• Keir Alekseii

Blending mythos

Updated: May 26, 2020

For this first world-building post, I'd like to talk a bit about Rakshasa Rising (working title). 

Like any fan, I've always wanted to see more of me in the books that I read. Me as in a brown-skin, Indian, Trinidadian, Caribbean, code-switching, Creole-talkin girl-child who does give back-chat and eh care bout lix.

And if you're Caribbean, den yuh undastand.

The "problem" wasn't that these characters didn't exist. There are fantastic Caribbean writers out there like Kevin Jared Hosein and Nalo Hopkinson who write great fiction with real and believable Caribbean people. The problem was that these books didn't fall into the realm of Urban Fantasy (my addiction) and therefore didn't scratch that UF itch. 

Well, easy solution. I just have to write it myself (duh!) and use Caribbean/Trinidadian myth. No writing about the Sidhe or Unseelie fae for me!

But it's never that simple. Why? Well, to complicate matters for my burgeoning UF world, 90+% of Caribbean mythology/folklore has roots in the African continent, in Europe, or is born of some blend between the two. So, where did that leave little Indian girls like me? I didn't think it would be plausible for an Indo-Caribbean protagonist to have the powers of a predominantly African folkloric character. 

The solution, for me, was a mixed-child protag. After all, I'm a mixed girl (even if I eh look it), and I'm fairly certain most of the country is mixed, too: we doh say we is a callaloo people for nothin.

Problem solved! Right? I wish, eh... 

Here're the questions that stopped me in my tracks: If this protag were a mixed girl, and her power came from one part of the family tree (the Afro-part), what powers or special abilities would she inherit from the other parts? If I ignored the myth on the other side, would this be a denial of the rest of her heritage? 

After a slight panic, I decided the answer was yes. If I ignored the influence of dougla-protag's Indian heritage, then I would be ignoring her Indian heritage, periodt.

That was the last thing I wanted to do. Why write a whole Indian girl and then ignore she Indian-ness? Nah.

So, now what? Well, the next question saved me: what happens if, in a callaloo country, the callaloo people had callaloo powers? 

And the answer to that, my friends, was how Maddie, her family, and the whole world of Rakshasa Rising were born.

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