Tuesday 10 September 2013

Twisting the Myths, from Werewolves to Mermen by Suzanne Johnson

To celebrate the publication of Elysian Fields, the third instalment of Sentinel of New Orleans series, I am pleased to welcome the lovely author, Suzanne Johnson on the blog to talk about twisting the myths.
I remember hearing the term loup-garou not long after moving to Louisiana. It’s French for “werewolf,” of course, and Louisiana was a French colony not once, but twice. So the legends of the loup-garou (also called “rougarou” or “roux-ga-roux”) date back to the land’s settlement.
My Sentinels of New Orleans series is heavily tied to South Louisiana culture, so I’ve had fun playing around with some of the local legends as well as giving local spins to paranormal species. 
My loup-garou, aka the Garou, are werewolves that are believed to be cursed, and the curse can spread virally (i.e., one does not want to even be scratched by a Garou). They shun the pack structure of werewolves, can shift at will, and have notoriously poor self-control—as my heroine DJ learns all too well in the newest book, Elysian Fields.
Coastal Louisiana has more water than land, so it made sense to me that the water species—nymphs, naiads and merfolk—would have a presence there. But the idea of mermaids sunning themselves on the rocky shoreline didn’t appeal to me; they needed a Louisiana flair. So in the Sentinels series, merfolk are aquatic shape shifters that can shift fully into big fish or partially into classic mer form. They’re born, not made, so one doesn’t have to fear a fish bite! They’re also mostly of Acadian descent, or as they’re now called, Cajuns. They mainstream well with unsuspecting humans and often work in the commercial fishing industry (which seems a bit cannibalistic now that I think about it). 
Finally, in a way to honour the rich history of New Orleans, the series features the Historical Undead—famous (albeit deceased) humans given immortality in the world Beyond through the magic of human memory. The more they’re remembered, the stronger they become until someone like the early 19th-century pirate Jean Lafitte can stay in the modern world indefinitely...and does. It’s also allowed me to bring back famous New Orleanians such as jazz great Louis Armstrong and voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. 
In the process of twisting the myths, I hope to honour a city and a culture and share the place I call home.
Elysian Fields was published on the 15th of August by Headline.
Book Summary
An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third instalment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series
The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.
New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.
Combatting an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiralling downward, enigmatic neighbour Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big manoeuvres are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.
Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

If you haven’t even started this series, then here are the first two books for you to find and read.
To find out more about Suzanne Johnson:

1 comment:

  1. you did manage to spread the love for the city of New Orleans ^^ i'm curious as how many person will be visit it it just to see all you described so well and made us want to see or try


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