Since it's been a while, and most of my posts relating to the research and reading I did to write HELEN OF SPARTA and BY HELEN'S HAND are buried in the archives, I thought it might be a good idea to bring some of them back to your attention, hero by hero and topic by topic, so when May 10th rolls around, you'll be as ready to read as I was to write!
NB: The Myths are the Myths, but most of these posts will include my perspectives and approaches to them, which could be spoiler-ish, so proceed with caution!
Heracles and I have a strange history. I did not always love him -- despite Kevin Sorbo's winning charm. I just didn't get him. He seemed so one-dimensional to me for a long time. And maybe that was in part because I was thinking of him still from the perspective of my childhood's understanding vs really digging into his character as it is presented in the myths, but maybe also, it's because at first glance he does come off as a little bit... difficult to love, from the modern perspective. Like with Achilles, it took me a little more work to come to terms with him on HIS own terms.
The end result, ultimately, is that I was super excited when I realized I could include Heracles in BY HELEN'S HAND. And of course, it's always an interesting challenge to include someone so much larger than life and so well-known -- but I'd like to think I kept him from stealing the show.
***Spoilers for By Helen's Hand!***Mostly an introduction to the following post, but includes a couple of small interesting pieces about both Euripides' timeline of events, and Heracles himself. (I mean, if you know your myths it isn't a spoiler but! Even so. The last paragraph is definitely a little generically spoileriffic.)
In the latter part of his play, Euripides illustrates the bond between Theseus and Heracles. They’re friends, of course, and why wouldn’t they be, being the two most celebrated heroes of their time[...]. And in Heracles' most desperate hour of need, when he is contemplating for the first time the thought of suicide to revenge upon himself the murder of his wife and children, it’s Theseus who comes to his aid. (Again, SPOILERS. Like, in the first paragraph even!)
If you're an old fan of Amalia Dillin!me, you may have seen a sneak peek of a very small element of his inclusion over yonder on ye olde Good to Begin Well, in a very early incarnation. You can count it as the first scene of BHH that was written, though where it appears in the final book...you'll have to wait to find out (and it is certainly a spoiler!) I'm not going to link because technically I probably should have taken it down :P but... it's there still for anyone who wants to find it! (And doesn't mind being a little bit spoiled on the events of BHH.)
I also did a not entirely serious comparison of Heracles and Jesus. Because you can make any two mythic heroes sound the same if you include the right facts and leave out the wrong ones. But I found it interesting as an exercise all the same!
If you enjoyed Helen of Sparta don't forget to pre-order your copy of BY HELEN'S HAND -- available May 10th in paperback, audio (cd, mp3, and audible), and for kindle! Or maybe just mark it to-read on Goodreads in the meantime :) And don't forget to subscribe to THE AMALIAD for a free short story prequel to HELEN OF SPARTA: Ariadne and the Beast!