Monday, February 02, 2009

Guest Blogger: Sela Carsen

The winner of Sela's book is: Margay! Congratulations, Margay. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Hey y’all! I’m Sela Carsen and I’m so glad to be here!

Lynda has graciously given me a guest spot on her blog today, so I’d better make the best use of it I can.

I’m part of a group of bloggers at
http://paranormalauthors.blogspot.com, Beyond the Veil, and one of the things I blog about regularly (when I remember to post – bad blogger Sela) is mythology. I’ve talked about werewolf myths there before, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into the particular myth that I used for the story releasing tomorrow, CAROLINA WOLF.

All it takes is a spark of Grrrrrl power to set the swamp on fire!

Librarian Debra Henry is boring. And she’s okay with that. Really. It’s not as if the teensy amount of witchcraft that flows in her veins is worth getting excited about. Yet someone—or something—thinks it’s worth crawling out of the swamps to attack her. Those “somethings” are werewolves.

When one of them is hurt saving her, the least she can do is take him home and patch him up. Healing him stirs more than her senses. Maddox Moreau awakens the magic that sleeps in her blood. And suddenly, life’s not quite so boring.

A wildlife manager at Congaree National Park by day, Maddox likes being the BWIS—Big Wolf In the Swamp. By night, he lets his wild side out to play lone wolf. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Perhaps it’s best, though, if he holds off on sharing his preference for raw meat.

Rescuing her seals his fate—but only if he can protect her from a rogue of his kind. A werewolf with a nasty stalker streak…

Onto the mythology, though. In researching this story, I concentrated primarily on some medieval legends.

In the middle ages, Brittany – a peninsula in northwestern France – had closer ties to Wales, Cornwall and Britain than it did to France. Culturally and linguistically, Brittany was merely another arm of Celtic territory separated by nothing more than a strip of water.

In the 12th century, two Breton lays, medieval narrative poems that were meant to be sung by minstrels, that ran across the same theme were very popular.

Bisclavret, by Marie de France, and Melion, by an unknown author, but popularized by Thomas Malory in his Morte d’Arthur, are both knights of King Arthur’s court in these tales, thus tying them even more closely to their Anglo/Celtic roots.

In these stories, the knights are werewolves. Melion is transformed by a ring, Bisclavret turns when the moon is full. Bisclavret, however, must have his clothes to return to human form. It’s my opinion – not backed by the texts in any way – that his “clothes” may be the bespelled pelt of a wolf. One of the ways a human can become a werewolf is by wearing a wolf’s fur around him as a belt.

Each knight has an unfaithful wife. He tells her his secret, then she betrays him by either taking the ring or the clothing. The knights, trapped in their animal forms, subsume themselves to the wolf, living wild for several months or years until they encounter King Arthur hunting in their forests.

Immediately, they become tame for the king (yay for magical, Christ-like Arthur!) The unfaithful wives had run off with their squires, and eventually join Arthur’s court. The wolves attack them and, knowing that the wolves have never attacked anyone before, Arthur investigates. The truth comes out, and the wives are compelled to return the magical items to their husbands, who resume their human forms. The wives are punished and the knights leave them. Not really a Happily Ever After, but at least the knights get to return to their lives. To be honest, the stories are pretty misogynistic. None of the women are trustworthy, but for the purposes of our myth, that’s neither here nor there.

While I was doing more research about werewolf myths, I also discovered that the whole biting thing is a modern invention. For centuries, the only way you could become a werewolf was either evil magic, or being born a werewolf. And werewolves were pretty much always evil, too. There was one case – one – where a man claimed that werewolves were the hounds of God. He was given 50 lashes for heresy.

Myths are great jumping off points for stories. I didn’t retell Melion or Bisclavret, but elements from several myths formed the base for my werewolves in CAROLINA WOLF. A little dash of the wolf pelt, a good chunk of blood magic, a sprinkle of Breton heritage, a hefty helping of Arthurian legend, and a wee little pinch of neo-paganism and voila! A story!

And for getting through all this history, you deserve a prize.

I’m giving away a copy of CAROLINA WOLF to one lucky person who comments here. Please be sure to leave some way to get in contact with you. Good luck! Or as they say in Breton, chañs vat!

Sela Carsen ~ Elegant Whimsy ~ Website and blog
http://www.selacarsen.com
NOT QUITE DEAD ~ Samhain
HEART OF THE SEA ~ Samhain
DREAMS & DESIRES, VOL 1&2 ~ Freya's Bower
CAROLINA WOLF ~Coming to Samhain Feb '09

*************************
The winner of Sela's book will be posted here on Wednesday evening. Be sure to check back to see if you've won!

27 Comments:

Blogger Lori T said...

Hi Sela~

Carolina Wolf sounds great! I loved reading the myths and thanks for sharing!!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

Wow! It was really interesting to learn what you posted on werewolf myths. Great blog and I'd love to read the book if I should win. :)

9:27 PM  
Blogger Davina said...

First off, yay for a new blog to haunt!

I've always been fascinated by mythology of all sorts, and I find the outlying King Arthur stories particularly enthralling because of the way they're boiled down to pretty much one idea in modern culture. The way we take stories and mould them into new shapes never fails to amaze me.

The book sounds great - good luck with the release!

3:39 AM  
Blogger Margay said...

Sela, I love when people use mythology as a jump-off point for their novels, especially when they totally twist it up - which it sounds like you did! What an interesting premise. I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for it in the stores.
Margay
http://margayleahjustice.com

3:39 AM  
Blogger Kristen Painter said...

I love mythology! It's certainly rich grounds for modern storytelling.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh, Carolina Wolf sounds very intriguing! It's going straight to my TBR list.

6:43 AM  
Blogger sarabelle said...

Hello Sela, Wow your book sounds amazing I love the myths that go along with your book. Thank you so much for this post today, I am definetly adding Carolina Wolf to my TBR.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Welcome to Paranormality, Sela! It's great to have you here. Have a wonderful day.
Lynda

7:48 AM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Very interesting post today, looking forward to the release!

9:53 AM  
Blogger Ruth Schaller said...

Oh, yes, myths are a great way to start. Thanks for the interview! Your book sounds wonderful!

Count me in Ruthiesbookreviews AT yahoo DOT com

10:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This sounds like a great book! I like hearing what myths and legends inspired the stories. I can't wait to read it!

11:00 AM  
Blogger BethRe said...

Wow Thanks for the information on werewolves very interesting.
Your book sounds like it will be an awesome read

11:30 AM  
OpenID naughtytidbits said...

I just love Mythology, so i say bring it on!

Dayanna

11:42 AM  
Blogger donnas said...

Thanks for the great post. I love myths and legends and Carolina Wolf sounds great.

11:52 AM  
Blogger mamasand2 said...

It sounds like you put a lot of time into researching this Sela. Some of the things you found surprised me, like the fact that only recently has it been thought that being bitten by a werewolf caused you to become one.

Your Carolina Wolf sounds fantastic.

Sandie

12:11 PM  
Blogger Natasha said...

As a "naughty" librarian myself....I can't wait to read this! Thanks for sharing!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

Sela, the book sounds really interesting, especially now that I know the research that went into it. I have studied quite a few medieval myths and legends in my literature classes and a lot of them revolved around Arthur and his knights. However, I had never heard of either of the two you mentioned, that I have read others by Marie de France. Now I'm really intrigued by your book and want to look up the legends you used as well. :)

Karin
karin.theisen [at] gmail [dot] com

12:44 PM  
Blogger Jessa Slade said...

Like Sandie, I think it's fascinating that the bite is a newer spin on the old mythology. With vampires having always been about the bite, I would have thought weres were similar. It's fascinating how "old" stories continue to evolve.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Shadowgoddess said...

Carolina Wolf sounds awesome!!! I really like mythology. Your post was very interesting and it shows a lot of hard work went into your research.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sela Carsen said...

Thanks so much, y'all! I have even more information about my research, including links to the stories, on my website at http://selacarsen.com//?page_id=1440

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading the information about werewolves. Of all of the myths, I like the ones that deal with animals like wolves. Have added this book to my TR list.
JOYE
JWIsley AT aol.com

2:57 PM  
OpenID fcammer2 said...

Sela - Carolina Wolf sounds so good! Can't wait to read it.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

Great post! Carolina Wolf sounds great!

amysmith98 @ yahoo.com

8:36 PM  
Blogger KimbasKicks said...

Great Blog....I love finding new authors!! ;)

Diamonds4mom@yahoo.com
~Kimba

4:10 PM  
Blogger Sela Carsen said...

Thank you everyone for commenting on the blog! I hope you enjoyed it -- I know I did! And thanks also to Lynda for hosting me. :)

8:09 AM  
Blogger Margay said...

Thank you for choosing me!
Margay

11:38 AM  
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