Tag Archives: mythology

Debut Authors of ’18: Rachel Pudelek

Hello and welcome to my blog series dedicated to author interviews for 2018 debut authors! This has been started as a way to support some of my fellow ‘debutantes’ of 2018. Some of the genres may be a little outside while I usually write/talk about here, but each of these I share struck my interest in one way or another.

(See past author interviews at the end of this post!)

Oh. My. God. have I been waiting excitedly for this book. Now only is it Urban Fantasy (one of my favs) and has an incredible premise, but it’s rooted in fantastic, women-power mythology that gives us all a wonderful twist to old tales. I am so excited to dive in!!!



– Author Name: Rachel Pudelek

– Book Title: Freyja’s Daughter

– Book Genre:Urban Fantasy

– Release Date: May 22, 2018

– Publisher: City Owl Press


FREYJA’S DAUGHTER is the first in a feminist fantasy series and introduces Faline Frey, a bounty hunter and member of the Washington huldra coterie, who must unite the succubi, harpies, mermaids, and rusalki to rescue her sister and escape the clutches of the Hunters, the mysterious men who have been controlling the Wild Women for centuries.
Teaser time!

Well behaved women seldom make history, but they still end up as the monsters in folklore.
– Where did you get the idea?

While researching ancient goddess-worshipping cultures I noticed how mythology about goddesses and folkloric females shifted as women became more oppressed due to political and/or religious changes. I wanted to tell a similar story, about folkloric women who used to be wild and free and powerful, who were told lies about their very existence, that their wildness must be contained due to its uncontrollable nature. Until one huldra stumbles upon the truth when her own containment cracks open and her wildness flows freely.
– What’s the story behind the title? (e.g. who came up with it, did your publisher change it, etc.) 

Each book in the Wild Women series is based on a goddess of each Wild Women group. The first book concentrates on the huldra, and their goddess/creatrix is Freyja, so that’s why I call it Freyja’s Daughter. I came up with it and both my agent and my publisher loved the title so it stayed.
– No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.

Each of the different Wild Woman types were created by a different goddess who breathed her life and abilities into her highest temple priestesses before her temple fell to patriarchal invaders. This backstory is touched on throughout the book (more will unfold as the series progresses) and is the basis for the Wild Women’s belief systems and moral codes as well as differing values.
– Tell us about your favourite character.

I love the main character Faline, but the funnest character to write was Marie, the succubi leader. She’s morally ambiguous, says what she thinks, and just sees life itself as a play thing. I love that about her.
– If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do? 

I’d pick the brains of the rusalki, ask them about everything spiritual. The rusalki in Freyja’s Daughter are a group of Wild Women whose power has a lot to do with divination. They’re odd (think adult, recluse Luna Lovegood’s from Harry Potter) and speak mostly in riddles, but spending a day learning their secrets sounds like fun to me.
– Are your character based on real people, or do they come from your imaginations?

My characters are based on real folklore, except for the Hunters, I made them up by tying bits and pieces of groups who oppressed others throughout history and mythology. Each group of Wild Women is from legend. Each goddess they worship is from ancient mythology/belief systems. Their personalities, though, I absolutely fabricated.



– How long did you take to write this book? (You can share about the timeline from drafting to publication)

It took me about a month or two to draft this book, but it took many more months of editing and revisions as my agent and I passed it back and forth, before it was ready to go on submission.

– What kind of research did you do for this book?

I actually have a list of non-fiction books I read as research for my Wild Women series on my website. I read books, visited museums, listened to podcasts, and watched documentaries on ancient goddess cultures, mythology, and matrilineal and matriarchal cultures.
– What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

After the first pass by my agent I had to totally rewrite the first five or so chapters. My agent is incredibly editorial. But once the book sold to a publishing house, I removed nothing.

– Are you a plotter or a pantser? Both and neither. I write a one-page outline and then pants it from that outline.
– What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?

The drafting phase is my favorite.I love getting the chance to create worlds and beings in those worlds, to allow my imagination to unfurl.
– What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

I don’t enjoy the early editing phase, the part when I have to figure out how to fix major plot issues or rearrange difficult scenes.
– Can you share your writing routine? (e.g. How do you carve out your writing time? Where do you normally write?)

I don’t have much of a routine. I do what I call “book work” every week day. I mostly work from my couch, or on particularly distracting days I’ll work in a cubby desk at my local library.

– How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

At this moment I have five full-length unpublished novels and one novella. And three half-finished novels.

– Do you have any writing quirks?

I’m not sure if this is a quirk, but I have a Costco-sized box of caramel-covered apple suckers that I’m only allowed to enjoy while editing. They help alleviate some of the sting.



– How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I still have a writing reward from elementary school. 🙂

– What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love wine tasting and hiking and kayaking–just getting out in nature and enjoying its offerings.

– Share something about you most people probably don’t know.

I’ve lived in four states and two countries

– Which book influenced you the most?

This may sound cliche, but the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer was huge for me. I gave up my passtime of reading and writing when I had my kids. The Twilight series sucked me in in such an emotional way, (even the setting of my home state of Washington acted as balm to my homesick heart) that it reignited my creative side and made me want to write again.


– What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on Lilith’s Children, the second book in the Wild Women series, and putting the polishing touches on a paranormal YA.
– What’s your favourite writing advice?

Perseverance is key.


– The book you’re currently reading

Right now I’m reading Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley, and loving it.


Well behaved women seldom make history, but they still end up as the monsters in folklore.

Faline Frey is a bounty-hunter, more comfortable relying on perp files and handcuffs than using her huldra powers to take down a suspect. No sense in catching the unwanted attention of her local Hunter authority, a group of holy soldiers born to police the supernatural and keep Wild Women—huldras, mermaids, succubi, rusalki and harpies—in check.

All that changes the night she heads out for a date, hoping to get lucky. Instead, she gets screwed.

Now her sister is missing, along with Wild Women from all over the country. The Hunters are on her tail and the one person offering to help is her ex-lover, Officer David Garcia, who has just enough ties to the supernatural world to hang her with. To unite her enemies against their common foe, Faline will need to convince the Wild Women to do the one thing she fears most—exhume their power buried deep beneath centuries of oppression. That is, if she can keep them from killing each other.






Rachel Pudelek is a dog-hugger and tree-lover. Growing up with three sisters sparked her passion for both women’s history and women’s advocacy, which led to her career as a birth doula and childbirth educator. These days she channels those passions into writing fiction. When she’s not writing, Rachel enjoys hiking, attempting to grow her own food, or reading.

Rachel lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, a cat named Lucifer, and two well-fed guinea pigs. Freyja’s Daughter is her debut novel.


Website: http://rachelpudelek.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelP/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelpud
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachel_pud/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dog0hugger/freyjas-daughter-by-rachel-pudelek/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17238794.Rachel_Pudelek


Previous author interviews:

Pamela Kopfler – BETTER DEAD


Clarissa Harwood — IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS


Clarissa Goenawan — RAINBIRDS



Jennifer Haupt — IN THE SHADOW OF 10,000 HILLS

Carolyn M. Walker — IMMORTAL DESCENT

Samantha Heuwagen — DAWN AMONG THE STARS

Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, Oh My!

A few days ago I ended up doing a bunch of research on really old European vampire and werewolf folklore. Did you know that vampires were originally described as “dark, and ruddy,” not pasty white?

It was pretty fascinating. If you go far enough back in time, the vampire/werewolf/zombie myths actually become so similar they’re almost indiscernible. All came from the dead. All wanted blood, or flesh (aka, they wanted a live person’s life force). All carried the stench of death with them. Only as you move forward does the mythology start to take different paths, and generally according to region.

More vampire-like mythology clusters around the Slavic/Eastern Europe regions, such as Romania and the Balkans. Apparently, fangs were optional. And if you poked a vampire, blood would just come gushing out as they were often engorged with it after they ate people. They usually haunted their family members and weren’t out in the daytime – though the “dead-like” sleep doesn’t come up until later in mythology. Though some myths had them up wandering around the neighborhood annoying the crap out of people before someone took it upon themselves to re-kill it (this is where zombies seem a bit similar).

Zombie and vampire myth are almost exact – I feel like it’s only in the past few centuries that they’ve actually developed into different creatures. However, the modern day idea of the walking dead virus being passed through bites actually originates in the Carribean/West Africa. The mythology also talks about voodoo creating zombies as well, which is interesting.

More werewolf-like mythology develops in the France/German/Baltic region, and seem to develop in concert with areas associated with the witchcraft hysteria. Werewolves, interestingly, were closely tied with witches, sometimes could be the same thing. Lycanthropy, loup-garou, rougarou, and draugrs, are all alternate names for werewolves and have slightly different variations depending on which region.

Draugrs are interesting: appearing in Old Norse myth, they apparently had magical powers (such as shapeshifting, seeing the future, etc) and you’d go insane if you went near their den. Animals apparently went near their grave sites and would end up going insane all the time (it makes me wonder about the prevalence of mad cow disease and the like… )

But what ties all of these creatures together, at least in the beginning, is that they all rise from the dead. Now, these myths most likely originally rose from our obsession with death and explaining death. Yet why have they developed into the fantastical, even attractive, creatures of now? Are we attempting to make death less scary by taming it? Why do we find the idea of something draining our life force (vampires drinking blood) attractive, even provocative? The original tales can be explained by the love many have for horror, but I would argue that vampires and werewolves have moved on from that genre. Just look up “paranormal romance.”

Anyway. These are thoughts that have been wandering around in my head, and I wanted to share some tidbits I learned while wandering the internet. I think it’s fun to go back to the old myths and see the difference between then and now, particularly with my Jungian bent on interpreting literature (that we’re working out our societal problems through fiction). What do you think about the evolution of these myths?