One of the fun things about Urban Fantasy is that you get to blend the real world with the mythological one. For my forthcoming UF trilogy, Demon Spring, I really wanted to craft a magical system that was global in nature. At the same time, I wanted to be extremely careful not to appropriate any currently practicing religions. I thought I’d write about the process I went through, as well as I can remember it (some things are fuzzy).
When this book came to me, the idea of demons transforming humans was fairly clear. Mostly as there’s a line in the last chapter of the last book that I desperately wanted to keep. (Yes, that’s how I plot.) They always had a vampiric sort of vibe, but I didn’t want to use vampires. (Too sparkly) So I went with the generic demon with specific types of monsters with different powers.
For the character of Anya, I wanted to base her on some badass warrior woman from mythology. After some poking around on Google, I came across Anath, the warrior woman from an ancient Syrian myth called the Ba’al cycle. Ba’al (or Bael) was his wife/sister (depending on the translation), and he was killed by Mot, the God of Death. Anath went on a rampage, killing Mot and grinding him into dust. She’s basically a bloodthirsty maniac.
So obviously, that was my gal. For reasons I’ll go into in a later post.
Fitting Myth to Plot
As human mythology morphed, Ba’al eventually became one of the seven princes of Hell (Beelzebub). Originally, I’d hoped to align each demon to the seven deadly sins, but sloth and gluttony weren’t all that sexy. Ergo, I went with pride, lust, wrath, envy, greed. I fudged a little bit–Beezelbub is the prince of wrath. But for what I was going for, he needed to be pride.
Since I’d begun in the Middle East, I expanded my scope to the other regions of the world. As a HUGE anime fan, I really liked how the show Inuyasha utilized different demons in varying ways. So obviously, Japan was going to be one of the other breach sites. The others–Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany–were regions where humans existed around/before 5,000 B.C.
Once I had my regions, I scoured the history and mythology of each of the ancient civilizations. In some cases, such as the noxes, the ancient civilizations were still actively practicing, so I had to come up with something entirely unique. But in others, like the eloko, I was able to borrow from the mythology and use it to provide details and nods to the original myth. The talismans that Cam and Jack use in the books are actually from the eloko myth, where hunters would go into the forest wearing symbols. I was able to give a nod to that mythology origin in the second book, too.
What are some of your favorite worlds using mythology? Sound off in the comments!
Demon hunter Jack Grenard’s life changed three years ago when his wife was brutally murdered by the very demons he’d been hunting. At the urging of his partner Cam Macarro, he’s starting a new life in Atlanta, hoping he’ll find the man he used to be. But on a routine hunt, they come across a new type of demon–one that saves instead of kills.
Meanwhile, demons across Atlanta are preparing for the quadrennial uprising of their Underworld brethren. Worse yet, there’s a rumor the so-called king of the demons, Bael, will appear for the first time in over a century. Jack and Cam must uncover the truth about the mystery woman before all hell–literally–breaks loose.
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