Growing up we didn’t have a TV at home, so when I stayed over at my grandparents, I would sneak into my Opa’s study and binge watch Xena Warrior Princess into all hours of the night. Xena was the first kick ass woman action hero I ever saw on screen and I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to be just like her, (I still do), fighting various monsters from Greek mythology alongside gods and demigods. Xena perpetuated my childhood obsession with Greek Mythology, sometimes I wonder if she’s the reason mythology wove its way into my first book and why I gave my main character Rachel a warrior’s soul, (whether she recognises it or not).
Sadly there haven’t been any monsters in my life to battle, not the mythological kind anyway, so I have to fill that void by imagining them – the Love Curse series so heavily draws on my love of Greek mythology, the romance, the mysticism and the adventure of it all. Here are a few myths and inspiration that you may have picked up on if you’ve read Arrowheart and Heartstruck:
1 Soulmates. I’d argue that mythology reflects the spirit of its people, and in my opinion, there is no mythology more romantic than Greek. They teach that humans were born with 2 heads, 4 arms and 4 legs, and only 1 soul, but Zeus feared our power and cut us apart. Now we spend our lives searching for the other half of our soul. There’s something really beautiful about this concept, and for a hopeless romantic like myself, the idea of soul mates and a love that has the power to unite two individuals so perfectly is something I can get behind. (So much so that I included this mythology tid-bit in my wedding vows).
You’ll see in Arrowheart (The Love Curse #1) that Rachel feels this way too, which makes it suck extra that she can never have it, because if she so much as kisses a guy her power will take his will away.
2. Female Empowerment. I may be a romantic, but think I have a warrior spirit like Xena too.
It was through Greek mythology that I first discovered female warriors, female sages, female goddesses and queens. My family is very conservative Christian and I never really fit in with them or their beliefs (specifically the traditional gender stereotype roles), so when I’d read about women leading armies, advising Kings, healing people, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere, or at least my wild spirit did. I really wanted to translate this feeling into The Love Curse series. In Arrowheart, Rachel learns what she’s capable of and in Heartstruck she embraces that strength in ways she never thought possible and incredible things happen.
3. Death. My siblings may have mentioned that my glare could cast anyone into the underworld (we call it “resting murder face”).
I have a dark and witchy side and I’ve always been fascinated with the great unknown question: what comes after death? Maybe it’s the conservative Christian influence of my family, or maybe it’s the most human part of me wondering, but whatever it is Hades is a character that fascinates me; he barely leaves the Underworld and when he does it’s either to cause chaos or find love. Plus is has a giant pet dog, and those who know me know I am very much a dog person.
I like to think of Hades as the introverted of the Gods. I’m not going to tell you how he comes into the series because I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say it’s for one of the above two reasons and neither of them can bode well for Rachel.
4. Demigods: From my first time reading Greek mythology I was drawn immediately to the demigods: half man, half god. There was something about the fragility of man mixed with the immorality of the gods that I related to.
As I mentioned earlier, I never felt like I fit in at home. There’s a line in Heartstruck that Rachel says, and I relate to it so much: “I know what it’s like to exist between two worlds, never belonging in either. Not black or white but the grey between. It’s lonely at times, living in that shadow.” (p. 297). When I was playing dress up (since we didn’t have a TV, I’d make up skits for my siblings and we’d build fake sets and act them out – it was all very Little Women-esque) I never wanted to be the god or goddesses, I wanted to be the demigods with their the struggle of mortality and a touch of immortality. I wanted a human experience with a divine purpose. I think it’s because I was struggling with my own beliefs and ideas of salvation, but whatever the reason it led to this series and my exploration of that with the characters. Those of you well versed in Greek Mythology will see a lot of easter eggs about my favorite demigods in Heartstruck.
5. Eros and Psyche. Obviously this was big inspiration for me.
The Love Curse series picks up where Eros and Psyche’s story ends. In Greek mythology Eros’s mother didn’t like that Eros had fallen in love with a mortal woman who was more beautiful than she was, so she tried to steal Eros’s arrow of infatuation and use it to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. In the Love Curse series, Eros hides his arrow from his mother inside of Psyche, but he didn’t know she was pregnant with his child and so the magic of the arrow infuses with the fetus, creating their daughter Hedone: a powerful woman with the ability to take the will of anyone she touches, and the power doesn’t stop with her, but passes on generation after generation to the first born daughters, and thus the Hedonesses were born. My main character Rachel is a Hedoness from one the purest bloodlines and so that comes with a whole set of obligations and abilities that she doesn’t want.
xo Rebecca Sky