Voyage to Kythera

Do you want to know where  the idea for The Kings of Charleston first began? I revealed in an earlier post that it originated from a short story I wrote in high school, but  I never really told where the idea for said short story truly came from.

The assignment had been to write a fiction short-story, but we weren’t given any other parameters other than length and so forth. I can still remember sitting at the computer wondering where in the world to begin this project. I loved to write short stories and I even had a collection that I had written just for fun, but those stories wouldn’t do. Ms. Chafin, my English teacher, was tough and I wanted to impress the heck out of her.

Then out of nowhere the word “Kythera” popped into my head. I’m not exaggerating or kidding when I say this (call it fate). I had never heard the word before, but I thought it would be a nifty name for something in my suspense/mystery story (trying not to give away too much about it).

I punched the name into Google not expecting it to be a real word, but a painting popped up on the screen in front of me (along with a biopharmaceutical company, but that one’s not fun). The painting in this post to be exact, and the story behind it helped shape the story. If you click on the painting it will take you to a sight displaying all the paintings done by this particular artist, and give you a little description about the painting.

If you have read my book you know that there are two versions of this painting that were done. The one above is the one displayed in Casper’s new home in Charleston. The other one is at Cal’s home. Also, the website calls it Cythera instead of Kythera (there are several different names and spellings).

After finding the painting, I found another site which was the travel sight for the Island of Kythera (a real island of Greece), and this quote:

“A Voyage to Kythera means to many people a nostalgic wandering in exotic and dreamt places, just like in Wattaeu’s romantic painting “The Embarkment for the Island of Kythera” (L’ Embarquement pour l’ ile de Kythere).The myth of Kythera, also known as the island of love, goes far back in the traditions of France and Italy. Voyage to Kythera, a difficult task, an island to which pilgrims set out but never succeed in arriving. As long as it stays far, preserves its distant spark as a land of eternal destination, impossible dream and ideal beauty. Since ancient times Kythera is related to the myth of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and Eros. There it lies in her heavenly haze as a land as much utopic as well real and within reach.” http://www.kythera.net/main/index1.php

I’ll let you ponder on how that quote influenced my story, but don’t expect to find the whole answer in The Kings of Charleston…you’ll have to wait for the sequel, And All the Kings Men to get the whole “picture”.

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