So if you’re feeling like your reading life is missing a little bit of the Library of Alexandria and some Egyptian mythology then you need to read author Jodi Baker’s Between the Lions series. And if you still find yourself hesitating, then here’s Jodi shareing why she wrote her series, and her love of mythology — with the kick ass heroines we should totally be learning more about…
Once upon a time I decided to write an epic, eight book, young adult series that was a modernized retelling of an ancient myth about an ancient Goddess no one had ever heard of.
The question I get asked the most is: Why?
The richest place to find creative inspiration is in mythology. All of our stories spring from that well, and there’s a reason those tales have been around for millennia. Mythology is not only jam-packed with romance, magic, and action, it also serves as a metaphorical self-help guide, doling out rules for the life road in matters of morality, managing power, dealing with obstacles, facing fears, and most importantly, how to create a way out of no way.
Joseph Campbell infamously introduced the concept of a ‘Hero’s Journey’ after he researched myths in an attempt to find a “The Story Map” that all cultures share. Unfortunately, as many have pointed out, his map left out half the population. In the Hero’s Journey, there are no Heroines; women are relegated to relatively dimensionless roles.
I really wanted to create a female protagonist with interesting contradictions and unexpected powers that readers could excitedly follow as she became a Kick Ass Heroine…even if I had to create a new map to do it. But when I looked a little further, asked a few questions, and followed some clues, I discovered that, just around a few dusty library corners, waiting on the shelf with open arms, was an amazing group of kick ass mythological heroines who had been forgotten, or overlooked.
Wonder Woman isn’t the only kick ass heroine we’ve got. Extraordinary female characters are actually littered throughout mythology. I got to spend years researching – luxuriating in, really – legends from mythology’s – and history’s – most powerful women. Similar thematic veins as the Hero’s Journey, but with striking contrasts of less familiar, but just as, if not more powerful points of view offered a treasure trove of stories to choose from.
The Greek and Roman Pantheons are the most familiar to our western ears, and yet, they are actually just the tip of the mythological iceberg! Mining the Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Norse, and Sumerian tales, I struck storyteller gold.
I hoped that, through my writing, I could help re-introduce the story of the least famous, most powerful Goddess that was ever worshipped in the ancient world, to modern women across the globe.
The battles of self-empowerment she faced are similar to those many women are fighting for with today. She has invited me to explore the ancient divine feminine mythological story map – and yes, it exists! I’ve plundered and re-woven the divine threads of her story. In my Between Lions Series, I’ve created a modern day version of both her and her circumstances, and then placed that teenaged, female character in a city of cement and steel, which we know as the skyscraping, high tech New York City. My kick ass heroine is on the run from mythological monsters, liars, and voices in her head; she’s following that ancient feminist map to find a way out of no way.
It’s no accident that the first book is called TRUST, as I was taking a big leap of faith. I’m grateful and thrilled that TRUST, and now the newly released second book, TRUTH, are both being excitedly devoured by women of all ages.
I talk to a lot of aspiring women writers, and the most helpful advice I can give them is to look a little further, ask a few more questions, and to follow the clues around the dusty library corners.
You never know what, or who, is waiting for you.
Yup, you’re going to have to read the Between Lions series to find out more about Jodi’s heroine! Until then, check out the trailers on Jodi’s blog! And here is her series in Australia!!
What do you think of the Between Lions series? What’s your favourite mythology to read about?