Kate Monroe is one of the authors featured in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity. We asked Kate to tell us what inspired her to write Voices, her contribution to the anthology and this is what she shared with us –
The Inspiration Behind Voices
When we first settled upon the title and topic for this anthology, I really struggled to pin down a subject to write about. So many brilliant submissions came flying in, confirming my initial thoughts that we would receive a dazzlingly broad spectrum of stories. But with the impossibly wide range of mythology that has been crafted over the millennia, how could I possibly choose just one to devote my own story to? I went back to my roots and called upon the legends of the Celts for inspiration, and I found Maeve.
The world that the ancient Celts inhabited was one of mysticism and glory, of wars and bloodshed woven together by an unshakeable belief in a myriad of gods that have today paled into insignificance. Where once faith was a second nature, religion is no longer a way of life for the majority. Atheism is prevalent, and cynicism reigns supreme. What place is there in this modern world for the myths and legends of old?
Voices is about precisely that – about a woman once revered as a god who now finds herself forced to carve out a place for herself in a world she no longer recognises. Maeve’s past saw her adored and revered, secure in the hearts of the Irish people and taking all the sustenance she needed from life’s battles; both everyday and more far-reaching.
But nothing stays the same forever. The small settlings that were once so easy to control expanded and spread. The Irish people did not stay in their homeland, and even those who remained were changed by first the Industrial and then the technological revolutions. Where once their faith in their gods was the only constant in their lives, the gods slowly became relegated instead to dubious, whispered tales of old that were dismissed with barely a second thought.
As I read more and more about the Celtic legends I had so loved to hear as a child, I could not help but wonder; what does a goddess do when her people no longer need her – or even believe in her? And from that musing, Voices was born.
Without a doubt, this is the short story I most enjoyed writing despite the difficulties with its conception. I’ve always felt a strong affinity with strong female characters; of all the myths that I was taught as a child, I was without exception most drawn to the ones that featured a woman at their core. Celtic and Anglo-Saxon tales in particular satisfied this craving; I still have a fascination for the tales of King Arthur’s court and the machinations of Nimue and Morgan le Fay. They, though, have been overused in modern literature, so it was to the lesser-known stories of the Ulster Cycle that I turned. The character that became Maeve immediately came to the fore – and the more I learned about her, the more convinced I was that she was the one that my story could grow around.
I hope that Voices in its own small way pays tribute to the tales that once underpinned a civilisation. Though that unquestioning faith that then sustained them is no longer a part of our society, I firmly believe that they still have a place, and I’d urge you all to absorb all the stories that Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity and then take a moment to wonder – what if, like Maeve, those legends are still tenaciously clinging on? Maybe all that’s needed to preserve them is the belief of just one person…
Explore the twelve tales of horror and intrigue in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity and ask yourself, what would you consider a fair price to pay for life immortal… or the chance of life at all?
Would a young woman pass up a shiny bauble if she believed it to be nothing more than a harmless trinket? What transpires once a year in a peaceful and remote village that no one will ever speak of? What better way for a broken man to honor a crippled existence than with a memorial of blood and vengeance? How could a disfigured woman ever dream of chancing across an object that would restore her beauty – and at what cost?
Follow the twists and turns of each writer as they delve into the legends of days gone by, as well as the consequences that are wrought when myths and monstrosities collide with our world.
Contributing Authors include:
Thomas James Brown, Nina D’Arcangela, K. Trap Jones, Amber Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Edward Lorn, Alexa Muir, Kate Monroe, Joseph A. Pinto, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Julianne Snow, and Jonathan Templar
Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity is available in print and digital forms from these fine retailers:
Voices is a tale of a woman who was once revered as a God but has found herself a new place in modern society. Here is a longer look at Kate’s contribution to Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity –
At some point in time, everyone knows how it feels to be alone in a crowded room. For Maeve Regan, that feeling was her constant and relentless companion.
She didn’t belong here.
Hell, Maeve wasn’t even her name. Even that didn’t belong to her. She feared that nothing did, not any more.
No one believed in the gods of old. Maeve blamed the internet for the birth of the new wave of cynicism that had pervaded throughout the world she restlessly roamed. No one accepted anything at face value these days.
Magic was once widely acknowledged and respected; witches and warlocks were a common feature of every village that she cast her net over. Now it was no more than a child’s fairytale and literary escapism for those who quietly rebelled against the skepticism of the twenty first century. Even the lore of old was dismissed as old wives’ tales and uninformed mumbo-jumbo. What chance did the gods stand when to almost everyone they were intangible, inexplicable; and, in the truest sense of the word, incredible?
Maeve, though – or the being that wore the name of Maeve Regan – was a goddess. She had reveled, once, secure and resplendent in the soothing embrace of unfailing belief in who she was and what she stood for. Entire armies would fall at her feet and sing her praises, lifting their voices to the heavens in exaltation and fear. Oh, yes; fear! She shuddered in delight as she allowed herself a moment’s somber recollection.
Now, though, most people did not even bat an eyelid when she walked past them. In America, Maeve was no more than one amongst millions. It galled deeply, but at least she had all she needed to thrive upon from…other quarters, she supposed it could be said. She had taken a more direct route to get what she needed.
She had been forced to adapt to carve out her own place in this brave new world. Unlike many of her past companions, Maeve did not need belief to sustain her – all she needed was bloodshed and carnage. Belief was a luxury. Death was a necessity. That wonder was in as good supply now as it had been in the days of glories past.
Humanity hadn’t changed all that much.
She bowed her head and willed herself to blend into the background of the circular room that had been her favored dominion over the past century; designed by an Irishman, no less. Today, she did not want to be noticed – and so she was not. It was far simpler to do her work this way, to allow her influence to weave into the subconscious minds of those she sought to manipulate.
If you’d like to find more works by Kate, you can find links for them on her blog.