Interview with Lauren Lee Merewether, Author of The Curse of Beauty
02 Mar 2022
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Curse of Beauty?
Since I’m a historical fiction author, I wanted to write a story of what could have actually happened in ancient history to inspire the myths spanning the generations of Greek titans and gods. The myths begin with Uranus and Gaia birthing the titans. Oceanus and Tethys beget gods/demi-gods intertwined with the children of Cronus and Rhea, and we get your monsters/creatures from Ceto and Phorchys.
So with that in mind, as I was trying to figure out when in history these events might have taken place if an event sparked the tale, I realized very early on in the generational hierarchy, some of these people (like half of the generations between Oceanus and Perseus) were Egyptian queens and kings. So when were Ancient Greeks crowned as Egyptian kings prior to 800 BC (which was when the Greek myths were first recorded by Hesiod)? The only time, that I’m aware of, in Egyptian history before 800 BC where Egypt was ruled by someone other than Egyptians was the Second Intermediate Period, whom the Egyptians called the Hekka Khasut (Hyksos), and if Mycenae was really founded by a man named Perseus in 1350 BC (which would be the correct dating if the Battle of Troy happened around 1200 BC per the archaeology reports) then counting back the generations from Perseus to Oceanus would put Oceanus around 1650 BC (which is right around the start of the Mycenaean age). Which by the way, also fits in with his mythological granddaughter becoming queen of Egypt around the first decades of the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt.
At this point, my mind was blown. But I wanted to write a story about Medusa… so how do I take a snake headed, killer-looking monstrous creature and make her a real person? And during this ancient time? I started researching the inhabitants of Greece at that time and the influences that academic books said they had found at the end of the Middle Helladic era in their excavations. Minoan influences (pre-Mycenaean) were prevalent. I researched hypothesized migration patterns of people of how Greece became populated. I decided that I would take the hypothesis that the Minoans might have been a matriarchal society to heart.
Since they have a goddess (or two) that is a snake goddess or a Mother Goddess and the Thracians also had a Mother Goddess as well as the original inhabitants from 3000 BC, then I would make the Peloponnese inhabitants the same. However, the Mycenaeans were a very patriarchal society where war and ferocity were embedded in their daily life with a supreme god, not goddess. Their entire societal construct seemed to be based on a military hierarchy. Anyway, taking all of that in, I came up with The Curse of Beauty.
You’ll have to read the “A Look into the Past” section in the back of the book for more reasons why and how I wrote the story in the way that I did because I hate spoilers and I don’t want to give away any here.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Curse of Beauty, what would they be?
Ooh.. This is a fun question. I have several main characters in this book—it’s a family saga. Let’s see, all of my characters are flawed and there is no black and white as I pose questions of morality in the story, but with that being said, I think these songs could be considered theme songs for each of these characters. Thais – Brighter Light Brigade – Kindness Is King Alexein – Randy Newman – You’ve Got a Friend in Me Inachus – Remy Zero – Save Me Gorgon – Skillet – Brave Oceanus – George Thorogood And The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone .
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I read everything short of erotic fiction and straight up horror. Sorry Stephen King. I write historical dramas that combine a multitude of genres because that’s what I love and honestly, I think it represents life better. I write real and raw emotion, questions and answers that I may ask one day or have already asked. I want stories that remind us of our humanity; so that’s what I write all wrapped up in neat little historical dramas.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
What’s not in my TBR pile? I think I have 200 TBR books on Goodreads. You are welcome to follow me and find out!
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
I always love writing the first scene and the last scene. I’m a circular storyline author, so I always try to make my first scene and last scene relate to each other and show the growth or the change from the journey.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I write with Brain.fm Cinematic Music Focus blaring in my SkullCrushers, and keep a cup of tea or coffee in one of my “author mugs” nearby. My mom and husband say I need to quit collecting them, but I hate to tell them, that’s probably not going to happen.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
I do, actually. It’s “Be the Example.” What I mean by that is if I want people to be kind, then I need to be kind. If I want my kids to grow up a certain way, then I need to be a certain way, etc. I need to be accountable for my goals, my setbacks, my actions, and my life. Because at the end of the day, at the end of my life, I will be the only person responsible for what I did and did not do and how it impacted those around me. Be the example.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Well originally, I wrote the book with this theme in mind: Be kind, especially to the unkind. You might just save someone . . . or not, but you will not have darkened your soul in the process.
But I write my books so that people in different walks of life will pull different themes to remember as it pertains to them. For example, my early readers pulled some of the book’s quotes as the main themes they remembered: “And as long as we live, there is a today and a tomorrow to strive for something greater.” “A person bitter on the past will lead a bitter life and have a bitter end.” “For as long as there is breath, hope is eternal.” “A strong person cries; a weak person pretends there is nothing in life worth the tears.” “Master fear else be slave to it.”
Lauren Lee Merewether is the author of the new book The Curse of Beauty
Connect with Lauren Lee MerewetherAuthor Site
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