Edith Hamilton Hooked Me

I took four years of Latin in high school.  I loved the teacher.  I still remember him, but I don’t remember the vocabulary or language anymore.  I have inklings of Greek and Roman history, but it’s the love of myths that’s stayed with me.  Fickle gods and goddesses bickered among themselves and interfered in the lives of mortals.  Heroes fought against staggering odds and overcame them.  And then I plunged into the book Mythology, by Edith Hamilton.  The stories were better than the fairytales I read when I was a kid.

My youngest sister is twelves years younger than I am.  A real shock for my mom at the time, but one of the best things that happened to our family, and when she came to pester me at the end of the night, I’d tell her Greek myths for bedtime stories.  Being a romantic, her favorite was the tale of Pygmalion and Galatea–the story of a young sculptor who fell in love with the perfect woman he’d chiseled, and how Venus brought her to life.  My favorite heroes were Odysseus and Hector–on opposing sides of the Trojan War, but both bestowed with admirable qualities in my mind.  And for a reason I still can’t fully explain, my favorite goddess was Artemis, known as Diana by the Romans.  As goddess of the hunt, her virtues were murky to me at the time, but I connected her with Nature and the moon and witches.  All intriguing possibilites for my imagination.  As Hecate, she was goddess of the crossroads and commanded hellhounds.  She wasn’t always nice, and I didn’t always like her.  But she fascinated me.  Still does.  That’s why she crept into my writing.

I don’t claim to be an expert on mythology.  I don’t want to be.  I simply enjoy myths.  And when I wandered upon Norse gods and goddesses, their doomsday predictions for many of their major gods was so different from the fickle gods and goddesses I knew and enjoyed that their stories caught my attention.  Thor, the thunder god, was strong and brave, but he was destined to die at Ragnarok.  So were Odin, Tyr, Heimdall, and Freyr.  Again, for no real reason, Tyr–the sky god–called to me.  Some myths say that he was once the supreme ruler of the gods, but he gave up his power willingly to Odin.  Most myths agree that he, and he alone, was the only god brave enough to place  his right hand in the wolf Fenrir’s mouth and let the beast chew it off while his fellow gods placed magic bonds on the monster so that it could do no more harm.  He was a god with contradictions.  God of justice and lawyers, but god of war, too.  Of course, to Vikings and Norsemen, war was justice.  And it can be, at times.   But the value Vikings placed on vengeance is probably a little out of my comfort zone.  At any rate, Tyr stuck with me.  As did Diana.  So, when I thought of ideas for a new book, Tyr and Diana rattled around in my head and wanted to be heard.  They wanted a new story–one where they meet, and against their better judgment, have to work together.

I haven’t sold this book yet, but I’m happy I wrote it.  It immersed me in witches, giants, and shapeshifters.  What a way to spend my afternoons!