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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.

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

The ebook is currently on sale for 99 cents.

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

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?


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