"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Romance...With a Little MYTH-Story!
Gellis has a varied educational background--a master's degree in biochemistry
and another in medieval literature--and working history: 10 years as
a research chemist, many years as a free-lance editor of scientific
manuscripts, and well over 30 years as a writer. She is married--to
the same man for over 50 years (no mean feat in these days)--and lives
in Lafayette, Indiana with her husband Charles and a lively Lakeland
terrier called Taffy. She has one child, Mark, who teaches Rhetoric
(a fancy name for expository writing) at Kettering University inMichigan.
Mark is married to Sandra and they have a lovely daughter, Elizabeth.
Roberta G: The main change I have noticed in the industry is that there are fewer and fewer publishers. Most of the publishing houses I worked for have been swallowed not only by the large conglomerates, but sort of merged together. Along with that is a far more accountant-type mind in dealing with books. The independent houses were more willing to take a chance on a new author and build that author's career as well as allowing authors to take a chance on new and different material. The merged houses want to sell books like shoes--a prepared package in a style for that season.
certain readers have changed. The editors certainly now purchase
PNR: At the dawn of a new millennium, what changes would you like to see in the next decade?
Roberta G: I haven't really got any answer for this at all. Naturally I'd like writers to get a bigger share of the pie and be able to publish and sell anything they want--but that's pie in the sky. I hope to see the very small presses grow a bit ... but not enough to make them a morsel for the huge conglomerates, and I'd like to see those all collapse and disgorge all the publishers they've swallowed to pursue their independent way again. More pie in the sky.
PNR: Before we get into the discussion of "Bull God", tell us about your recent e-book "Overstars Mail" for SWP. Why are more established authors turning to epublishing?
in the case of OVERSTARS MAIL, it was (laughably) just the
PNR: Bull God is your fourth mythological fantasy? What is the appeal to writing this type of story?
me the appeal started not with BULL GOD but with DAZZLING
my mythological fantasies try to put flesh on the bare bones we
largely the reason for BULL GOD. We know the Minotaur was born of Pasiphae.
She was a woman; she could not have borne the giant monster
he first worshipped and then confined to Daedalus's maze? Why did Dionysos
come to rescue Ariadne when she was left on Naxos by Theseus? Research
answered the question about Dionysos and Ariadne-she was his priestess.
But the other questions I answered myself.
PNR: There is definitely a romance in the story, though it develops over time. This is the story of Ariadne who grows from a girl to a woman, caught between two demi-gods. One who inspires her love and devotion, the other her compassion and pity. She is a priestess consecrated to the "god" Dionysus. What makes her special?
Roberta G: I can't say much beyond what appeared in BULL GOD. Ariadne was the seventh child, the third daughter of Pasiphae and Minos. The myth gave me a rather jaundiced view of Pasiphae. Research implied her older sisters were no longer resident in Knossos. Some play (I think; my research is no longer to hand and I'm too tired and lazy to look for the exact reference) speaks of the "marvelous dancing floor that Daedalus designed for Ariadne of the flowing locks." A seventh daughter with a younger sister dependent on her and a distant mother is not likely to be spoiled and is likely to have a strong sense of reponsibility. Of such clues and surmises, I built my heroine. That Dionysos, a "god" should treat her as if she were of importance to him (she who was important to no one, except possibly Phaedra, who was a lot like Pasiphae) would be enough to inspire love.
PNR: Tell us a bit about Dionysos. Why does he appear? Is he truly mad? What are Ariadne's feelings about his appearance?
appears (see above) because Ariadne is his priestess.
PNR: Ariadne's mother Queen Pasiphae is also affected by his appearance to her young daughter?
Roberta G: This is my invention based on my reading of Pasiphae's character and the myth of her courting of Poseidon. I decided that the in-flesh appearance of a god to her little-considered daughter made Pasiphae envious (perhaps jealous, too), and drove her to try to Call a more powerful god.
PNR: Dionysos has visions that frighten him because he cannot interpret them. It is clear early on the Ariadne has that gift. How is the vision connect to Ariadne's parents.
vision merely relates Minos' plea to Poseidon, the coming of the white
bull out of the sea, Minos' refusal to sacrifice the bull, and Poseidon's
punishment--mating with Pasiphae and breeding on her the Minotaur. Dionysos,
not being omniscient doesn't know these things and so the events, somewhat
distorted by his Vision, are completely incomprehensible to him. The
interpretation soothes him by showing him that these things are connected
PNR: A child is born to the queen with the head of a bull on a child's body. The queen wishes to proclaim him a new god, but Dionysos predicts he will be the curse of Knossos. He wishes for her to end the child's life. Is Ariadne conflicted by this?
Roberta G: Yes, very much so. She only sees the Minotaur as a poor, helpless, deformed child. Dionysos "sees" the future, sees into what the Minotaur will grow. He feels for the good of all, including the Minotaur himself, that the baby should die. Although Ariadne wants of obey her god, she is repelled by what she considers callousness and resists.
PNR: Dionysos is a mage, the son of Zeus and Semele, a human woman. What powers does he possess?
Roberta G: Mostly the ability to use the power that I posit exists all around us, which most of us cannot reach. He can take a spell and make it work. He is not a great magician, though. He has spells for stasis, for creating fire, for teleportation. Gifts are different from spells. He had the Gift of wreaking havoc with emotions, he can affect the growth and quality of grapes and the quality of wine merely by passing near and wishing the grapes to be rich and sweet, the wine to be smooth and strong.
PNR: It soon becomes apparent to Ariandne that Dionysos is something less than a god. Though long lived he shares many of the human frailties. Yet she is unwilling to expose him to others. Her deformed brother is also the son of a god and a human woman, her mother. Both are young and not in control of their emotions. How does Ariadne justify the distinction she makes between the two?
Roberta G: I'm not sure she makes much of a distinction. She is maternal toward the Minotaur and toward Dionysos, too, although she is also sexually attracted to the latter. The Minotaur is really nothing; he has none of the Olympians' ability to use power. He is no more than a monster and a feeble minded one at that. Aside from being larger than human and physically stronger, he is not in any way godlike. Dionysos has Gifts that are more than human ability; he has bred true to the Olympian abilities. Although not a god in the sense we think of God, as being omnipotent and omniscient, he is definitely greater than an ordinary human.
PNR: As the years pass Ariadne's love for Dionysos grows, while the Minotaur grows more and more violent and feeble minded. What is her effect on each of them?
Roberta G: She has some minor control over the Minotaur because she is the only one he loves and trusts and will sometimes obey her. Dionysos sees in her the growing ability to stabilize him and to use power as the "gods" do. He both desires and respects her.
PNR: Ariadne has become vital to Dionysus, he wants her to live with him. Their desire is mutual, yet he doesn't act upon it. What makes her different from the priestesses whose attentions he's freely accepted. Does this cause conflict between the two? What part does the Minotaur play in her decision to stay or go?
Roberta G: Dionysos doesn't act on his sexual desire for Aridane for two reasons: the primary one is that he fears that a sexual relationship will damage the friendship that has developed between them. He has no relationship with his other priestesses than the feral coupling required to fertilize the vinyards. He is afraid that he will lose Ariadne if he uses her.
The only conflict Dionysos' restraint causes is to worry Ariadne. She doesn't understand and is somewhat jealous of the priestesses who, she thinks, have a fuller relationship with him. The Minotaur is only part of Ariadne's reluctance to go to Olympus. She is a human girl and never thought much of herself. She is afraid to go to Heaven (Olympus) and live with gods. She also does feel responsible for the Minotaur because no one cares for him except her.
PNR: What kind of growth does Dionysus experience?
not much. Ariadne's presence gives him confidence and stabilizes his
volatile emotions so that he is happier and doesn't lash
PNR: Well we don't want to give any spoilers. You have a new book coming out in August, "Thrice Bound", is this another mythological fantasy? Tell us a bit about it.
Roberta G: The new book is called THRICE BOUND and will be published in August 2001. It is about the goddess Hekate. As I said above somewhere, there are no myths concerning Hekate, only characteristics. She was said to be the greatest magic worker among the gods of Olympus; she was an outsider among them; she had few or no temples and was worshiped at cross roads; she was often depicted as having three faces; she was associated with a black dog. I took all the characteristics and tried to build a coherent story that explained them all. I hope you will all buy THRICE BOUND and read it and either email me or leave messages on my website: http://www.robertagellis.com/ to let me know how well or how poorly I've succeeded. I hope you will all come to like Hekate as much as I do and that you will enjoy her _very_ unusual love story. By the by, Dionysos is a character in THRICE BOUND where you will see him as a child as well as grown into a man.
PNR: What is next for Roberta Gellis?
Roberta G: Next is the third Magdalene la Batarde mystery. In BONE OF CONTENTION which is my current work in progress, Magdalene is summoned by her patron William of Ypres to Oxford. There she gets involved in a marriage plan that erupts into murder with the groom as the chief suspect. Magdalene and her faithful knight Sir Bellamy of Itchen must solve the crime to save the groom and William of Ypres' reputation.
MOMMA DOESN'T TALK ABOUT THAT PARTY...
When gods still walked the Earth, a king could pray for a sign and have a white bull rise from the sea to confirm his claim to the throne. But a god's price was high, and when Minos did not keep his promise to the god Poseidon, the god meddled with Minos' wife...and the Minotaur, a child with the head of a bull, was born. The question is, did Poseidon intend his son to be worshiped as a new god, or is he the god's curse on Knossos, a monster that will destroy it?
was the Minotaur's half-sister, the only one who would touch him and
care for him when he was born. She was also high priestess of Dionysus,
sworn to interpret his Visions, but one Vision destroys her peace.
Dionysus Sees that the bull-head must die or bring disaster upon the
realm. Can Ariadne agree to the slaughter of the deformed half-brother
who clings to her as the only one who cares for him? Can she protect
the Minotaur in defiance of Dionysus' vision and dare the god's wrath?
monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. It was the
offspring of Pasiphaë, queen of Crete, and a snow-white bull
the god Poseidon had sent to Pasiphaë's husband, King Minos.
When Minos refused to sacrifice the beast, Poseidon made Pasiphaë
fall in love with it. After she gave birth to the Minotaur, Minos
ordered the architect and inventor Daedalus to build a labyrinth so
intricate that escape from it without assistance would be impossible.
Here the Minotaur was confined and fed with young human victims Minos
forced Athens to send him as tribute. The Greek hero Theseus was determined
to end the useless sacrifice and offered himself as one of the victims.
When Theseus reached Crete (Kríti), Minos's daughter, Ariadne,
helped him escape by giving him a ball of thread, which he fastened
to the door of the maze and unwound as he made his way through it.
When he came upon the sleeping Minotaur, he beat the monster to death
and then led the other sacrificial youths and maidens to safety by
following the thread back to the entrance.
reissued by Gale (Five Star)
THAN A WHITE CROW"
Out of Print - PARANORMALS
SPACE GUARDIAN -
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