Read the original blog post on Kellan Publishing's website here.
I was always a fan of Greek mythology, and one of my favorite stories is the one of Prometheus and Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days. (My other favorite being the story of Narcissus, the hunter who fell in love with his own reflection) I was sort of indirectly inspired by the story of Pandora and the horrors that follow after she opens the gift Zeus gave her—the mysterious jar. I say ‘indirectly’ because I didn’t make the connection until after The Lerewood was written. I then realized that I must have drawn inspiration from the story of Pandora without realizing it!
"The trees tell me stories of how the 'outsiders' you know so well in your legends were anything but. They have lived in these woods for centuries before your town formed. And there was an entire population of my people, my ascendants that harnessed the same powers that bind me to the forest. Then one day, the trees tell me, your people appeared out of nowhere in one of the clearings. They chopped down hundreds of our trees and started to form shelters and a civilization. Where they came from, the trees do not even understand. Even the wisest of trees say they witnessed your people rise from the ground, as if they were born right out of the dirt.”
~Excerpt from Chapter 6
In The Lerewood, the townspeople of the titular town, Lerewood, were ‘born right out of the dirt’, as seen in this excerpt. Some readers may not have picked up on this, but this is a reference to Hell, or an underworld. I imagined the townspeople rising out of the dirt like zombies, sent as a curse from the ‘underworld’ to infect the rest of humanity with evil. Ilere acted as the barrier between humanity and this evil, sort of like the jar in the story of Pandora. In the end of The Lerewood, Fendley, the mayor of Lerewood, survives a devastating fire that kills the rest of the townspeople, as well as Ilere and the protagonist Uallas. Fendley is ‘released’ into the rest of the world, therefore spreading evil, disease, starvation…I leave it up to the reader to decide the horrible fate of the world. So, the outcome is much like ‘Pandora’s box’ in retrospect. The only difference is that Pandora released all the evils of humanity because she was curious of what was inside, and in The Lerewood, the horrible ending was due to Ilere’s failure to protect the forest against the townspeople.
In the book, I try not to make too many references to religion or religious concepts like Heaven, Hell, or even God. I like to keep things open for interpretation, but give enough hints so that readers of all different religions can come up with their own conclusions, and fill in the missing pieces of Lerewood’s history their own way. So, the references I make in The Lerewood are very vague and minimal. I like to leave things a mystery, so that by the time readers are finished with the story, they are left thinking. I feel like a lot of authors feel like they need to end their story by answering every question and wrapping things up in a perfect bow, unless the book is a part of a series. I think I like to leave things open-ended because when I started writing, I was used to writing fanfictions for stories that ended that way. I liked being able to come up with my own continuations, and I hope that I can give readers the opportunity to do the same.
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