Myth Mondays: Behind the Scenes with In a Dry and Dusty Land by Lydia Nyx

Please welcome Lydia Nyx to Myth Mondays for her post on In a Dry and Dusty Land, which is featured in Seducing the Myth. Take it away, Lydia…


When I finished In a Dry and Dusty Land, part of the Seducing the Myth anthology, I was stunned at how much research I had put into what turned out to be a less than 4,000 word story. I swear I’ve written entire novels that didn’t require as much research as this (very short!) story did.

All right, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it sure felt like it.

The idea started when I read about the Sumerian myth of the edimmu, ghosts of the violently killed and sometimes unburied dead. Anyone who reads my work knows I tend to lean toward the darker elements, so of course I wanted to involve them in a story somehow. Murderous ghosts aren’t exactly the stuff of romance though, so I delved deeper into Sumerian mythology and ended up incorporating the god Utu as well, ruler of the sun, dealer of justice and upholder of the law. This god also mirrors the Assyrian god Shamash, which is neither here nor there, but I want some of that research I did to see the light of day.

All in all, this short story required me to research the following long list of subjects:

–          U.S. military rank and protocol

–          The political and military climate in Iraq at the time of the story (2007)

–          Areas of Iraq where fighting was going on at the time and American forces were patrolling

–          What those areas are like climate and agriculture-wise

–          The role and restrictions of news correspondents in hostile territories

–          Which U.S. cities host the most Iraqi immigrants (to give Siraj’s parents a realistic city to immigrate to)

–          What civilian life is like in Baghdad under military watch

–          IED’s

–          And of course, all the details of the Sumerian mythology I used

I did so much research for such a little thing! Research is one of my favorite parts of writing, so I didn’t mind it at all, and now I have all this information if I ever need it for something else (maybe I should start auditioning for trivia shows…).

Also, I was pleased with myself for coming up with the name of my secondary protagonist, Siraj Yahya, because I just love how it sounds and naming the figments of my imagination is always the hardest part for me. And yes, I did have to do research to come up with a name that would fit his heritage. So it goes!

Find out more about Lydia on her website, http://www.lydianyx.com

Find out how to bag your copy of Seducing the Myth here.

One Response to "Myth Mondays: Behind the Scenes with In a Dry and Dusty Land by Lydia Nyx"

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  1. Rachel Randall

    August 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Loved this story, Lydia — all that research paid off — so atmospheric!