Rebecca Lochlann began envisioning the epic tale that has become The Child of the Erinyes series at a very early age. Getting it into the world has become her life’s work, although she didn’t exactly intend it to be that way. Her goal for the series is to create a new myth: one that offers the same flavor and unique magic as the Greek classics, yet which will interest modern readers. She has always believed that deities will sometimes speak to us through dreams and visions, gently prompting us to tell their lost stories.
Stephanie: Hello, Rebecca! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Please tell me a little about your book, The Year-God’s Daughter.
Rebecca: Gladly, Stephanie, and let me thank you for this opportunity. I was over the moon to be awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. What an honor! The Year-god’s Daughter kicks off my Child of the Erinyes series, a story that begins in the Bronze Age, on Crete and the Greek mainland, and ends in the near future. It follows the lives of the three main protagonists, along with their supporting characters, through time, as they experience history—not as queens, kings, and other VIPs, but common people like most of us, doing their best to survive and thrive with history happening around them.
In book one, the reader is introduced to Aridela, a younger princess on Crete, living a life of luxury in the great Knossos palace. We also meet two men from Mycenae who are seeking a way to overthrow this wealthy culture. All three think they know how their lives will unfold. They think they can manipulate the future to their own ends. They are very wrong.
Stephanie: How fascinating! I don’t believe I have read a story that takes place in Crete. Although I have always been interested in the Greek, Roman and Egypt history but not sure I would be able to write about them….their society, gods, traditions are so complex with such a wide range. However, I highly respect those who do. Were there any challenges and when did you first become interested in the Greeks?
Rebecca: Long ago, in elementary school, I found a children’s book in the library called D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Entranced by these delightful, imaginative tales, I read it many times, cover to cover. I might even say with some assurance that not only did this book get me interested in Greek myths, but it was the initial inspiration prompting me to write. From my very first reading, the stories in this book made me want to make up stories too.
There were indeed many challenges. Real, concrete knowledge about this time period is sketchy, often argued over by different factions of historians and archaeologists. That’s why I label the series “historical fantasy,” because I had to extrapolate and take liberties. Additionally, I was inspired as much by myth as historical documentation.
From the date and effects of the eruption of the Thera volcano, to what food the Cretans ate and how they dressed, to what their belief system might be, is all conjecture. Often, facts change with more advanced technology. I’m happy to say that so far, my research holds up to what is currently believed.
Stephanie: I’m one for finding inspiration in all things. My mind never shuts down….what was yours for this book?
Rebecca: Besides D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, I was also inspired by many other books, notably Moon, Moon (Anne Kent Rush) and Robert Graves’ Book of Greek Myths. Both sent my mind racing down new paths of imagination. In Graves’ book, I first learned that the famed “Ariadne,” of the well-known Cretan myth involving Theseus and the Minotaur, was originally called “Aridela,” and may have been considered a goddess rather than a mere mortal. What an amazing idea! I wondered why she was transformed (if indeed this is true). Carl Kerényi, another treasured author, theorizes that she was too powerful, too magnificent, and as time went by, she was deliberately diminished to suit a changing society who wanted their male gods to hold the most power. There is some evidence that this same diminishment was carried out on Athene, Hera, and other goddesses.
Stephanie: What can you tell me about the period of time your story takes place in? Something that has really impacted you.
Rebecca: The fact that Crete was so sophisticated is fairly well accepted. Whether it was matriarchal or not is still debated, but that possibility inspired me. Many historians believe that women were very important in this society, whether rulers or not. It seemed to me this could be true, as Crete, being an island, was a bit removed from the other Mediterranean cultures. There’s evidence that Crete was far-reaching, and had outposts on Thera (Santorini), as well as other places, and may have traded regularly with ancient Britain. What impacted me the most was imagining what our present day world might be like right now, if Crete hadn’t been so damaged by outside events—the volcanic eruption and subsequent environmental disasters. These catastrophes made them vulnerable to attack and a complete overturn in power, and eventually, their culture was lost, lost to history, lost in every way, until relatively recently. Right now, much of western society is considered a product of ancient Athens, but what would things be like today if Crete had been the major influence? Athens was a tiny, inconsequential village when the society on Crete was enjoying its heyday, with sprawling palaces, enormous wealth, and widespread power. What if it was matriarchal, and the societies of today were influenced by that? As a woman, I find that intriguing with a capital “I.”
Stephanie: I noticed in your bio you joined with Erinyes Press to publish and distribute The Child of the Erinyes series, mythic fiction beginning in the Bronze Age. What an amazing project! Can you tell me a little about that?
Rebecca: I’m a control freak, I admit it. The advance of indie publishing was a perfect fit for me. For a long time I thought I’d missed the boat by spending so many years writing, then finding myself struggling with publishing houses who were cutting back, and unwilling to take chances on new authors. Now I believe Fate or Destiny was merely holding off for this indie movement. For one thing, my books are thoroughly entwined with each other: even in the first book, The Year-god’s Daughter, there are hints of future books, and vice-versa. It would be very difficult for editors and in-house marketing groups to know what to do with these books, taken on a one-by-one basis. Erinyes Press was the right answer. I, as the author, chief editor, and publisher, have all the control I have always desired.
Stephanie: When did you first begin to write and who are your influences?
Rebecca: My first story, a sci-fi fantasy, was written when I was seven. As an adult I’ve encountered many authors who began their career at age seven. What is it about the age of seven, I wonder?
So many influences! For historical fiction to be successful, it must find a way to combine research with writing that creates images and emotion in the reader’s mind, and characters the reader can root for. But I think it also requires an imagination that is formed by paying attention to modern life, so that the stories are relevant to today’s readers. My influences stretch clear back to when I first learned how to read and listen, so I will scratch the surface: pertaining to research and myth, Robert Graves, Jacquetta Hawkes, Barbara G. Walker, Carl Kerényi, and Charles Pellegrino, to name but a few. In the area of the kind of glorious writing I aspire to, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Patricia A. McKillip, Anita Diamant, Peter S. Beagle, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and the unpublished work of Annia Lekka. I hope the series resonates with ordinary women just trying to survive and thrive as history happens around them, and perhaps offers new ways of seeing the female as a gender. I owe a great debt to the women who have shaped my outlook. Margaret Atwood, Anne Kent Rush, Maggie Smith, Carol P. Christ, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marija Gimbutas, and many others.
Stephanie: Have you written anything outside this genre?
Rebecca: The final books of the series take place in the future, so the “historical” label doesn’t apply. The final book in the series is more literary, with elements of magical realism.
Stephanie: Please tell me a little about your writing process?
Rebecca: I start early, with a quick perusal of social sites to see what’s going on in my online worlds, then I usually work (except when extremely tired or blocked) 12 to 14 hours a day. A lot of that time is taken up with research, and since all the books in the series are written, albeit in rough draft, my work is mostly slicing, polishing, changing and fleshing out. Marketing and promotion also takes its time. I work every day in one manner or another until my spouse grumbles enough. Then I put aside the computer and go reacquaint myself with life, (This occasionally includes a noxious interlude with a vacuum.)
Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?
My author contacts are like moonbeams. They are many, varied, bright and generous. I am or have been a member of several writing groups, and when someone discovers a fantastic opportunity like indieBRAG, he or she always shares! Indie authors for the most part are a universe of wonderful give-and-take and support. Several members of my group, the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative (HFAC), an international group of authors joined together to offer readers a selection of high-quality historical fiction, have been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion!
Stephanie: Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?
Rebecca: I am humbled, honored, and grateful to those who have taken a chance on my story, who have taken time out of their lives to read my work. It’s a lifelong dream to put this tale out into the world: sharing it with others is amazing! Then to actually win awards, like the B.R.A.G. Medallion, has truly been one of the high points of my life. We authors invest more than can be imagined in our goals. I constantly work on this series, whether I’m at the computer or not. It consumes me. I can’t remember my last “vacation” from it. All that effort becomes worthwhile when even just one person appreciates what I’m trying to do.
Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?
Rebecca: The series so far is available at every Amazon site across the world.
It’s also listed at Barnes & Noble and iTunes.
And here’s my website, which has handy links and lots of info on myth and research, Rebecca Lochlann
Thank you, Rebecca!
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Rebecca Lochlann, who is the author of The Year-God’s Daughter, one of our medallion at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, The Year-God’s Daughter merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.