My novel draws inspiration from various mythologies of ancient Rome. Whenever I visit a museum or gallery, my favorite game to play is Find Diana the Huntress. She’s usually depicted with a stag, her bow and quiver, or her loyal hounds.
So far, I’ve gotten pretty good at this game.
Conceptually, Diana herself is a fascinatingly complex deity, whose influence extends beyond myth and into pagan religious practices, feminist theory, astronomy, and even comics (Wonder Woman!). My challenge was to reinterpret her as a character in a fantasy context while alluding to her historical origins. Some of these references are very clear in my manuscript (the vestal virgins, the Laurentian Forest/Palatine Hill, damnatio memoriae); others are like hidden gems for readers to hunt down.
To keep the creative energy alive like a well-oiled machine, I also like to keep supplements to my writing. It’s an amusing and all too common conundrum when one claims to want to write while decidedly avoiding the act of writing, and it’s too easy to procrastinate with the Internet at our fingertips. Doing other things that inspire writing can help, whether it’s researching, sketching characters, worldbuilding, or listening to music that informs a scene. Sometimes all it takes to evoke the writing is a more tactile, tangible form of creating.
Below are some pages from my sketchbook. I like to be able to fully envision my characters for reference, whereas the writing itself allows more room for interpretation. Many of my literary heroes have done this (J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling), and I think it’s so important to have that sense of creative playfulness.
Pardon the smudges! I’m left-handed.
I love to write with musical accompaniment, so here’s a mix of music that inspired me. Sometimes lyrics just fit perfectly, and sometimes a song captures the tone of a piece.