Since I’m a historical fiction author, I wanted to write a story of what could have actually happened in ancient history to inspire the myths spanning the generations of Greek titans and gods. The myths begin with Uranus and Gaia birthing the titans. Oceanus and Tethys beget gods/demi-gods intertwined with the children of Cronus and Rhea, and we get your monsters/creatures from Ceto and Phorchys.
So with that in mind, as I was trying to figure out when in history these events might have taken place if an event sparked the tale, I realized very early on in the generational hierarchy, some of these people (like half of the generations between Oceanus and Perseus) were Egyptian queens and kings. So when were Ancient Greeks crowned as Egyptian kings prior to 800 BC (which was when the Greek myths were first recorded by Hesiod)? The only time, that I’m aware of, in Egyptian history before 800 BC where Egypt was ruled by someone other than Egyptians was the Second Intermediate Period, whom the Egyptians called the Hekka Khasut (Hyksos), and if Mycenae was really founded by a man named Perseus in 1350 BC (which would be the correct dating if the Battle of Troy happened around 1200 BC per the archaeology reports) then counting back the generations from Perseus to Oceanus would put Oceanus around 1650 BC (which is right around the start of the Mycenaean age). Which by the way, also fits in with his mythological granddaughter becoming queen of Egypt around the first decades of the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt.
At this point, my mind was blown. But I wanted to write a story about Medusa… so how do I take a snake headed, killer-looking monstrous creature and make her a real person? And during this ancient time? I started researching the inhabitants of Greece at that time and the influences that academic books said they had found at the end of the Middle Helladic era in their excavations. Minoan influences (pre-Mycenaean) were prevalent. I researched hypothesized migration patterns of people of how Greece became populated. I decided that I would take the hypothesis that the Minoans might have been a matriarchal society to heart.
Since they have a goddess (or two) that is a snake goddess or a Mother Goddess and the Thracians also had a Mother Goddess as well as the original inhabitants from 3000 BC, then I would make the Peloponnese inhabitants the same. However, the Mycenaeans were a very patriarchal society where war and ferocity were embedded in their daily life with a supreme god, not goddess. Their entire societal construct seemed to be based on a military hierarchy. Anyway, taking all of that in, I came up with The Curse of Beauty.
You’ll have to read the “A Look into the Past” section in the back of the book for more reasons why and how I wrote the story in the way that I did because I hate spoilers and I don’t want to give away any here.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Curse of Beauty, what would they be?
Ooh.. This is a fun question. I have several main characters in this book—it’s a family saga. Let’s see, all of my characters are flawed and there is no black and white as I pose questions of morality in the story, but with that being said, I think these songs could be considered theme songs for each of these characters. Thais – Brighter Light Brigade – Kindness Is King Alexein – Randy Newman – You’ve Got a Friend in Me Inachus – Remy Zero – Save Me Gorgon – Skillet – Brave Oceanus – George Thorogood And The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone .
Read the full interview here: https://www.newinbooks.com/interview-with-lauren-lee-merewether-author-of-the-curse-of-beauty/