Today I have a guest post by C.J. Hill, the author of the new book Slayers. Since her book is about dragon slayers, this post is all about dragons – dragons in different cultures, favorite dragons, and why she featured them in her book. Hope you enjoy it!
For a creature that never existed, dragons certainly get a lot of publicity (I would have said air-time, but it seemed a bit much to put a pun in the blog’s first sentence.)
Just about every ancient culture had a dragon mythology. Most people are familiar with European and Chinese dragons, but Japanese and Koreans had them too. The Aztecs had Quetzalcoatl the flying feathered serpent, the Native Americans had Thunderbirds—birds so big that when they flapped their wings, it sounded like thunder. The Bible has dragon references in both the New and Old Testaments. Even the Hawaiians have a dragon mythology. When the dragon goddess, Kihawahine, needed help retrieving her runaway human husband, she called on all the dragons from the Islands to fly over and help her.
I bet you never knew dragons provided that service, did you? They fly, breathe fire, and provide marriage counseling. Can a creature get cooler than that?
As a child I loved fairy tales. When adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said a princess. I was totally ticked off when I found out that wasn’t a viable career option. I was more into poofy dresses, unicorns, and tiaras than dragons, but they were always a part of that fantasy world.
As far as favorite dragons go—Smaug, from The Hobbit, is high on the list. I was a Lord of the Rings fan long before Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen made the series cool. Great books. Smaug was not only smart, powerful, and wealthy, he also had a name that sounded like pollution. Fitting and dangerous at the same time. Of course, I don’t recall anybody ever explaining what dragons do with all of that treasure they guard. Just collect it? There is perhaps a TV show possibility in all of this—Hoarders Through the Centuries.
Another favorite dragon of mine is much less known—Draco from the 1996 movie Dragonheart. In it, Draco is not only powerful and self-sacrificing, but he also has a sense of humor and is not above being part of a knight-dragon con game.
And alright, I also admit to liking Puff the Magic Dragon and Pete’s Dragon too. How can you not like dragons with snappy theme songs?
This said, I’m not sure I was drawn to write about dragons because of the dragons I’ve liked. It was more what dragons symbolized that won them their focal point in my series. Just like Don Quixote, sometimes we have to pick up our swords and fight the dragons in our lives. Sometimes those dragons are only be windmills in disguise, but other times they’re big and fierce and can roast us like marshmallows.
How does a person find the courage to face those sorts of dragons? When we come across dragon-sized problems, how many of us stick around to fight it out instead of taking off for safer ground? I admit that part of the emotion behind this novel came from situations where I felt like I was facing dragons (large or small) and the people who were supposed to help, ditched the effort after the first flame.
The Slayers in this book know what it’s like to have comrades desert them, and that’s likely to be a theme throughout all of the books. Don’t worry though. I like happy endings far too much to let things go too terribly wrong. True, people will get burned, and DC will most likely get smacked around like Tokyo in a Godzilla movie. There might be a fatality here or there, but the right people will prevail in the end.
About Slayers by C. J. Hill:
Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.
The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?