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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leah Cypess on Celtic Myth

I'm a big fan of all the tropes of fantasy, many of which come from various types of mythology. My first book, Mistwood, is about a shapeshifter - a concept that has always fascinated me. How cool would it be to be able to change into any animal you wanted? On the other hand, how awful would it be, for such a creature, to be trapped in only one type of body? Would it make it better or worse if that body was a human body?

On my website, I've collected a list of books about shapeshifters - http://www.leahcypess.com/shapeshifter/. But the book that probably most influenced Mistwood is not on that list, because it's not technically a shapeshifter book. It's The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, about a unicorn who sets out on a quest to find out what happened to the rest of her kind. I'm not going to say more, because explaining how this book influenced Mistwood would be a bit of a spoiler for The Last Unicorn, and I think everyone should read it - it's a thoroughly original story that reads like the best type of fairy-tale. (Full disclosure: I was introduced to this book through the movie version, which is also awesome.)

My second book, Nightspell, is about ghosts -- this time, a trope I find more frightening than fascinating. Back when I read the classic ghost book Wait Till Helen Comes, I couldn't even fall asleep until I had gotten the book physically out of my bedroom. But I'm also a fan of mysteries, and the idea of ghosts trying to solve their own murders - not a new idea, certainly! - has an intrinsic appeal to me. My attempt to write in that genre turned into a high fantasy about a
kingdom where ghosts coexist uneasily with the living, but it has its roots in a combination of all the murder mysteries and ghost stories I read when I was younger.

What's next? Well, my secret goal is to play with every fantasy trope in existence, so hopefully there are a lot more mythological creatures in my writing future!

Leah Cypess is the author of Mistwood and the upcoming novel, Nightspell. Visit her HERE!


Vivien said...

It doesn't surprise me that she likes to blend fantasy and mythology.

In Julie's Opinion said...

I love shape shifter stories and I really love ghost stories, so I know I will love your books! Thanks for a great guest post :)

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