I’m going to try to be more active as a blogger. And with today being 1 October, or The First Day of Halloween, I thought it would be a good time to really go into the inspiration for my debut novel, Liam’s Doom. And like many author’s, I take inspiration from many sources. However, one text stands central: “The Banshee’s Tale” by Annabeth Lennon.
You won’t find “The Banshee’s Tale” in bookstores or shorty story collections. This story is actually a D&D adventure found in the first volume of the Uncaged Anthology where writers create adventures focusing on monsters that reimagine the mythic narratives and give the monsters a voice. It’s a wonderful series, and I highly recommend people purchase it.
“The Banshee’s Tale” focuses on a family whose ancestor made a pact with an evil god. He promised the souls of his entire family in exchange for success. Now, a banshee has come to warn her descendants that their doom is imminent. The players can either choose to confront and destroy the banshee or work to unravel the mystery and save the family.
So, it’s easy to see what I took from this: the idea of the banshee warning of impending doom due to an ancestor’s wicked action. In some ways, Liam’s Doom serves as a recounting of a “playthrough” of that adventure; although no such playthrough happened. I liked the idea and wanted to use a banshee as my supernatural creature of choice, given that the narrative takes place in October.
I did change quite a few things, and these changes reflected my intended focus for the story. I also set myself up for a challenging conclusion with the banshee being captured on social media that went viral and, as a result, endangering the life of the young girl who recorded her and of the banshee herself. But “The Banshee’s Tale” gave me the impetus to delve deeper into banshee lore and legends, which I haven’ looked into since I was a teenager. Through that, I found so many bits of county-specific legends, such as banshees turning into corvids, usually crows, when needed.
And The Adventures of Sam Hain series has a similar idea to the Uncaged series of adventures: retell the stories of monsters to humanize them. While I don’t tell the monsters’ stories through their words, generally speaking, I write them as humans. They have goals, fears, regrets, virtues, and vices. In Carmilla’s Ghost, I do use the vampire’s own words, both oral and written, to tell her story of love, loss, and guilt. And my protagonist, Samantha Hain, seeks to investigate the truth behind the story that has been told both by and about Carmilla since 1827 (as well as referencing La Fanu’s 1872 novella).
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? For our story to be heard as we tell it? For others to see our humanity and connect with it? That’s my ultimate goal as a writer. I want to spin a good yarn, but I also want to tell stories that allow us to see into the minds, the hearts, and the souls of “The Other”. Yes, I tend to use supernatural creatures, but my hope is that this will enable humans to see beyond the “otherness” of people from different walks of life, to see the common humanity, and to connect with that commonality.
What are your thoughts on inspiration and where do you get your inspiration?
My debut novel, Liam’s Doom, is on sale at all major and minor retail outlets from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Bookshop.org. I request that you support Bookshop.org, as their site supports local and independent bookstores. The eBook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through my webstore.
Also, you can find the first chapter of my serialized prequel novel Blood/Lust on my website. New chapters go live at noon each Sunday!