The ebook version of Maahes is live, so it’s time to explain how Maahes was born. I have to say, it was not an easy birth; the pregnancy was a little overdue and had several false starts.
I was working on extending a short story for my Lies series when the concept for the Malicious Gods collection came up, and the dark MM mafia theme seemed to fit.
It didn’t, not at all. I ended up with a mouthy poker player being kidnapped by a member of the crime group with a Maahes worshiping sidekick. With every word, the Egyptian god theme sank further from view, so at the end of December, I started again. The poker player story may appear at a later date, but without the Maahes worshiping sidekick.
Then one of my favorite characters, Chris from Paint, stuck his hand in the air and demanded to play. Unfortunately, he refused to stay a minor character, so although his situation partly inspired the reason for the Meet Cute in Maahes, that was where his influence ended.
Eventually, I bit the bullet. These characters wanted to be separate, so I unshackled them and let them be free! It seems like the third try really is the charm!
1. What made you choose the god you did?
He’s a CAT god, isn’t that enough?
I’ve always found the Egyptian obsession with cats fascinating (I’m a cat person), but I’d only heard of the Goddess Bastet, but apparently, she has a son. Win-win for me!
2. What do you know about that god?
A god of justice, he punished the evil and protected the innocent. His title ‘Wielder of the Knife’ led to Lev’s obsession with balisongs.
My research showed that they used to keep lions at Bastet and Maahes’ temple at Bubastis, so lion keeping became part of the mix.
3. Which other god (if any) did you consider and why?
Maahes has a brother, Nefertum, who is an altogether gentler God, even though he also has the head of a cat/lion. I did consider him, but he didn’t fit the dark assassin cult plot knocking on the inside of my head. I may play with him at a later date.
4. What made you get involved in this series?
It’s something the mighty Nero Seal and I cooked up together after I’d been in two other successful collections, Criminal Delights and Grim and Sinister Delights. The Gods’ theme was 100% his idea.
5. How did you decide if it will be a HEA or not?
The characters decide. I’m a ‘by the seat of my pants’ writer, which often means events don’t always turn out how I first imagined them.
6. Are you done with the story? Or will it have a continuation?
7. Would you like to write about any other gods? If so, who, and why?
Loki, because…. Loki?
Eros from Greek mythology. I’ve already played with the concept a little in my Incubus series. The main character is Ezra Erotes. Erotes was a brother of Eros.
8. What’s a secret that you can share about your story?
Watch out for the clicker.
9. Primal kink is a big part of the book. It’s a very unusual choice. What’s your history with it? What attracts you the most in it? Why primal play, and when did you realize it was exactly what you need for this book?
I 100% guarantee that I didn’t get the idea watching gay porn. Well…. that’s a lie, but in my defense, it was RESEARCH. I’m allowed. I’m a writer. So, it turns out that some people like hunting and subduing a sexual partner, proving they are stronger. Some people go all out, pretend to be animals, but both partners are animals, not just the submissive partner as in puppy play. But I didn’t want to get that kinky with this story; it was meant to be DARK – tricky when wearing fluffy ears and pretend paws.
I needed a reason for Zivan to be very familiar and ok with fighting, and I knew the British traveler community resolve disputes with organized fights, so Zivan became a gypsy who enjoyed fighting for more than one reason.
10. Zivan is such an interesting character. His reluctance to get involved with the real world is so vivid. His unapologetic hedonism, selfish drive for sex and pleasure, even singlemindedness in a way both fascinating and real. It must have been not easy to write a character who is so true to his nature. What made you commit to writing such a character?
Zivan was a lot of fun to write, but he came after Lev’s character. I needed a foil to Lev’s devout following the strict rules of his religion, a clash of cultures that would be seemingly unresolvable. You’ll have to let me know how I did.
11. Authors learn from their books as much as readers. What has this book taught you?
Not to try to force characters into molds they don’t want to fit. Once I accepted that these characters didn’t want to play in an existing world, it got far easier.
12. What was the most challenging part of writing Maahes?
Apart from the two false starts? The fight scenes. To keep the pacing going, I have to resist the impulse to add too many thoughts. I find that tricky.