One Writer’s Dreams
By Christy English
How does a writer go from obsessing about Eleanor of Aquitaine to being possessed by the need to write about a goddess? For any of you who have read my historical fiction novels THE QUEEN’S PAWN or TO BE QUEEN, both of which have Eleanor of Aquitaine as a narrator, you know that it is not that far a leap from queen to goddess. Indeed, I think Eleanor would have enjoyed the comparison.
But as with more than one of my novels, APHRODITE’S CHOICE first came to me in a dream.
During the summer and fall of 2010, I was traveling around the Southeastern US going to book signings and literary festivals to support my first published novel, THE QUEEN’S PAWN. While I did this, I took time out to see friends and family along my route, and I stopped at my godmother’s on my way back to my home base (at the time, that was Wilmington, NC.) We got to talking about books, as we so often do, and she asked me why I had never written a paranormal novel, a genre she loved to read.
I didn’t have an answer for her, other than to say that a character with a paranormal story had never shown up on the doorstep of my mind. If one ever did, I said, I was sure to write it. Because, in my world, the book is always the boss.
That night I slept well, tucked away in her frilly guest bedroom downstairs. And as the early morning light began to creep in at the windows, I dreamed of a goddess of love, of her mortal friends, and of the man who was hunting her.
The first fifty pages of the novel came from my very involved, very detailed dream, pretty much as they appear now in APHRODITE’S CHOICE. While my Aphrodite, or Addy Stanfield as she calls herself in modern Boston in 2016, is an immortal being who came down to earth to offer an aspect of the healing of Divine Grace, she is also a woman. A woman with a perspective out of time, a woman who belongs to all times and places, and to none.
Addy loves her mortal friends, though she knows that she will very likely live long enough to watch them die. She keeps an immortal lover, the war god Ares, who comes into and out of her life on his own whims, and in his own time, often wreaking havoc as he passes through her world. And for the last eight hundred years or more, the same group of men has hunted Addy and her sisters, fellow goddesses who do the work of serving humanity, each in their own way. This group, the Brotherhood of the Light, destroy her sisters when they can, and as the novel opens, Addy discovers that they have found her yet again.
Paranormal thrillers are a lot of fun to read, but before APHRODITE’S CHOICE, I had never written one. She opened my eyes to a whole new world, as each of my characters has, as I pray each new character always will. I am very grateful for that conversation with my godmother, and her off-the-cuff question about paranormal story-telling. My life is infinitely richer for having met and worked with Addy, and I hope that, if you read her story, she enhances your life half as much as she has blessed mine.