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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Author Guest Blog Post: Mighty Gods of Myth by JC De La Torre

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Author Jc De La Torre has stopped by Fantasy Book Critic with a guest blog spot. On July 31st De La Torre's second installment
of the Rise of the Ancients series titled Annuna, hits bookshelves. Rise of the Ancients involves the ancient Greek gods and with so many books lately incorporating the ancient myths it seemed a perfect topic to bring up to discussion.

Mighty Gods of Myth
by JC De La Torre
Search the name Zeus in Amazon and you’ll be amazed at the amount of fantasy literature that comes up regarding the gods. From Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series to Dan Simmons Olympos saga, the gods must be crazy for fantasy writers.

The myths of old are big business now-a-days. Certainly, everyone has at least heard of the greek and roman deities. Zeus and Jupiter, Poseidon and Neptune, as they share responsibilities, they share a renewed interest in authors’ minds. Today, the gods run amuck in America (American Gods by Neil Gaiman), are living comfortably above the Empire State Building (Percy Jackson), live on Mars (Olympos), get frisky in London (Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips) are running a boarding school (Chronicles of Chaos series by John C. Wright, and are freed from their underwater prison of Atlantis and reigning hell on the world (as in my own Rise of the Ancients saga), mythology is the new vampirism.

When Twilight became the next sensation, everyone was writing teen vampire love triangles. Now, Percy Jackson bursts on to the scene (and will be a bigger force once hit hits the movieplex in 2010 with the Lightning Thief), everyone wants to invite Zeus to the party.

It’s funny, when I began writing my first novel in the summer of ‘04, Ancient Rising - Rise of the Ancients Book I, the gods and Atlantis were a subject that had been ignored for a long time. Sure, comic books had tackled Atlantis and the gods, there were a handful of novels that had Atlantis or the gods as a major theme including Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series and Clive Cussler’s Atlantis Found but interest in mythology seemed to deaden out in the 90’s. No one was interested in retelling or re-imaging the old myths.

My own personal interest in Atlantis came from my love of ancient history and reading a non-fiction (or semi-fictional, depending on how you view the subject matter) novel by an author named Herbie Brennan called the Atlantis Enigma that introduced me to the mythology of Atlantis and the theory of ancient astronauts. As I researched Atlantis, I grew interested in Greek mythology as a method of distribution for my own ancient astronauts fiction. Similar to the way Stargate used Egyptian deities posing as gods called the Goa’uld, I used our known Greek mythology, combined it with the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian stories of the Annunaki (another Brennan inspiration) and even sprinkled in Jesus Christ. I threw it all in a pot, stirred until I came up with a wild tale about a devastated widower who was greeted by the Greek god Hermes and set on an Indiana Jones-meets-Clash of the Titans type adventure.

I spent a year and half promoting the book, then took some time off. Amazingly, since Ancient Rising was published in 06, there have been sixty-one books dealing with Atlantis and another whopping eight hundred and fifty have something to do with mythology.

While my first novel focused on the Greek gods and the adventure to find Atlantis, the next in the series Rise of the Ancients – Annuna (coming July 31st) focuses on the Annuna (another name for the Sumerian/Babylonian Annunaki), the rise of the gods on Earth, and how Atlantis fell. I was stunned to see the explosion in the subject I had all to myself just three short years ago.

While I’d love to believe I started the trend, I know its more due to the success of Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Thomas Greanias’ Atlantis saga that have brought mythology back into the mainstream. Video games like God of War introduced Zeus and the other gods to a new audience.While we know Percy Jackson’s movies are coming, I also recently saw an article that said that Dreamworks optioned Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s comic mini-series Atlantis Rising.

I have a feeling that the gods are going to be with us for awhile.


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