Today Wannabe Pride welcomes author Kayla Jameth!Kayla Jameth grew up on the family farm in Ohio. An unrepentant tomboy, she baled hay and raised cattle, and her father taught her to weld before she graduated from high school. She attended Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and later, Texas A&M University in her pursuit of veterinary medicine, taking her far away from her rural roots. But it wasn’t all hard work for her, her sojourn as the princess of the Celestial Kingdom left her with the title “Sir” and a costume closet the envy of many knights, lords, and ladies. After declaring for years that she was not an author, Kayla now finds herself writing m/m erotic romance outside of Houston, Texas. While you can take the girl out of the country, you can’t turn her into a city slicker. Kayla would still rather be outside getting down and dirty with the boys. She shares a full house with her favorite animals: a cat, two guinea pigs, a gerbil, three guppies, as well as her husband, son, and daughter.
Probably the single most common question I’m asked is: What made you write about ancient Greece? In college, I minored in Classical History, but my love of the ancient goes back even further than that. As a child, I enjoyed the sermons about the historical figures in the Bible and this translated into an interest in the civilizations of the past. The more mysterious the better.
I am probably one of the few people who have owned a copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology since their early teens. I read about Paris and the beauty contest between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, and counted him a fool for his choice. Athena made the best offer to my way of thinking.
I didn’t limit myself to the Greco-Roman myths. Egyptian and Norse epics were fair game as well. And more recently, Babylonian tales have made their appearance. There was something magical in listening to my professor read the Iliad in the language it was written, his voice ringing with the power of the words.
I also still love fairy tales, which are more or less an extension of the tradition of mythic tales. Because of this, I have a pretty firm base on which to build my world. My Apollo’s Men series takes place in the world that the ancient Greeks believed they lived in. A world
not unlike the epic tales that Homer spoke of, filled with deities and daemons (any of the lesser beings,NOT demons).
In researching the details that bring my world to life, Google is my friend. I often start with Wikipedia for basic details and to find other terms to explore. Google books will give you a look inside many scholarly works. Plus excerpts or even the full text of scholarly journal articles can be accessed through several sites.
There are numerous ancient Greek and Spartan reenactment societies that are also great resources. Anything from how to make your own authentic gear to what to expect an ancient Greek to own. And more importantly, what he wouldn’t have. I also use an online etymology site to see if a word is suitably ancient or can trace its roots back to a Greek word before I use it in the document. There are days when I wish I could use any word I wanted, but I can’t use things like “piece de resistance”. And just try to come up with the equivalent to “shit” and “damn” etc. without using the same old tired “By Zeus!” It’s especially frustrating as the Greeks would have actually said the Greek word for some of it, but the readers act like cussing is a modern construct. There’s nothing new under the sun. Some of the contemporaneous comedies were especially vulgar: lots of potty humor and scandalous discussions of sex in the crassest words imaginable.
Unfortunately, I can’t always find a source for certain details. Some things were just too commonplace for any of the ancient authors to waste time on. Even archeology sometimes lets me down. If I can’t find proof of something, I either find a way around it or go with what was common in that time and general locale.
Sparta has been a particular challenge, as the city-state often refused to conform with the other Greek poleis. In addition, the Spartans were laconic by definition and only committed to writing the really important stuff, leaving everything else unsaid. This is further complicated by all the bad press Sparta received from the city-states that were in conflict with her, especially the Athenians who were very vocal.
So writing about that era has been a challenge, but one I have thoroughly enjoyed.
The Apollo’s Men series:
Body Language(free download on Smashwords)
496 BC (in the Lust in Time anthology)
A Spartan Love