For my latest book I’m doing research on monsters from Greek mythology. I took Greek mythology in grammar school and in college, but those classes didn’t really focus on what I was interested in—those fantastic creatures banished to the underworld by Zeus. And there is a butt-ton of them.
Cerberus is a three-headed, sometimes two-headed, sometimes multi-headed dog (depending on who’s telling the tail...er...I mean tale). In my story he ends up in Egypt, where he literally emerges from inside the Great Sphinx. His day job is to guard the entrance to Hades, keeping the dead in and the living out. He’s big and mean with snapping jaws full of teeth and huge, blood-dripping claws. He’s also known as the Hellhound, so what’s not to like?
Medusa, one of the three Gorgon sisters, is disturbing to even think about. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Clash of the Titans,” you know what I mean. Her face is one that not even a mother could love, and instead of hair, she has a head full of live, poisonous snakes. What’s cool about her is that any human or beast that gazes into her eyes turns to stone. Well, it’s not cool for the victims, but you know what I mean.
Imagine the Minotaur, with the head of a bull and the body of a man, coming for you in the middle of the night. He didn’t really have a specific job in Greek literature, but hey, he looks cool, so who cares, right? He fits right in with my battalion of havoc-wreaking monsters.
There’s also the Cyclops, who is the first to appear in my new book to a couple of hikers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of all places. He’s got one eye, a giant horn on his head and speaks ancient Greek, but with a loud, booming, animalistic growl. There were supposedly three of these guys, but I’m only using one in my story. He wears a robe, knows how to hunt and build a fire and as I said, how to speak ancient Greek. Oh, and did I mention he’s twenty feet tall?
All the monsters in my story (tentative title: ORACLE OF THE DEAD) also have supernatural powers given to them by...well, you’ll have to read the book, which is still in its early stages, to find out.
I have used mythological monsters in pretty much all of my books to date. The reason for that is I like to draw from actual mythology and add a layer of realism to an otherwise fantastical story. I love reading stories like that myself—Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, even Homer—all mixed fantasy with reality and created imaginative stories that still resonate decades or centuries later. Hopefully, my books will do the same.
Find out what I'm up to by connecting with me on my website at tobytatestories.com and don't forget to sign up for my email newsblast while you're there!