Friday, January 28, 2011

Myths for you and me

The Rockville 8 welcomes Harlequin Spice Briefs author Lynne Silver who's been thinking about how myths affect our modern lives. Read on!

My 6 year old is reading The Odyssey. Yes, he's very smart. We're very proud.

It all started a few weeks ago after watching the movie Percy Jackson.

Medusa, Hydra, and Minotaurs began to feature prominently in imaginary play and artwork. I adore mythology, so I encouraged it. Imagine our delight when we discovered that Mary Pope Osbourne, author of The Magic Tree House series, has adapted The Odyssey to an absolute perfect reading level for my children.

So we've been reading about Odysseus's journey supplemented with another children's book of general Greek mythology.

What stories! Intrigue, romance, monsters, epic battles...everything popular fiction authors strive for and much more.

As a romance author do my heroes live up to the standard set by Perseus, Theseus or Jason? Are any of my heroines as beautiful or wise as Io, Atalanta, or Helen? Or as vindictive?

Could I ever come up with the best “forced marriage” plot ever in the form of Hades kidnapping Persephone and forcing her to the Underworld six months of the year? Or poor Orpheus who braved Hades wrath to win back his beloved?

Maybe not, but I can use mythological themes as spring boards for plot lines. What about you? Where do you look for inspiration? Or what do you like to read? Any favorite myths?

-Lynne Silver
“Behind the Duke’s Door”


  1. I love mythology too. There are so many great stories that it's hard to pick one, but if I had to ... well I'd go with my namesake, the story of Cassandra. To be able to tell the future and not have anyone believe you, if that's not a lesson in dealing with frustration, I don't know what is. :)

  2. THanks for stopping by Cassie. I'm going to have to find the story of Cassandra, becuase my brain is fuzzy on the details. Sounds like a page turner and for interesting ethical dilemmas. Do/Should people always want to know their future?

  3. Lynn,

    Thanks for the heads up about Mary Pope Osbourne's adaptation of "The Odyssey." I must get that for my kids!

    As to inspiration, I get it everywhere: from movies, real life situations and history - while doing research for my latest manuscript. My favorite contest critique is when a judge says the situation is unrealistic...and it's something that's actually happened in history!

  4. Lynn, My husband read The Odyssey to my son at about that age. They also read Beowulf. I think that mythology set so many of the plot lines that we still use today.


  5. My books are set in the Regency and those gentlemen knew their mythology. I don't. I have a couple of reference book I use to make my characters true to their time and find I spend a lot of time "researching" when I'm reading those tales. Like Diana before me my inspiration comes from movies, real life and historical events that take flight in my imagination

  6. Fun post! Hades and Persephone is a favorite of mine, too. It's very dark (as myths can be) and add in her as "Queen of the Underworld" and the grief of her mother, it's a powerful story!

  7. Diana, It's a great version of the tale. I also love D'aularies book of Greek Myths for children's versions of the tales.

    Mary- you're right those Oxford dandies know their Homer.

    Lavinia, I'll have to pull out the highschool copy of Beowulf. Anything with monsters is highly popular.

    Vanessa- I love the story of Persephone, becasuse as a romance writer, I want Hades to be the reformed, dark rake who learns to love Persephone. Some tellings have Persephone miserable in the underworld. In my version I want her loving Hades and able to soothe the beast.

  8. In high school I stumbled across Medea. I'd known Jason as a hero - the Argonauts! The Golden Fleece! Oh wait, your drove your wife to the point of killing her kids in vengeance! Ouch! Budding feminist that I was, I wondered how you could pitch that story so Medea comes out a sympathetic figure. I'm not sure you can - killing innocent children is just not forgivable, right? Just no. But...I still think Jason needed more than a swift kick in the butt. So maybe she could fake their deaths? Hmm...

  9. I have a huge collection of mythology books -- they give me many hours of pleasure and almost as many ideas. My last book idea probably started a year before when I went through an intense viking mythology phase.

  10. Lynne,

    Thanks for sharing about Mary Pope Osborne. I had no idea that she'd done that. My sons love Greek mythology.

    Great post!

  11. My kids loved Mary Pope Osborn at that age! We had every single book she published!
    Where I've just gone for mythological story inspiration? Oddly enough, the Bible!

  12. I studied Jung for years and invoked his technique of Active Imagination to raise my relationship with my Muse nearer consciousness...

    Myths arise from within us. Books contain them and cause them to rise anew. Whew!!