I've been asked quite a few times where the story of Matthew and Crystal (main characters in Return of the Gods) came from.
First, I must admit that I daydream. I'm not alone, as the Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the book, not the movie) shows. I don't do it as much anymore now that I'm happily ensconced in both a family and a career that I adore, but over the years I've imagined myself a lottery winner, a captain of industry, a ninja, and many other things. Other things, including a god. I mean, who wouldn't think it cool to one day up and tell your boss, "I'm outta here now, going back to doing what I do best--being worshipped"?
Along the way, I started wondering what might happen should the god of my imaginings have a wife or girlfriend. Would he take her along to--wherever he lives (which in turn brings up the question of where a god might live)? If he offered, how would she likely respond? If she went along to his palace in the sky, or on Olympus, or wherever it was, how would she fare? Gods have servants, right? What if his personal servant was a stunningly beautiful female--how would his girlfriend/wife react then?
(is this starting to sound familiar?)
Meanwhile, many years ago I toured the Biltmore Mansion and saw a magnificent tapestry that depicted the interesting love triangle between Ares, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus. In that story the latter two were married and the god of war stole the goddess of love away from the god of hammer-time. Hmm--interesting story, that. It's not the only version, of course; Greek myths, like most mythologies, have some variations in the telling. Still, I wondered, would gods and goddesses really wed, or become consorts, or whatever you wish to call a pairing up? How might an immortal being speak the words "till death do us part"? What would happen, then, when they sleep around on each other?
At some point I realized that the wife/girlfriend was more interesting than the guy in my original story. Guy tells boss "Seeya, I'm outie!" and then tells girlfriend/wife "you're coming with!" and then goes back to being a deity.... Meh. Not much interesting stuff there.
Her side, though: normal housewife (who's certainly not just average; she was, after all, chosen by a god) gets swept out of her normal life with her normal kids to a fantasy world, by said god -- hey, not just any old god, but let's make him the god of war. Yeah, now we're talking. Ares, after all, wasn't exactly everybody's favorite deity. He was known for being a tough guy to live with, after all. I mean, the Greeks often built the temples to Ares way out away from their towns, as a way to say, "please stay out there and protect us, but -- well, you know, kinda stay out there, if you don't mind, um, away from our women."
Yeah, Ares. He was arrogant, he was brash, he was immature at times. In short, he was all those qualities that are great in the swordmaster fighting by your side but might kinda take some getting used to in a lifemate. He'd hide them just fine in a normal, civilized role, but give him back his mojo and see the battle glory in his eyes.
Now, Mars was seen a little bit different. That's unsurprising, really, since his role in the pantheon -- warfare -- was seen a little bit differently by the Romans than by the Greeks. So how, I wondered, should I tie him into other notable pantheons? A little bit of artistic license and suddenly he became the mischievous one -- not playfully and sometimes disobediently mischievous like Loki/Hermes, but selfishly so instead. The Norse legends uphold him as a glorified god of justice because, well, he helped write those legends. And so it began.
Thus was the main story behind Cataclysm: Return of the Gods born. In hindsight, I probably should've titled it differently, as the cataclysm is just the vehicle I used to kick the story off. The main plot, as I'm sure you already know from reading it, is about Crystal, the wife of the god of war (who is for the most part modeled after my own dear beloved bride) and how she deals with all of the loss in the cataclysm as well as the kinda major surprise that she's married to the immortal guy who's the ex-hubster of the goddess of love. "Oh, sure," she says inside. "Forgot to mention something, Matt?"
To add some extra-special spice to the story I decided that the goddess of love would be wanting her old fling back. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever said why, but then again, that's a story for another Origins post.
Hope you enjoyed!
(PS--you did already know that from your reading, didn't you? If you haven't, and you'd like to, then head on over to my author page and get a copy. And then please do me the favor of recording your thoughts on the book in the form of a review)