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Beautiful Death is Here!

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Beautiful Death is now available at Drollerie Press here!

Some story behind the story…

I’ve always loved mythology (no surprise if you’ve been reading here long) and Hades in particular, but I never cared for the traditional stories involving Persephone. Whine whine whine. I want to go home. *rolls eyes*

I liked the idea of a “death story,” but I wanted more than the normal everyday Lord of the Underworld.

Some definite influences:

The movie Underworld, which quite honestly, I couldn’t finish. I loved the idea of it, though. The very dark, seductive tone of the movie was cool. I’ve never been much of a fan of werewolves, but vampires, yes, and the battle of the races I thought was very cool, with humans sort of caught between.

But I didn’t want another poor human vs. monster story. My mind sort of turned that around and asked: what if humans were the monsters, and the traditional monster–like vampires–were perhaps innocent or victims?

I certainly didn’t want to write a normal everyday vampire story, either, let alone the typical Alien movie. However, Alien and all its sequels laid a strong foundation for the story. At one time, I called this story an “Alien Underworld” referring to these two movies. Yet I didn’t want monster aliens, though. How about beautiful ones that valued perfection?

And the catalyst: a pandemic virus that obliterated the world as we know it.

I still didn’t have the Greek mythology angle pinned yet. I knew the theme. I knew the catalyst. But who was my protagonist? I was reading a ton of Laurell K. Hamilton at the time, but I didn’t want a whiny character like Anita Blake–she’d be no better than Peresphone who bitched about going home all the time. No, I wanted somebody strong and deadly. Somebody like…Edward, Anita’s friend who’s known as Death. He’s always been one of my favorite characters, and Obsidian Butterfly is still my favorite Anita Blake book.

So I started thinking about a female protagonist whose nickname was Death. Who was she? Hades came to mind first, obviously, but I didn’t want to make Hades a woman. Thanatos, though… The Greek god of Death hasn’t been used that many times, at least that I could remember. Once I settled on Thanatos, and Hades, the underlying mythology fell into place and defined the other characters: Charon, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Icarus. All warped just a little, of course. For example, Icarus is obsessed with wings and flying, but for a very specific reason that’s central to his relationship with Isabella. Zeus is obviously the father of New Olympia, but to tie him to the virus, he became a famous hematologist who helped develop the vaccine. And more. *winks*

So that’s how the story world came to be. However, it was also a story that I almost quit. I almost quit writing entirely before I finished Beautiful Death. Yet that’ll be a story for another time: how the butterfly decided to fly again.

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