Willis delivers another page-turner in the Cedric series with Romasanta's story. I was a bit ambivalent about this character in book one, but reading his journey has endeared him to me quite effectively. Romasanta is such a complex character and my heart broke for him. He's full of self-hatred and oh, so flawed, but I couldn't help loving him in spite of those flaws - or maybe because of them?
It is impossible to explain everything that I found wonderful about this book without spoilers, so I'll just say that, once again, Willis has created a world of fantasy and legend that I absolutely couldn't put down.
From the Author
I wish to share my inspirations for writing this story. This willexplain a lot on how I came about creating these amazing ideas, characters, creatures,and events as a fictional work with heavy fantasy and romance elements in themix. If one really wanted to drag out all its genres, I could label this ahistorical fiction, mythology, or even occult and paranormal. So far, FantasyRomance has done this work the most justice for my readers' expectations.
Historical fiction can be applied to several parts throughout theseries, whether it's a scene, event, or even a reflection of a character andtheir on-goings. What do I mean by this? Well a lot of you might get theVladimir Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler references, but it dove deeper than that.King Frederic was the First King of Germans, the lepers in those times didindeed have to ring bells and seek refuge in colonies, Cerdanya was a realtrade town, and so on. There are a ton of subtle hints here and there because Iwanted to bring the unseen, untold side of the history during Medieval Times toa tangible state.
As far as the Mythology side of this series, I wanted to teachyou all my version of forgotten lores, legends, and mythology. I did my best tonot use anything that was newer than the 12th Century as I dug deep.Some of the concepts weaved in with my own perception was hard to obtain andjustify. There was a lot of book buying, digging through a Medieval-agebestiary, and though I scoured the internet, it failed me often in my journey forresearch. As I created and developed each character, I did my best to tie theminto one or more myths so that I may weave a wondrous story without limits. Atthe same time, I wanted some of you to get caught in a conversation or sittingin class and have that moment of, "Oh! Iknow how this myth goes!"
Let me enlighten you all on some of the tales, history, legendsand myths stitched into some of these amazing characters you have experiencedso far:
Cedric takes after a very forgotten and neglected epic legendfrom Medieval Times of the Russian Knight Hero, Ilya Muromets. Search him,check it out and feel free to compare what you unknowingly learned about thisamazing legend. You'll be excited to see a red haired knight on a black horseas one of the images in the mix. Included in this was some really obscure Romanianbeliefs involving early vampire-like stories. The off-shoots involving thestrigoi showed less of fear towards these vampire creatures, but held a tone ofsorrow and remorse. People who became these creatures had not finished living theirlives (Including not ever getting married) and met the insane stipulations tocome back as one of the undying. Truly interesting, and I can only hope tocapture that same empathetic tone I had discovered in my digging.
Barushka combines a few tales as well, starting with his namedrawn from the Russian Knight Hero tales. Other than that, I focused heavily onthe Shag Foal lores. I was intrigued by the first few variants I stumbled onand found that the internet proved void of information. Amazingly, the hairyphantom horse tales started so long ago, there was no exact date as to whenthey began. The folklore was mysteriously always there. Adding to my wonderabout this lore was the fact I stumbled on a 1927 Naturalist journal thatdevoted a section to them. Even this far forward, it was believed it may be anundiscovered species of horse! Despite that, the one thing I saw reflected inall the writing was that a shag foal approaches lone travelers and scares them so much that they run off totheir deaths. Never once did the research say the horse actively killedsomeone.
Morrighan, Badbh, and Nemaine were derived from the talesinvolving the evil sorcerer Calatin. This was the older tale involving themthat did not mix the three as one entity. There are no words to describe myfrustration and disappointment at how many times that Badbh and Nemaine werelabeled as alternative names for Morrighan. Especially when the story of theLegendary Cuchulainn made it clear that they were three sisters each withunique powers. Seeing that Badbh and Morrighan had earned the title of Goddessat some point through the passing of time, I felt the need to give Nemaine herown placement as a Goddess as well.
Romasanta is the most complex of all my characters. His name istaken from a man in history that is not as common as it once was, Manuel Blanco Romasanta. He was thefirst serial killer to be trailed and as you read book two of The Cedric Series you will see a lot ofthat history drawn upon. Feeding off the tragic aura, I pulled in both werewolfand wolf-related myths and lores, wanting to show a more accurate flow througha single entity. It was my intentions to bring in familiar aspects and add inthe historically forgotten complications that modern book culture has failed totake into account. Those well-versed in mythology will be able to pick outelements on their own, but the amount of lore here is wide. Tales of Apollo andDaphne, Pan and Pitip, Fenrir, versipellis, Romanian beliefs of vampires werecaused by a werewolf, Wolf of the Cemetery from Haiti, Romulus and Remus, andso on. There are deep seeds that I only give you teasers to the mythology thatis mentioned here.
As for the monsters, you can say thank you to the MedievalBestiaries. There are so many wild and crazy creatures in these that are nolonger touched that I wanted to bring them to life again. Orms, Jidra, andAitvaras were a few of the frightening things that travelers spoke of andwarned each other about in their explorations. I can only imagine what they mayhave been based on, but there is a great sense of pride I take in includingsuch monsters into my story. Granted, I have not followed their descriptionsexactly and have embellished them with my own imagination, but I hope they makemy stories more memorable.
In the end, I encourage my thirsty readers to explore what you'veread in my The Cedric Series. Searchthe names, look deeper in the scenes, places, events and discover these in moredetail. My goal is to introduce you to the forgotten lores and history whileadding my own perspective and imagination into the mix. May this tale make itsmark in your heart and open your world to the legacy our ancestors once talkedabout over the dinner table so long ago!
Happy reading and discovery!