When I first started writing urban fantasy I knew I wanted to bring in as many facts as I could into my series. As a reader, I loved it when I authors wove “fact” into fiction. I say “fact” loosely, as some of our facts are myths and can be disputed, but nonetheless the information I’ve gathered for my series is documented in our culture, whether it’s fact, folklore or legend.
In FULL BLOODED, the first book in the Jessica McClain series, I crafted two characters based on research. The first one was the goddess who shows up and quickly becomes Jessica’s archrival. Selene, the Lunar Goddess, was a perfect fit for the part. Greek Mythology states that Selene is the Goddess of the Moon and known for her countless love affairs. What better deity to go up against a werewolf than a Lunar Goddess? Plus I loved her name. It fit the character I had in my mind perfectly and after compiling a list of good characteristics, Selene the Lunar Goddess was born.
“I’m not a witch, you filthy bloodsucker, I’m a Goddess.” She glared, her irises a pure, fiery red now. “Goddess of the Moon, to be exact. Or if you prefer, a powerful Sorceress of Enchantment. Take your pick. But I am most certainly not a witch.”
The next is the Vampire Queen, Eudoxia. I really wanted my vampires to have Russian lineage, and preferably for her father to be Ivan the Terrible. The timing was perfect for that reign, roughly 450 years ago, and by doing research I found that Ivan had a daughter by the name of Eudoxia. He had several, but Eudoxia fit perfectly.
“You are not nearly as impressive as I had presumed you to be, little wolf girl.” The voice was attached to a vision of flawlessly etched skin. A face so perfectly defined it cast its own shadows. She boasted high, prominent cheekbones and a pair of wide hazel eyes, rimmed in heavy kohl. Her pallor was a true white, making her red lips look garish.
One of the fun parts of doing research is crafting characters and creating details with the information, some of which may never be used in the books. My werewolves are Scottish and when coming up with their full names, I incorporated Scottish Gaelic names into the mix. Jessica’s father, Callum Sèitheach (SHAY-uch, wolf) McClain, and her twin brother, Tyler Faoláin (FWAY-lun, little wolf) McClain. It’s one of those nuances that make the characters come alive, which I love so much. Creating real histories mixed with facts make the characters a little more real to me.
In HOT BLOODED, which just released this week, there are a number of researched elements in the book—but, unfortunately, telling you which ones
right now would be a bit too spoliery! (Hint: when you see the beasties, think mythical origins.) I will continue to weave fact and myth into my series, because I love it when the two worlds come together so perfectly.
To all my current and future readers, hope you enjoy the series!
Amanda Carlson’s latest novel HOT BLOODED (US | UK | AUS) is available online and in stores now. To read the first three chapters, become a fan of Amanda on Facebook or start from the beginning of the series with FULL BLOODED (US | UK | AUS).
New and current fans of Amanda’s novels can sign-up for the Jessica McClain book club to discuss the series with fellow fans and participate in exclusive chats with the author.