Thursday, May 17, 2007

Character Profile: Artabanus

While writing the Owl & The Eagle I've tried to present both sides of the Greco-Persian conflict in an equal manner. This is sometimes hard to do since the Ancient Persians did not leave a whole lot of writing behind, unlike the Ancient Greeks (most of our information on the Greco-Persian conflicts comes from the latter). Still, I've come to realize that the Persian prince Artabanus (the uncle of King Xerxes and according to Herodotus one of his trusted advisors) is by far one of my favorite characters on either side of the conflict in The O&E.

Unlike most of the figures in Herodotus, Artabanus is not driven by ambition or alternative motives. When Xerxes announces that he plans to personally lead his army against Greece, it is Artabanus alone who begs him not to. He tells the king he has a bad feeling about the invasion, and that it is too problematic of a campaign anyway. Xerxes ignores this advice, and sends Artabanus to Susa to watch the capital while he's away. In the end Artabanus ends up being right, and Xerxes is defeated in Greece.

In my mind's eye, Artabanus looks very much like the Persian noble in the picture above. He's tall, well-built, and is both dignified and regal. He is fair of skin, with dark coiffed hair and large dark eyes that shine with intelligence. He grew up loving even the most arcane knowledge and is somewhat of a "bookworm." He is also a good listener and of a mild temperment, and this makes him a good arbitrator when conflict arises.

Artabanus loves his family dearly, especially his two grandchildren who are all that remain to him of his favorite son Darius (who was lost at sea during the first Greco-Persian war). He is quick to smile, yet his large dark eyes are always sad, for he holds in his heart a terrible secret, a secret that if ever revealed could jepordize his entire family, including the Great King himself...

**Note: If you're interested, check out the September/October section of my archives and read the story from the POV of Artabanus.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Ego

I've been tagged by Wynn! This is the first time anybody has tagged me. It's kind of exciting, actually! At any rate, the topic is "Eight things about Me" (I rounded it off to ten just for fun).

1) I'm a Leo. Meaning I love attention, think the center of any universe should be me, and am overly proud.

2) I'm also a Sheep/Ram. At least according to the Chinese Zodiac. This means that I'm spoiled (true) and surprisingly shy (true).

3) I love to write. I feel like I can never write enough, and am happiest when I've written something I'm proud of.

4) I love languages. I took five years of Spanish and almost five years of Japanese (I continue to self-study both). I also took French, and have tried to learn a bit of Russian, German and Mandarin. I'm also thinking of learning Ancient Greek to help with my novel The Owl & The Eagle.

5) I've lived in Japan and am a lover of almost all things Japanese. I've thought about publishing some of my emails from Japan since they're always about some interesting place I went to or some experience I've had (examples include going to a ninja restaurant, trying to fish for my dinner, getting caught in a typhoon, and attending a fashion show).

6) I love history. Most of my reading material is historical. In fact, my idea for "The Owl & The Eagle" came from reading "The Battle of Salamis" by Barry Strauss. I also read a lot of historical fiction novels, and enjoy reading books by authors like Scott Oden, Steven Pressfield and David Anthony Durham.

7) I love Greek Mythology. My love for it started in 1st or 2nd grade and is still with me. My favorite Greek goddess is Aphrodite, and my favorite Greek god is Hermes.

8) I love Fantasy novels. Robert Jordan and George RR Martin are my two favorite Fantasy authors. I like that their stories are about characters and not just a string of plot points.

9) I love wrestling (yeah, you read that right). It's just a soap opera with hot guys. My favorites over the years include Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and HHH.

10) My real name isn't Megumi, but when I was in High School I didn't like to give out my personal information to strangers on the Internet (I still don't). So, I decided to adapt the Japanese name Megumi for my "online persona," and still use it today.

So there you go. Now you know a little more about me. In other news, my first novel The Owl & The Eagle continues to progress, and will hopefully be finished by late summer. Maybe I should make that a birthday present to myself...

I tag anyone who's read this blog and wants to participate (^_^)