Sunday, August 16, 2015

Forged by Love

When I got my crazy idea to write about gods and goddesses in eighteenth century Britain, I thought I must be mad. And then the story magic went to work. The more I studied the legends, the more they slotted in to the way people thought and lived then. It just worked. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve created a world where the gods and goddesses of ancient Rome were reborn in the 18th century. I got the idea from a throwaway remark in a textbook, where the author said the aristocracy were treated like gods, and built their houses as if they belonged on Olympus.

Wow, what a concept. I wrote one, “Lightning Unbound,” then it just seemed to flow. Now, a few books in, I’m getting more adept at spotting the similarities. In the book that featured Bacchus,“Mad for Love,” I had a maze. Guess what, the 18th century aristocracy had a fascination for mazes!

The latest one, “Forged By Love,” is about Venus and Vulcan, taking place just after Venus’s torrid affair with Mars. All of the characters have other identities, Venus being the Virginie, Duchesse de Clermont-Ferand and Vulcan is Harry, Earl of Valsgarth. I start the books by looking at the legends surrounding the gods and goddesses I’m writing about. There are plenty of them, and some of them are contradictory – thank goodness, because then I can choose the one that works best! I use Ovid as my base, but I’ll bring lots more in. And then it becomes magically straightforward when I try to fit it into 18th century thinking and events.

I put in the gossip and anecdotes I read about the era, and blend them with the legends. For instance, “Forged by Love” starts with a theatre riot. The eighteenth century was marked by a number of these. Some even resulted in the theatre being burned down! I could mix the fatal attraction between Venus and Mars into the stories of the riots, and I had a memorable scene. Venus and Mars infect the audience with their potent sexual attraction, and the almost-orgy that ensues is the motivator that persuades them that what they are doing is wrong, that they both have to learn from the experience and move on.

I love writing these books. It’s my first foray into mixing two of the genres I love, and I wanted to be faithful to each, to do justice to each. I keep getting more and more ideas for it, so long may it continue!
Forged by Love is out on Tuesday, 18th August. Here's the  Amazon US link and here's the link for Amazon UK

Lynne Connolly

1 comment:

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

It's a terrific idea, Lynne. What I love about the Greek legends is that the women do things. OK, sometimes they misbehave, but not always. Ariadne rescues Theseus from the labyrinth with her ball of strong; Atalanta outruns her unwanted suitors; Medea helps Jason steal the Golden Fleece and so on. Often, they are betrayed by their lovers - but at least they are proactive!

If you compare this with Norse legends, you can see the difference. There, females feature hardly at all - unless they are Valkyries. Basically, they are surplus to requirements.

Give me the Greek legends any day!