Guest Blogger: Sela Carsen
The winner of Sela's book is: Margay! Congratulations, Margay. Thanks to everyone who participated.
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.