Every story is preceded by an origin story. And as is the case with my current work in progress, OCTAVIA GRAY: AN ENTANGLED SHORT STORY.
My mother named me Athena (Leila Love is my pen name). As a voracious reader and avid fan of Greek mythology, my mother sought to add meaning to her first-born daughter’s name and to empower me with confidence to move boldly through the world—as the namesake of a Greek goddess! Way to set the bar high, Mom! ☺️
As I grew older, I found myself also drawn to the mythological stories of gods and goddesses, and especially the origins of the goddess my mother chose above all others. But imagine my surprise when I read the story of Athena’s birth.
According to GreekMythology.com: Zeus came to lust after Metis, and chased her in his direct way. Metis tried to escape, going so far as to change her form many times; she changed into various creatures such as hawks, fish, and serpents. However, Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing form. He continued his pursuit until she relented.
An oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis' first child would be a girl and that her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus—who took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis, he initially flattered her and put her at her ease. Then, with Metis' guards down, Zeus opened his mouth and swallowed her and her unborn child. This was the end of Metis, but also the beginning of Zeus' wisdom.
After a time, Zeus developed an unbearable headache, which made him scream out of pain so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull.
Out of the skull sprang Athena, fully grown and in a full set of armor. Due to the way of her birth, she became the goddess of intelligence and wisdom. As a daughter of Zeus, Athena is gifted with wisdom, womanly virtue and the skill of a warrior.
Now that’s an origin story – and possibly inspiration for a contemporary romance retelling, but I digress. As a young girl, this story was both shocking and intriguing. But as an author who lives with the voices and whims of characters in my head daily, the relationship between Zeus and his daughter Athena makes perfect sense.
Case in point—Octavia Gray.
Octavia is a character from my debut romance novel who was not in the original cast of secondary characters. But rather, as my main character Riley began to experience the unraveling of her professional career, she needed an ally and an anchor. She needed a badass champion to lighten the load and go to war with the male-dominated world of network television executives. And just like Zeus and his headache-inducing daughter Athena, from my brow sprang Octavia Gray in all her glory.
And ever since she made her very first appearance, she has gnawed at me. Nudged me. Crept into my dreams. Prodded me. Provoked me and pretty much demanded that I release her from the pages of ENTANGLED to let her roam free in search of her own happily ever after
Later this fall, you’ll have a chance to meet Octavia and the man who will win her heart.
She’s a secret crusader with a boss streak. He’s a reformed bad boy billionaire. There’s forced proximity, hints of forbidden attraction, and a one-night stand in Paris.
But could this one-night stand be The One? Stay tuned!