Guest Post: Steve McHugh: Author of ‘Crimes Against Magic’

Today I am delighted to welcome onto my blog a brand new and rather marvellous author I met through good old twitter. He recently published his rather gritty urban fantasy ‘Crimes Against Magic’ and, by all accounts (and judging by the reviews), he’s doing rather well. I read the prologue and chapters one and two on his blog and I was impressed enough to both pop his book on my amazon wishlist and immediately throw out an invitation to guest on my blog when I saw Steve start his promotional efforts. To my delight he accepted my invite, and so here we are!

So you can see for yourself how terrific this book is (not to mention how incredible the cover is!), here’s a little bit of info to nom on:

Crimes Against Magic

Blurb –

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France. It’s the first in a series of books called the Hellequin Chronicles, which shows the life of sorcerer Nathan (Nate) Garrett.

See what I mean? And if you want to check out the full impact of awesome, click the links to the prologue and first chapters, I guarantee you’ll want this book, and when you do, here’s where to find it:

Avaliable from :

Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Crimes-Against-Hellequin-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007YK01JY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336987416&sr=8-1

Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crimes-Against-Hellequin-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007YK01JY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339421687&sr=8-1

Paperback and Smashwords copies to be released at a later date.

Now, without further ado, here’s Steve with that guest post I was wittering on about. He’s talking here about his love of mythology, and the influence that love had on ‘Crimes Against Magic’. Take it away, Steve:

I Love Mythology

I love mythology. I find it fascinating, exciting, interesting and more than a little weird. And I don’t think I can emphasise that enough. Mythology is weird. Some more than others, but all of it deals with the fantastical and some of it feels like the random assortment of ideas that someone once wrote on a brainstorming session, and was found years later by someone else who thought it would make a great story.

I’ve always enjoyed mythology, ever since school, when we did work on the ancient Greeks and Romans, the idea that there were all these gods, goddesses and monsters that the people at the time believed in, was something I wanted to learn more about. To be fair, that whole time period was very interesting (mythology or otherwise), and it woke a love for learning more about these creatures of power who people prayed to or feared, sometimes in equal measure.

When the idea for Crimes Against Magic started to bounce around my head, I knew I wanted to use mythology. It was such an absolute certainty that I couldn’t envisage the story without it. First I had to think about what mythology to use, which became quite hard work. A lot of writers only use Greek mythology in their novels and I wanted to do something different.

The solution was fairly simple in the end. I decided that all mythology was real, or at least that the characters were real. Okay, there were some, like Roman and Greek, which I decided were basically the same people who had changed their names so as to still hold onto that power that they’d enjoyed for so long, but for the most part the mythological characters were all going to be real.

I’d decided that in book 1, so as to not confuse people with a mass of different names, that only ancient Greek and British mythology would be used. I plan on introducing the rest during the series, but I wanted to keep it simple in the beginning. Then I came to another problem. Most of the stories are insane.

Zeus seducing people in various animal guises, people having sex with their sisters/brothers/parents/various other weird stuff and that doesn’t even start on those born from someone else’s head or bones or such. I wanted to ground these stories in reality, I planned on using magic in the story, but the magic I wanted to use was much less all other the place than what is used in the original myths, where what they can do appears to change depending on what the situation is.

So I came to a realisation that to get around that I had to give each of these characters a basis in my created world. After a lot of playing around, I thought I’d come up with good (and in many cases, obvious) ideas. Merlin was a sorcerer, Hades a necromancer, things along those lines.

That only left me with the problem of the stories themselves. Some of the main characters don’t exactly come across as sympathetic; the myths regularly had the characters kidnap, rape, murder and act like spoilt children on a number of occasions.

So, the presidential elections of 2008 to the rescue, I came up with an idea. Propaganda. They didn’t have TV back then, they had stories and rumours passed from one person to the next. I decided that those myths, although they would have truth somewhere inside it, were twisted rumours used against someone. So instead of Hades kidnapping Persephone and taking her as his wife against her will, I changed it to Demeter (Persephone’s mum) made the story up because she was so angry that her daughter had run off with a necromancer.

It was endless fun (and still is) to make changes to the stories so that they fitted the viewpoint of the person telling them. (I mean, basically they were propaganda anyway, told by people to make their gods sound more impressive, and other gods sound less… well, godly.).

That’s why I love mythology so much. Despite the stories we all know, there’s so much leeway to interpret them, much like people have been doing ever since they were created and told for the first time.

And that, Steve, is what I love about writing in general, the license to re-interpret our world, present it at an oblique angle, allowing for it to be seen in a totally unexpected light that may or may not give people new insight into the world we so very often wander through half-asleep. Huge thanks to Steve for stopping by my blog and giving us this fascinating peek into the mythology behind his novel, which by the way is the first in a series! You can find out more about Steve and keep tabs on him at these varying locales:

Blog: http://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevejMchugh

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819903.Steve_McHugh

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hiddenrealmspublishing

Do go stalk him, he’s a lovely chap and a great new talent!

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Steve McHugh: Author of ‘Crimes Against Magic’

  1. Hi, Steve, (another Steve here )

    Now that sounds like the right way to use mythology 🙂 I’m partial to just making up gods to avoid all the craziness, but I wish I’d thought of the propaganda angle — I do differentiate between the stories and the reality of course, because as you say… it’s freaking crazy.
    “I will eat all your male children lest one grow up to overthrow me.”
    “Okay, here, have this stone.”
    “Nom Nom Nom tastes like male child to me.”
    Sigh “Men” Rolls eyes, whispers. “Do us a favour, son, kill this idiot, he’s getting on my tits.”

    Great blurb for the book and fantastic cover.

    1. Hi Steve (i seem to meet more Steve’s every day, but it’s a great name so I don’t mind. 🙂 )

      Mythology is insane, it’s all over the place and a lot of it contradicts other parts. It’s all a lot to get your head round.

      I actually plan on using Cronus in a future book. Although, probably not in the way the myth represents him.

      Eamon O’Donoghue did the cover, and he did an amazing job. I can basically manage stick figures in my art, so I’m grateful he agreed to do the work for me. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words.

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