stacy benedict

Where did you get the idea for your novel?

The idea for my supernatural race sprang out of my love of mythology.  The Sumerian tale of Marduk versus Tiamat absorbed me one night during a months-long bout of insomnia. A few articles compared Tiamat to Echidna (Ekhidna) from Greek mythology. Back then, I only knew Echidna (Ekhidna) as the mother of some gnarly monsters that Hercules slayed during his labors.

Echidna’s (Ekhidna) story ushered me down a rabbit hole with no ground floor. I couldn’t stop searching for more knowledge. There is little information about her online. Most articles center on her offspring with Typhon (Typhoeus).

The twelve labors of Hercules was a familiar tale to me. At one time, I was a devoted fan of Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: the Legendary Journeys TV series. Until I researched Echidna (Ekhidna), I didn’t realize how many of her children Hercules had either killed or manhandled. This got me day dreaming.

What if Hercules wasn’t the good guy hero? Echidna (Ekhidna) must have been livid that he murdered her children one by one. What if she got revenge? What if she had the spirits of her progeny locked away in a vessel to be opened in the future when the reign of the Olympians ended?

What if…What if?

Ideas bubbled up from my mind and out through my ears like melted wax.  Soon, I was writing bits on post-it notes and on scraps of paper during my lunch break. From the time I got up, to my daily hour and twenty minute drive to work, to the moment I tucked myself in at night, I thought about Echidna (Ekhidna).

The notes became lists. I organized the lists into a story outline. The outline morphed into summaries of scenes. The characters banging around in my head demanded to run wild in a narrative somewhere.

“Write our story, bitch, or we’ll cut you,” they screamed in my head. My characters are an aggressive bunch.

Two years prior, I had attempted to write a novel. It was a fantasy set in a typical semi-medieval town about a boy working to pay off his father’s gambling debts. I never completed “The Stone.” A twenty thousand word document collects dust in a folder on my bookshelf.  I’d gotten stuck, bored and uninspired with the story so, I’d given up.

I was afraid that would happen again. My subconscious said I hadn’t finished “The Stone” because I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. Still, I was determined to try one more time.

None of my fears happened with “Hound Dog Confidential” or “Through the Villain’s Eyes.” Writing those two novels was not easy. I took breaks that lasted weeks. I was grumpy, scared, frustrated and still suffered from insomnia. Motivation to finish, however, never waned. The mother of monsters had sunk her talons into me and I didn’t want her to let go.

If you’re a writer, where did the idea for your work in progress sprout from?

Hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

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