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The Inspiration for Thanatos

Readers often ask what inspired me to write Thanatos and The Underworld Saga.

I can still recall the moment the idea came to me. I had just finished watching the movie Meet Joe Black starring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. In this movie, Death makes a deal with a man (played by Anthony Hopkins) who's not fated to live long enough to attend his sixtieth birthday party. Death offers to extend the man's life until after the celebration if the man helps Death to better understand life. Death takes over the body of a young man (played by Brad Pitt) so that he can experience life as a mortal. He tastes peanut butter for the first time and has sex with a beautiful woman (played by Claire Forlani).

At the end of the movie, I had so many questions. I began to wonder how the movie might have been different if it had been based on Thanatos, the god of death in Greek mythology, and if it had been geared toward a young adult audience.

As I built out the story, I decided to make Thanatos and his fraternal twin brother, Hypnos, the children of Hades and Persephone, and I made the Furies their sisters. Traditionally, they are the children of Nyx and Chaos, but I did find one Orphic Hymn which mentions Persephone as their mother, so I went with it.

My main reason for wanting to focus on an Underworld family with Hades as the father was to defend the view of Hades that had been villianized in the Disney animated movie Hercules.

The Disney portrayal of Hades is actually pretty cool. Remember the blue hair?

But his personality is conflated with that of Lucifer/Satan from Christianity. Hades from Greek mythology is god of an Underworld that includes heaven (Elysium) and hell (Tartarus), and although he might not be merciful, he is just.

I wanted to defend Hades's character in my Underworld Saga by portraying him in a way that I believe is truer to the way he's depicted in the majority of the ancient stories.

I originally envisioned a trilogy, but when readers wanted more, I wrote a second trilogy. I truly believed when I wrote it that the sixth book was the end, but some readers convinced me to keep going, so I wrote a third trilogy. Then I wrote a prequel and a few spin-off series.

Seventeen-year-old Therese is in a coma after her parents are killed but thinks she's dreaming and kisses Death (Thanatos). No one has ever kissed Death before because although he is beautiful and youthful, he is repugnant to both mortals and gods.

The kiss awakens something in Thanatos, who then bargains with Hades for a chance to follow her to the upperworld. Hades agrees but on one condition: Thanatos must help Therese avenge her parents' murders.

Meanwhile, Therese wakes up from her coma only to find that the new horse handler hired by her best friend's family oddly resembles the beautiful boy from her dream.

The books are available in ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook here.

The ebook is currently on sale for USD $0.99 (regularly $6.99).

If you're an audiobook fan, you can use code AUDIO50 to get the audiobook for half off the USD $16.99 regular price.

Thanatos in paperback with tropes listed around it. Tropes include "Forbidden love" and "Twist ending."

All ten paperbacks can be purchased in a bundle deal for $100 here.

The series is also available in these three collector's special anniversary hardback editions (one trilogy per volume), which can be found here.

Have you read The Underworld Saga yet?

Btw, if you don't already own The Bookworm Bible--my fifty-page comprehensive guide for book lovers compiled from articles I've written over the years on topics such as "How to Overcome a Reading Slump" and "How to Write Easy Peasy Book Reviews" with free resources such as a printable reading log, review templates, and an online reading journal--grab your free copy here.


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