exciting to see you lighting up the blogosphere. And Talli, have a blast at the conference.
    Karen

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    1. Thanks, Karen. It's been a fun tour so far.

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  9. Safe travels and have a wonderful time, Talli.
    I really enjoyed your post today, Paul. Author Ali Cross is an indie author who also involved mythology in the formation of her novels. I enjoyed them and look forward to reading more about Locked Within. Thanks for sharing today.

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  10. Sounds like a great conflict behind your plot and very unique. Twins sounds very exciting.

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    1. Exciting and terrifying! Hehe. I'm just glad we have a lot of friends who've had kids and need someone to take clothes and other items off their hands.

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  11. Hi, Talli, Hi Paul,

    Talli, I hope you have an awesome weekend with fellow romantic writers!

    Paul,

    Nice to meet you. I really like the premise of you book! I love all things mythological and your spin on the subject intrigues me.

    Yes, I have been influenced. My first novel and the first in a series of five is based on the elements. Each book features a different element. And the final book they will band together to conquer a dark and evil Fae trying to destroy both Human and Fae realms.

    Paul, I will add Locked Within to my reading list. Good luck.

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    1. That sounds fantastic, Michael. Best of luck with it!

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  12. Great to meet you Paul!Locked Within sounds like an interesting read!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  13. I think it would be interesting to write a story based on one or more of the myths, especially one of the love stories. I also like your idea of basing a story on the myths about the underworld, especially because there's so much you can do with that.

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    1. Definitely. I love re-tellings and adaptations of myths and legends.

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  14. Excellent post, Paul. I like your take on the subject.

    I love reading about the old myths, but I haven't used them in my own writing. Aside from giving one character the name Andromeda...

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    1. I think names can be a wonderfully subtle way to add mythic elements to a story. If you're not sure about using clear mythic elements, a name taken from one legend or another can be a nice way to try it out.

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  15. Interesting! My alter-ego writing personality loves the mystical and mythical, so this is perfect.

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  16. This sounds fantastic, great concept. And an excellent cover to boot. I'm checking it out right now!

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    1. Thank you, Heather! I do love the cover. It wasn't at all what I would have come up with myself, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was right.

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  17. I haven't incorporated myths into my writing, but I absolutely love reading about them. There are so many figures from various cultures and societies to learn about.

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    1. I know! I think that's what first drew me to the stories when I was growing up. There was just so much to read about, one book could have dozens of stories.

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  18. Locked Within sounds like a fascinating read! There is lots of excitement ahead with your book, and the twins on the way! Best of luck to you Paul!

    Hope you're having a great weekend Talli!
    Julie

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    1. Thank you Julie! My sister and I got the babies' room ready yesterday. It's all feeling very real.

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  19. As a supernatural/paranormal thriller writer I can safely say that myth and legend have played a large part in my stories. The whole idea of things 'out there' we know nothing about fascinates me and I am a sucker for wanting to explore it. Good luck with your book, Paul. It sounds brilliant!

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    1. Thanks, Pat! I'm the same, I love the idea that there's more to the world than we can understand.

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  20. Congratulations Paul! The Underworld sounds intriguing and interesting!

    Hi Talli!

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  21. I love the idea of being influenced by mythology! So far, I haven't quite had a chance yet, but do try to weave local folklore into my historical novels. Now I'm excited though because I'm writing my first paranormal and get to weave in all sorts of Druidic myths!
    Congratulations on your novel release!

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    1. Thanks Deniz! Druidic myth, huh? That's cool. I love folklore, especially the smaller local tales.

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Coffee and wine for all!