I wonder if Dan Brown goes through this.

I’m deep into research for the next book in the Relic Hunter series and wanted to take a moment to talk about what that looks like for an Urban Fantasy author. Since I write a contemporary story using historical objects and myths, getting my characters from point A to point B involves a lot of – well, magic.

I start with a region – or a myth – and then I follow all of the online rabbit holes I fall into until it all comes together. And it does come together, like a little miracle the universe created just for me.

Okay, maybe it isn’t really created just for me – but it sure feels like that today!

I’ve been hot on the trail of my main villain in the series since the last book, but I didn’t know how I was going to get Ari and the gang to hook up with my mystery villain – until today – during my seventh marathon tumble down some pretty amazing rabbit-holes that all lead to the same place – or at least I can make them lead there by taking a few short, logical leaps.

I wonder if this is what Dan Brown goes through. I wonder if he has an idea for his protagonist and then the story just plays itself out in the research. Maybe someday I can ask him. But since today isn’t that day, let me tell you about my process for this book.

You probably remember I’ve used the concept of syncretism several times in my books. Simply put, syncretism is combining different beliefs and merging or assimilating them into one theology or mythology. Think of Ancient Rome – when they conquered a new region, they incorporated the gods and beliefs of that religion into the greater system of Roman religion. It made the conquered feel like their old ways were valued and available, so that was a win for Rome – the downside for us modern writers is it’s hard to figure out what originated where because the more recent (Roman) versions are an amalgamation of everything that came before from every region they conquered.

This time, I’ve left my comfort zone of Rome and traveled back to the Achaemenid Empire (Persia) and guess what? The Romans didn’t invent syncretism. The ancient world is a mish-mash of legends and myths that traveled from Hellenistic Greece, through the Persian Empire, the Empire of Alexander the Great, and ancient Egypt. The threads are thin and knotted – but they’re there.

So let me take a moment to give a huge shout-out to all of the archaeologists and scholars who followed those knotted threads to find the origins of the stories that are about to get woven into the relic hunter universe.

I have a layout – but this trail is at least two books until the arc can be closed – so get ready for another wild ride – this time through the desert sands of Persia!

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