Monday, June 04, 2007

Asphodel Update and Character Notes

All righty then! As per some questioning emails I have received, I'm going to toss out some background information. Let's get down to brass tacks here.

The Asphodel series (both of them--snort!) has a very strong basis in Greco-Roman mythology, with some additional roots in Celtic, Egyptian, Summerian, and Phoenician lore. Whew! Now that I've established my academic bona fides, let's REALLY talk about it.

Asphodel is epic fantasy, pure and simple. I use many of the fantastical archetypes (see Joseph Campbell's work for examples and I promise that's the last brainy thing I'll say) but....and you knew there was a but....I, er, change them.


In a nutshell, here's the series premise: what would happen IF you took the prissiest race in standard fantasy (Elves), warped their patriarchal society to suit your feminist needs, gave them a Greco-Roman pantheon at war and many mythological critters to fight (as well as making up some pretty cool new ones if I do say so myself), give them a magic system that's elemental (and kills them eventually) and then force them to refight the Trojan War? Oh but wait--here's the good part! The protagonist is a female...half-breed...very smartass sort of gal who single-handedly manages to revamp the political systems of both the Elven and human kingdoms, learns to lead men to war, and manages to be a dominant personality while surrounded by alpha males?

*bigger grin*

There are lots of fights, I must admit. Hence the title of this blog. After working on this project for five years, my elf-killing is, of necessity, becoming very, very creative. Still fun though.

Tamsen Ka'antira de Asphodel, my MC, is a life's work. My biggest problem with her is that I know her so well sometimes I forget that you guys don't. Hence this note from my editor:

This might be an area to share with the reader the limits of her
abilities...since she can make fire which isn't weather related (strictly) why
can't she make something else would run through a reader's mind.

Well, duh. You don't remember the two-sentence explanation of that in Chapter Two? *grumble, grumble*

Tamsen was designed to be complex. She's neither a stereotypical wringing-her-hands-and-waiting-to-be-rescued sort of fantasy heroine or a Xena wannabe. She's a fairly normal person save for the extraordinary power she's inherited, and she hasn't got a clue what she should do with that power. That's the crux of her character conflict. For the most part, Asphodel is Tamsen's story, and that story is full of duality. For every point there is a counterpoint, a different path, a completely new destiny with all of the ramifications of that.

She does have a sword...eventually. It's not a *magic* sword though, it's just a very pretty sword. She does have a lot of magical ability, a cross between human and Elven magic, but she can't control it and at times it seems to control her. She has an epic quest that she must follow, but that quest is more along the nature of Heracles and his labors than taking the ring to Mount Doom. The duality of her nature, determined by her two heritages, dictates the paths she must follow on her journey. She is essentially human, which infuriates the Elves around her, but as she evolves she must either accept or amend the strictures of the Elven society.

She's also a smartass who can take care of herself--except those occasions when she needs a little help.

I spent a lot of time developing the political and military situations. I will admit right here to swiping some of Caesar's maneuvers in both areas. The mythology and religion was fairly easy for me (thank you National Junior Classical League for appealing enough to my competitive nature to make me retain all of that information!) and after blending my classical knowledge with the rest of my world, the realms of Ansienne, Leselle, and Spesialle are fully developed and have histories of their own.

Go to my website Shoot The Muse! and check out the excerpt from the prologue. Let me know what you think.

More tomorrow.