The Romance of Mythology (post by Anna)
Myths and legends have inspired great stories for as long as humans have been putting pen to paper — or quill to parchment. Even stories set in the present day, with no supernatural elements to them, can be inspired by fairy tales or other myths. It seems we humans love a grand adventure, and mythology gives us plenty of those!
I’ve long had an obsession with ancient history, and ancient Egypt in particular. My love of myths bleeds over into my romance writing quite often, because the drama and epic nature of mythology are a perfect match for romance fiction.
In my Reborn series of novellas, ancient Egypt takes center stage. My heroine is a formerly mummified woman born in ancient Egypt and resurrected by modern-day scientists. In the first story, Reborn to Die, I reference Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife and the journey of the soul. The Egyptians believed each person had multiple facets to their soul, and each served a different purpose. The ka was the personality; they would toast “for your ka” the way we might say “to your health.” Another aspect of the soul, the ba, walked among the living after death; bodies were mummified because the ba needed to return to the body each night. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise if you haven’t read the story, but this belief in the daytime-wandering soul plays a crucial part in the Reborn series.
Then there’s my heroine’s name. At first, she has no name. She woke up inside a glass tank in a scientific laboratory, her memory completely gone. The sexy stranger who rescues her eventually christens her Dawn. The reason for this involves Egyptian mythology once again, because Egyptians believed the dawn was a time of rebirth. After all, scarabs (dung beetles) seemed to rise out of the earth each morning as if reborn anew. So naming his love interest Dawn seems, to my hero Jake, the most appropriate name he could give her. She was born anew, right before his eyes.
In Reborn to Burn, the connection Egyptian mythology strengthens as we learn more about Dawn’s past and her bond with Jake. In Reborn to Avenge, I delved even deeper, including a scene set in ancient Egypt that reveals a shocking secret about her death and rebirth. I’m currently writing the final installment in the series, Reborn to Conquer. The story wraps up with a bang and, of course, Egyptian mythology will be pivotal to the plot. The Egyptians believed in magic, and though they rarely used curses, they wouldn’t dare flout one. Magic was real for them.
And for me, the magic of mythology is in our capacity to imagine fantastic events. That’s the heart of human belief — and the heart of romance fiction.