I was born and raised in the Gold Rush Country of California, at the tag-ends of that era, when the old miners would bend elbows at the Stage Driver's Retreat, stroke their long white beards, and tell tall tales of Joaquin Murietta, Three Fingered Jack and the Battle of Sawmill Flat where my house stood. I'd sit on the brass rail between the worn boots and listen to the stories drift by on the cigarette smoke.The country was wild, beautiful and strewn with the remnants and ruins of gold fever, rattlesnakes and abandoned mines. History and stories were always in my life and a source of joyous, imaginative exploration. I'd pass the hot summer days with a freezer full of popsicles and a pile of faerie tale books from the library.
College in Berkeley from 1968-72 was like being thrown into a cold river; startling, shocking and invigorating. Everything was challenging: the studies that introduced me to Anthropology and the Classics. My fascination with faerie tales evolved to embrace mythology and multiple spiritual traditions. I was deep in an intellectual soup of ethnic studies, anti-war protests, the fledgling feminist movement, hippies, rock 'n' roll and civil rights. It was heaven. The stories came thick and fast from all directions and history was being made in front of my eyes every day.
I eventually moved to Portland, Oregon and married a local boy, a teacher of Anthropology, of course. I became captivated with the labyrinth as a symbol and began to research it, wondering why nice Episcopalian ladies were walking them as a meditation while the myth told of a cannibalistic monster, the Minotaur, at the center who would eat you. I discovered along the way that there was an international organization, The Labyrinth Society, that became a source of inspiration, resources and new friends. The history and the mythology of the labyrinth archetype captivated me and my research led to writing a book entitled "Dancing With Death: The Origins of the Labyrinth in the Paleolithic," that sought to position the origin of the labyrinth within the context of the first modern humans who were compelled to paint deep in the labyrinthine caves of Europe. The metaphors of challenging journey, of discovery, and of confronting spiritual challenges remains, at bottom, the same and uniquely human.
We have two children and a grandchild. I originally wrote a version of the Melusine story for my children in the '90s and was enticed to dust it off when I learned about Smashwords. Inspired to rewrite it, I was no longer fettered to the idea of making it PG 13 so it transformed into a much darker and more complex story. And, of course, it has a labyrinth at its heart; the most perfect of metaphors for such a journey of self-discovery as that thrust on my hero, Geoffrey, who attempts to be one kind of hero but discovers he is of a different sort altogether.
Writing "The Labyrinth of Melusine" has been a delight for many reasons. After the deep research required for my first book, also a labor of love, it was so liberating, as Ursula LeGuinn puts it, to 'just make stuff up.' When not writing the second book in what I hope to be a three-book series, I tend my flower garden and work as a voiceover talent. Should you come to Portland and ride the public transit train, the Max, that's me telling you where to get off. Perhaps one day, given the time and discipline, I'll record "The Labyrinth of Melusine" as an audiobook.
It has been great fun to gather the stories, the mythology, the characters, the language, the complexities, joys and heartbreak of life and have them find a metaphorical home in "Melusine." I hope you enjoy it half as much as I have.