I'm Marion Sipe and today I'm here (thank you, Cindy!) at Dreamer's Perch to talk about A Sign in Blood, my epic fantasy novel.
I always liked fantasy as a kid, but it was hard for me to define exactly what I was looking for when I went to find books. I grew up in Northern Kentucky—right across the river from Cincinnati—and mostly went to the libraries attached to my schools, with maybe a special trip to the "big" libraries every other week or so. My mother was a huge fan of science fiction and horror movies, but mostly read nonfiction. So, I didn't actually find the SF section of the bookstore for… Well, far too long, obviously!
So, I wound up reading a lot of mythology. Those were always easy for me to find and I devoured it all: from the startlingly human gods of the Greeks and Romans, to the orderly and rich deities of the Egyptians, to the primal and intense mythology of Babylonia and Assyria, and the complex and intricate pantheons of India. Not to mention a hundred others, simply because there isn't room in a single blog post! Those stories form a connected web of theme and symbolism, pulling from concepts that are uniquely human and yet vastly different in places simply because of the cultures who told them.
I grew up with those stories and I think it's influenced my writing a lot over the years.
I've always liked to play with the mythic themes, and that's where A Sign in Blood comes from, at least in part. It's about myth and legend, and the intersection they have with life. The way we see them differently from one culture to the next, and the way we use them in our cultures and daily rituals.
Chadri's life has always been linked with the mythology and religion of her peoples. Marked with two Godlines, she's always been considered different—and not in a good way. The Godlines are, she believes, the reason she's never been able to harness her power, reason she's always been set apart. Nathias' life has been affected in completely different ways by the Godline she bears. While Chadri's people see the Godlines as worrisome and possibly dangerous, Nathias' people see them as an obligation, requiring Nathias to serve at temple. Nathias never wanted to be a priestess. Especially not when it's the temples that keep the priests and military in power, and everyone else struggling.
Chadri and Nathias are often at odds with their cultures and their upbringings, and they're in a unique position to see events. They're both, in their own ways, outsiders among their own people, and yet having grown up with the cultures, they're insiders as well. I think this combination is one of the things that I loved about writing this book. I felt I could explore the mythology deeply because both these characters know it—intimately—but they are also able to step outside it, to see the world as a whole instead of seeing it solely through their own cultural lenses.
So, when they come into conflict with the religion- and mythology-fueled aspects of all the cultures—which happens quite a lot—they're able to see it in ways that others wouldn't, and from that to come up with solutions (or at least attempt solutions) that others can't. Whether or not they'll succeed…
Well, go grab a free copy of A Sign in Blood and find out!
To learn more about Marion Sipe, A Sign in Blood, or her other works, visit her blog: Visions and Revisions.
Thanks for the post today, Marion!