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The Teacher Who Made the Threads of the Moirae Possible

For the release of Hunted Fate, I was asked to write some blog posts for bloggers to use during the release tour. (So you may have seen these somewhere already.) However, I thought it would be useful to put them on my own blog, as well, so readers could see some of the inspirations behind the books. Here’s the first one.

Now that I’m celebrating the publication of Hunted Fate, the third book in the Threads of the Moirae series, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. It’s true that writers owe a great debt to many people. Most of us received encouragement from parents, teachers, librarians, family, and friends. Many kind people mentored us, encouraged us to enter contests, or gave us a boost in a thousand other ways. All of those people guide an aspiring writer toward a professional career.

But often there is one person at the heart of a particular story, one person whose influence is stronger than any other. It may be a family member who told their tale and made you think, “That should be a book.” It may be a friend who said, “You’re really into [Subject X], you should write a book about it.” It may even be someone you don’t know but whom you see in passing and wonder, “What’s that life like?” Whoever it is and however it happens, that person is somehow responsible for your story.

In my case, for the Threads of the Moirae, that person was my English teacher, Mrs. Lapp. She was a fabulous teacher in many ways. Tough, but fair. She encouraged her students to read widely and she was the first teacher who openly encouraged us to read often-banned books and decide for ourselves whether book banning was right or wrong. She encouraged our writing and any student could count on her for feedback, ideas, and support.

(Not related to my books but to my writing career overall, she encouraged me to enter a local writing contest even though I didn’t think my work was worthy. I ended up winning. She was right and I was wrong and I learned that I am not always the best judge of anything.)

Anyway, part of her job was to teach the Greek mythology unit. At first I was only excited because the text, Mythology by Edith Hamilton, was much shorter than anything else we’d read that semester. (By the way, that classic is still in print if you want to buy it. I highly recommend it as a great introduction to not only Greek mythology, but also Roman and Norse legends.)

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The stories were interesting, but not anything that (at the time) I would have predicted would stick with me for years. What made it all click in my head was the way Mrs. Lapp presented the material.

She brought in slides of Greek ruins and art depicting the gods and goddesses. We watched¬†Clash of the Titans (the original movie, not the awful remake). She allowed the class to go off topic and discuss religion, cultural depictions of birth and death, and a hundred other things tangentially related gods and goddesses. We brought in Greek food and bed sheets and had a toga party one day. We didn’t just write reports on the material, we picked our favorite gods and goddesses and presented our reports in character.

(I wish I could say I chose Atropos, but that would tie everything up a little too neatly. No, I chose Artemis, goddess of the hunt, largely because I wanted an excuse to bring my bow and arrow to school. That’s right. I was shooting archery long before the Hunger Games made it cool. And no, you’d never get away with bringing a bow and arrow to school these days. Ah, the good old days.)

In short, Mrs. Lapp made that unit fun. It was like she knew that mythology book would be the most engaging thing we’d read all year and she was determined to make the most of whatever interest she could drag out of us before Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky set in. She worked hard to make the material come alive.

So all these years later, Greek mythology still sticks with me. It’s lodged in my brain so tightly that at a family funeral, the idea of being the Death Fate in the modern world popped into my head and Broken Fate was born.

And speaking of Broken Fate, here’s an Easter egg for you, now that you’ve read this story. When Atropos and Alex first meet, it’s in Mrs. Lapp’s English class. That’s a little salute to the woman who made it all possible.

 

(Photos courtesy of Gellinger, Noupload)

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