In celebration of her latest book release, The Songweaver’s Vow, Laura is joining us today for a guest post on retellings. We all know I’m a sucker for retellings (and you probably are too if you’re anything like me!), so this should be fun. Here’s Laura!
I never really sat down to be a folkloric writer. It just sort of…happened.
To be fair, I write an awful lot of material which has nothing to do with folklore or mythology. But especially in my speculative fiction, I find myself often returning to creatures, people, or themes from ancient stories, and finding how they interact with our worldviews today. And many of my author friends write original stories but find inspiration or references in fairy tales, legends, myths.
I think there’s a reason some old stories have stayed with us for so long. There’s a reason tropes exist, and why we keep going back to stories about sacrifice and redemption and overcoming astronomical odds. We need them, and they’re true.
And, let’s be honest, they’re also just a lot of fun.
I give educational talks about folklore and mythology, and frequently when I am asked to explain something outlandish in Norse myth, I lightheartedly answer, “Eight months of winter and mead! They had to find some crazy stories to tell!”
There’s more to it than that, of course. Loki’s infamous shapeshift into a female horse who later gives birth, making Loki both a mother and a father to his various offspring, had a great deal of contemporary cultural subtext beyond today’s skeptical raised eyebrow or prurient giggle. But ultimately, stories have to be entertaining or satisfying on some level, as well as true.
For The Songweaver’s Vow, I had a great deal of fun putting two very different mythologies together to see where they intersected and how one might view the other. Our protagonist Euthalia was raised on classic stories of Greek myth, but she finds herself sacrificed into the Norse godsrealm of Asgard, living among the Norse pantheon, and everything is different. The entire thing is a bit meta – Euthalia’s character is a product of myth, herself – but it’s a lot of fun.
Folklore is a living thing, both to be preserved and studied for what it tells us about who we were and to be enjoyed by who we are.
The Songweaver’s Vow released February 21, and my hope is that readers will find new perspectives on stories they thought they already knew as well as a powerful connection to Euthalia’s journey and challenge.
And also, I hope it’s just a lot of fun!
Euthalia is rejected as a bride, traded to Viking raiders, and sacrificed to a strange god.
After that, things get interesting.
When Euthalia’s father trades her to Viking raiders, her best hope is to be made a wife instead of a slave. She gets her wish — sort of — when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god.
Her inhuman husband seems kind, but he visits only in the dark of night and will not allow her to look upon him. By day Euthalia becomes known as a storyteller, spinning ancient Greek tales to entertain Asgard’s gods and monsters.
When one of her stories precipitates a god’s murder and horrific retribution, Euthalia discovers there is a monster in her bed as well. Alone in a hostile Asgard, Euthalia must ally with a spiteful goddess to sway Odin himself before bloody tragedy opens Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world.
Find it on Amazon.
About the Author
Laura VanArendonk Baugh overcame the dubious challenge of having been born without teeth or developed motor skills to become an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, mystery, and non-fiction. Her works have earned numerous accolades, including 3-star ratings (the highest possible) on Tangent’s “Recommended Reading” list. Laura speaks professionally on a variety of topics throughout the year, including writing, fan costuming, and her day job as a professional animal trainer and behavior consultant.
Find her at www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com.