Back in August, Debra Kristi tagged me in The Next Big Thing, where authors are supposed to answer a series of interview questions on the book they’re currently working on. I made a strategic choice to hold off until now to share because I wanted to tell you about the book that Lisa Hall-Wilson and I are finally bringing to a close. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months.
What is the working title of your book?
The Amazon Heir
Where did the idea come from for the book?
In the summer of 2010, Lisa approached me wanting to co-write a novel and hooked me with the question, “What if the Arthurian legends originated not in Britain but near the Black Sea from an Amazon warrior’s pursuit of respect and a barbarian Scythe’s spiritual quest?”
Historians C. Scott Littleton and Linda Malcor wrote a non-fiction book From Scythia to Camelot, in which they proposed that the core of the Arthurian and Holy Grail traditions didn’t actually come from Celtic mythology. They came from the folklore of the peoples of ancient Scythia (what is now the South Russian and Ukrainian steppes) known as the Sarmatians.
According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the Sarmatians rose out of the pairing of Amazon mothers and Scythian fathers. Hundreds of years later, when the Romans defeated the Sarmatian cavalry and forced them to serve at Hadrian’s Wall, the Sarmatians took their folklore to Britain with them. The evidence was quite compelling.
We’ve developed the idea from that kernel together.
What genre does your book fall under?
We’re calling it historical fantasy.
The Scythians were a real historical society, and we’ve done our best to render them accurately based on our research. The Amazons are myth. The theory is that the legends of the Amazons arose among the Greeks because Sarmatian women fought alongside the men (and there’s archeological evidence that bears this out).
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I haven’t thought about it. If Lisa stops by, perhaps she’ll chime in down in the comments for who she saw in the roles.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Our catchy logline is Xena warrior princess meets Game of Thrones.
Zerynthia is an Amazon princess with more man-kills than any other. Tradition says that to take her mother’s throne she needs a female heir from a prince of Scythia, a nation feared by even the Greeks. If she doesn’t take her mother’s throne, the law condemns her family to death.
Kaduis, heir to a king with too many sons, is ordered by his father not to come home without a son from Zerynthia, but Kaduis’ secret faith in a foreign god forbids him from bedding a woman who isn’t his wife and carries a death sentence if discovered. And Amazons don’t marry.
When Kaduis’ brother devises a plot to cast doubt on the paternity of their child, the existence of both their societies is threatened.
He needs a son, she needs a daughter, only one can succeed, and time is running out.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Stay tuned. We’ll be making an announcement soon.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
We finished the first draft in about five months. We’ve on revision number three.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
We’ve struggled with this question. We’re coming at the Arthurian legends from an entirely new angle, and there are very few novels on the market about Amazons. We’re also looking to push the fantasy genre a bit by keeping our book fast-paced.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Zerynthia is notoriously known as the Lady of the Lake for rising from the water after defeat in her first battle to kill the enemy king—earning her acclaim among men and disgrace among the Amazons. In the Arthurian legends, the Lady of the Lake is the one who is said to have given Arthur Excaliber and to have raised Lancelot when his parents died. She’s depicted as always wearing white and is associated with the goddess Artemis and the protection of virginity. We had a lot of fun in the book putting new twists on those elements.
Had you heard of the Amazons and Scythians before?
Image Credit: Martin Boulanger via Stock.Xchnge
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