The Voices in My Head…
As a writer, creating characters is one of my favorite things. Often a character will appear in my mind, complete with a personality, career, and name, but without a story. If I’m working on something else when this happens, I’ll file them away and tell them to wait their turn! Other times, the story I’m working on will demand a new character, and the context and circumstances will help to form them. But once in a while, I’m interested in a character that already exists.
My degree is in Classics. As a student I read the Odyssey many times, even translating portions of it from ancient Greek (my superpower). It was Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, who always fascinated me. Left behind when Odysseus was called to fight in the Trojan War, we encounter Penelope at the very beginning of the poem and then again at the end. She’s portrayed as clever, loyal, and faithful to Odysseus in his absence. But this woman raised a son and ran the family estate in Ithaca for twenty years while her husband was away. There had to be more to her story!
When World Weaver Press announced a new installment in their Magical Menageries anthology series titled Sirens, I thought about Penelope again. It was, after all, the famous Siren Kalypso who held Odysseus captive for seven years, delaying his return to Penelope. Was there a story here about both these women? One a Siren, and one a loyal wife?
As soon as I posed the question, the ladies spoke! Penelope was stronger and shrewder than I first imagined her. She even demanded her own magic. Kalypso displayed a madness that was both innocent and terrifying, and while her voice felt more distant, it was no less interesting. Other minor characters emerged and shared their personalities. Penelope’s loyal servant, Eurykleia, and the treacherous housemaid, Melantho, both sought their place in the story and helped illuminate the politics and intrigue of the household. It seemed as if these characters were simply waiting for me to tell their tale!
The threads of this story wove together in ways I hadn’t predicted. And like Penelope with her tapestry, I unwound and restrung them numerous times. The end result (I hope!) is a unique, feminine, and imaginative retelling of arguably the most famous homecoming in classical mythology.
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled cat, and lovable lab mix. She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there for over a decade before turning her attention to full-time writing. You can visit her author website at www.tabithalordauthor.com, and follow her on www.bookclubbabble.com where she posts author interviews, reviews, and more. Horizon, her first novel, was released December 2015, and she is currently at work on the sequel.