It’s my great pleasure to welcome Rebecca Lochlann today. Rebecca likes to say that deities will sometimes speak to us through dreams and visions, gently prompting us to tell their lost stories. That is how The Child of the Erinyes series began. Her goal was to create a new myth—one with a similar flavor to the Greek classics, yet designed to hold the interest of modern readers. She created Erinyes Press to publish and distribute the series, which she identifies as mythic fantasy fiction, beginning in the Bronze Age and winding up in the not-so-distant future. She lives with her husband in the American West.
Rebecca’s The Child of the Erinyes series is epic! She started her vision with three books set in Minoan Crete which demonstrated her meticulous research into the Bronze Age. Over the remaining 5 books, the story of an eternal love triangle moves through to C19th Scotland and onto a dystopian future. I was interested to learn how she managed to navigate time, space and myth to create her masterful 8 book series.
The Evolution of The Child of the Erinyes
The Child of the Erinyes is an eight-book journey spanning 4000 years. Beginning in the Bronze Age in a historical setting, it follows the lives of two men and a woman as they are reborn seven times through history.
Some of us draw down the moon in dreams, prayer, or ritual, wanting to understand her inspiration and insight. From the initial release of The Year-god’s Daughter in late 2011 to the back-to-back publication of When the Moon Whispers, Book Seven, and Swimming in the Rainbow, Book Eight, the reincarnation series I call Child of the Erinyes has drawn down, too. The series is finished!
Each book takes the reader on a gradual evolution, from the adventures of young lovers on the idyllic isle of Crete in the first three books through the bleak dystopian setting of Book Seven, to the futuristic denouement of Book Eight.
As I have mentioned in posts and backmatter, writing this series became my life’s work, though I didn’t exactly intend it to be that way. I often wonder if I would have begun had I known how long it would take, how much work, and the cost, not only financially but physically and psychically. Still, the sense of accomplishment is satisfying.
When I was a kid, nothing gave me as much fulfillment as doodling a tale with pencil and paper, and later, the old Royal typewriter. One by one, inspirations revealed themselves, beginning with D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. It cracked open the door, hinting at the faraway worlds awaiting me. There are so many! When it comes to Greece and myth, the stories are endless. Later, I found out Scotland is similar in that regard.
As I enter my mid-sixties, I see things differently than I did as a child, writing stories in the forest, or as a young adult, juggling writing, work, love interests, and parties, or as a thirty-something, a working mom. Writing had to take a back seat in those years. But I knew I would get back to it, and I did, joining a writing group which forced me to have a new chapter ready every week, entering contests, collecting validation from other writers, and seeing this epic saga slowly form its final shape. I also discovered new truths about Greek myth that made the D’Aulaire book seem a bit biased. A bit wrong.
I thought I was barreling along, but the story needed time to simmer, many, many more rewrites, new visions, and much more introspection. This series builds one upon the next, so even though there are eight books, I classify them all as “a story” with different settings and time periods.
For When the Moon Whispers, which I started writing in the late 1980s, I had to conjecture what the world would be like in the futuristic year of 2020, my original chosen time period. I could hardly imagine such a far-off future. Turns out I missed the mark on some things. While I did foresee countries invading their neighbors, I failed to envision the lengths technology would go. When I reread Whispers somewhere around 2008 or so, I laughed to find cassette tapes holding on in my dystopian world. Apparently, I thought cassettes were the height of what humans would do with recordings.
I put that book aside and deliberately ignored it during the years it took to mold, write, rewrite, and expand The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, In the Moon of Asterion, The Moon Casts a Spell, The Sixth Labyrinth, and Falcon Blue. I knew the way those books evolved would change Whispers drastically, and they did.
I started the focused work on Whispers immediately after publishing Falcon Blue, in 2018. Falcon Blue is an Arthurian medieval tale, set in 502 AD; Whispers jumps from that setting to one beginning in 2049 AD, and quickly leaps to 2072! Swimming in the Rainbow takes place even farther on, in the 2090s.
It took a long time just to read the notes I’d added to the Whispers manuscript over the years. Don’t forget to…, inspiration from here and there, and a very long list of “Prophecies that must be resolved.”
My memories had grown blurry so my next step was to reread the book itself. The reread caused more than one startled How can this be happening moment.
Whispers was meant to be purely speculative fantasy, but events were unfolding in America and the world that mirrored the story. Not Covid. Covid is never mentioned in Whispers nor does it need to be. It’s other things that caused uneasy shivers on the back of my neck. There are things in Whispers that I don’t want to come true, ever, anywhere on the planet, but many have already. I’d much prefer them to remain firmly in the realm of dystopian fiction. I may have missed the mark with cassettes, but I struck the mark squarely on other things, which doesn’t make me particularly happy.
This seems like a good time to advise potential readers on the content. Sure, there are worse books out there, but some of my scenes were difficult to write and for some, will be difficult to read. There’s raw language and raw events. More so than the other books in the series.
Speaking of that shiver on the back of my neck, I noticed throughout the writing of all the books that every now and then, I was given a “WOW” moment, not because of disturbing things becoming reality, but signs that I wasn’t toiling alone.
For instance, there’s the way some things just inexplicably worked, despite my brain fog (It’s real), or the pressure/stress/adrenaline that made me write something down and continue on with the understanding that I would go back and fix it later, before publication.
In Whispers, there’s a scene where a main character explains “Carnevale” to his son. “This year,” he says, “Carnevale will begin tomorrow morning and culminate in the Hunt on Tuesday night.”
I knew the scene was taking place in summertime, but I wanted this event on Tuesday night to fall on the same night that was the sacred “day out of time” in the Bronze Age books on Crete—the one holy day that fell between the old year and the new. I didn’t want to take time out to research how to write this in a way that would work, however, because it would take too much time when I was hurrying to get the draft finished. This was one of those things I would go back and fix on one of the rewrites. I left a note in red to remind myself.
When the time came and I was cleaning up the manuscript, I opened this program I used with Whispers called Aeon Timeline—useful for setting up characters, their bios, their ages, and a timeline of every event in the book. Now I had to figure out how hard it would be to juggle things so that the Carnevale event would fall on the right day, and because I didn’t think this would be a quick or easy fix, I gave myself an entire day to work on it. I found some old notes from The Year-god’s Daughter where I’d researched the annual appearance of the star Iakchos (Sirius) and Crete’s time telling methods, and refreshed my memory. Chrysaleon, the Mycenaean prince, competed against the other contestants on the 16th of July. He fasted on the 17th, 18th, and 19th—the 19th being the holy day out of time that I was looking for. That night, he descended into the labyrinth. His task was to kill the old king, Xanthus, which would make him Crete’s new bull-king.
Going back to Aeon Timeline, I studied the various events that had already happened in Whispers, and their dates. I came closer and closer to the moment the MC was explaining the workings of Carnevale, and that’s when the back of my neck shivered, because somehow, the Tuesday night event—the Hunt—fell exactly and naturally on July 19th. I checked it several times. I didn’t have to change or fix anything.
Little moments like that throughout the series left me convinced of Athene’s involvement. She gazed over my shoulder and every now and then brought clarity in a dream. She made a random date mysteriously work when it needed to. She guided me, word by word, edit by edit, rewrite by rewrite, to the perfect ending. It was in front of my face the whole time but I couldn’t quite bring it into focus. Reading and working, concentrating and living the story brought out what had to happen.
My intent for this series has always been fourfold: To Inform, to Entertain, to Empower, and to Inspire. To make a suppressed possible history with fictional elements come to life in the reader’s mind. And I’ve always wanted to offer a slightly different perspective of my heroine, Aridela, than what is currently popular in books and movies. I’m a fan of Joseph Campbell’s reluctant hero, as those who know my books have seen. I’ve read more than once in comments and reviews that Aridela (and her later incarnations) has been incredibly frustrating at times. There was a warning about this way back in The Thinara King, when Aridela married. “Thou wilt breathe the air of slavery for as long as thou art blinded. For thou art the earth, blessed and eternal, yet thou shalt be pierced, defiled, broken, and wounded, even as I have been.”
Aridela did not hatch from an egg all super-power-ey and infallible, able to leap tall mountains and crush the bad guys with a glare while wearing a tiny leather bikini. To me that’s a modern-day stereotype that excludes real females. Aridela (and her later incarnations) was a normal girl, like our sisters and daughters and friends and selves. She made mistakes. Sometimes her mistakes were pretty bad. Sometimes it was one step forward and two steps back. But she did have a good heart. Always. She always tried to head in the right direction.
“Robbers Roost?” you might ask. “What’s that?” Robbers Roost is a remote area in Utah that plays an important role in When the Moon Whispers. I won’t go into a description, as information about it is readily available online. Butch Cassidy supposedly hid from law enforcement there. “Bluejohn Canyon” of Aron Ralston fame, can be found nearby. It’s desolate, but in a magical, mesmerizing, almost otherworldly way—the perfect place for my protagonists to seek sanctuary from the corrupt world in which they find themselves.
Here is a photo of the butte in When the Moon Whispers, the one dominating the landscape, the inspiration for the place where Erin (the reincarnation of Aridela) and her granddaughter, Brie, shelter with Maya (the reincarnation of Selene.)
“Sneffels? Sounds like a cold.” Early on in Whispers, this is where the reader is taken to find another place Erin has been sheltering. This, too, is an extraordinary location that worked well for a setting. Unlike Greece, which I can’t jet off to every time I have a question, I can and have popped over to Robbers Roost and the Sneffels area to solve dilemmas or memory lapses and say hi to the chipmunks. In this photo, you can clearly see why Erin and Will refer to the summit of Sneffels as “Old Man Sneffels.”
Swimming in the Rainbow is the last book of the series. Unlike most of my other books, this one barely reached 300 pages when all was said and done, but every book in the series leads up to it. It is the fulcrum, and the book I love the most.
From the text:
“Teófilo described the enchanted world inside a rainbow thousands of times, and I never tired of listening.
It is an endless ocean. You will swim, breathe, and drink color. Colors will burst on your tongue and in your throat, purple like grapes, brown like earth, white like salt, blue like twilight. You will become color, freed of human limitations.”
Swimming in the Rainbow is a love letter. I hope my readers come away feeling the same love I felt as I wrote it.
I extend my gratitude to the many people who have helped and supported my efforts, Elisabeth Storrs being one of the staunchest.
The epic reincarnation fantasy inspired by Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur, can now be read completely, beginning to end, in this convenient boxed set.
In the Bronze Age, two brothers plot Crete’s overthrow, but desire for the queen’s daughter will propel all three into an unimaginable future, and spark the immortal rage of the Erinyes.
“Atmospheric, lyrical, and inspired. I envy readers newly discovering this riveting epic.” Lucinda Elliot, author of That Scoundrel Emile Dubois, Ravensdale, and The Peterloo Affair.
For time beyond memory, Crete has sacrificed its king to ensure good harvests, ward off earthquakes, and please the Goddess. Men compete in brutal trials to win the title of Zagreus, the sacred bull-king, even though winning means they’ll die in a year.
Two brothers from Mycenae set out to trick the competition and its formidable reckoning as they search for weaknesses in this rich, coveted society.
Hindering their goal is the seductive and fearless Cretan princess, Aridela, an uncommon woman neither brother can resist, and ancient prophecies that promise terrible retribution to any who threaten Goddess Athene’s people.
A woman of keen instinct and unshakable loyalty.
A proud warrior prince and his wounded half-brother.
Glory, passion, treachery, and conspiracy on the grandest scale.
What seems the end is only the beginning.
Thanks Rebecca. I am in awe of your vision and your skilful execution of a massive story arc and detailed character development. Congrats!
Reading order and titles in The Child of the Erinyes:
The first trilogy:
The Year-god’s Daughter, Book One (The Bronze Age. The outside world attempts to conquer a sheltered princess and her rich society.)
The Thinara King, Book Two: (During and after the eruption of the super-volcano on Santorini.)
In the Moon of Asterion, Book Three: (Aridela tries to bring her island back from devastation. Lies are exposed, and an innocent follower is imprisoned in the labyrinth.)
The second trilogy:
The Moon Casts a Spell, Book Four: (Early and mid 1800s: an island off the coast of Scotland. The reincarnated cast of characters is reunited, but only two remember their past lives.)
The Sixth Labyrinth, Book Five: (1870s, mainland Scotland. A reincarnated Aridela falls prey to the suppression of the time and nearly loses her courageous spirit.)
Falcon Blue, Book Six: (A leap backward to the first reincarnation, in 502 AD, on the northwest coast of Scotland. The Picts are barely holding on as Christianity creeps over the land.)
The third Trilogy:
When the Moon Whispers, First Chronicle, Book Seven: (2070s America. The world has stripped away almost every right for ordinary citizens, especially women.)
When the Moon Whispers, Second Chronicle, Second half of Book Seven: (2070s America, Crete, and Scotland. Will the world we know disappear to a brutal dictatorship?)
Swimming in the Rainbow, Book Eight: (2090s Europe, the Mediterranean, and California. A girl flees the aftermath of near-extinction.)
Then there’s the Complete Omnibus: the entire eight-book series in one digital file.
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