At this point in my Cursed Elves series, I’ve written over two thousand pages and only rarely mention Humans.
The interactions with Humans are few, and their names are typically unimportant. With very few exceptions, Humans are almost entirely irrelevant in the series, despite the fact that it’s primarily set on an Earth that’s filled with them.
Because Humans are boring.
Unless, of course, they’re the rare exception who will be turned into some sort of mythicial being. Otherwise if you see Humans in the books, they’re probably a snack. But I suppose the question is more about why. So many books out there like to focus purely on the rare supernatural being among Humans. Such-and-such Vampire who wants to help solve Human crimes or whatever (I’m not targeting anyone, I honestly don’t read those kinds of books so I have no idea who the authors are anyway).
But my true love is the classics.
I grew up on fairy tales and mythology. I very literally learned to read on them. Whether it was my mother tirelessly reading an entire book of nursery rhymes and fairy tales each night until I could recite The House that Jack Built, Jack Sprat, and hundreds of others by heart. Or her sing-songy way of randomly quoting the Jabberwocky while she folded laundry or worked in the kitchen.
Nowadays, you might also call her a fan of cryptozoology. So we talked about Yetis and Sasquatch and how they were different, made plans to go see Nessie in Scotland and Champ in Lake Champlain. Of course, eventually we wanted to go to Area 51 and to see the Marfa lights.
So it shouldn’t have been much of a shock to my early teachers, that I did elementary school projects on creatures like the Wendigo instead of local turtles. I mean… who wants to talk about boring stuff when you could talk about Mome Raths and La Llorona?
Or we’d get into the car late at night and she’d drive down to the haunted train tracks so that the spirits of the children who died in a bus crash could push our car over them, leaving their little handprints on the back! (Of course, you had to put baby powder on it first so you could see the handprints!)
In short, my Mom made being a kid super cool. I wasn’t limited to any idea or concept that someone else had set out. I could imagine and invent and explore the unknown. So my favorite questions were ‘why not?’ and ‘what if?’ And is it really any surprise that I found Humans boring and mythology absolutely the bees knees?
The first time I watched Cleopatra (1963 film), I fell head over heels for the Greeks. I immediately needed to dress up as her, and won a costume contest when I was teeny tiny (I won the year before too going as a green alien!).
The first conventional set of books I read as a young person was the Trixie Beldon mystery series (hopefully you can still see some of that early mystery love come in through my stories), and I adored watching Angela Landsbury (whether on a flying bed or solving mysteries from behind her old typewriter).
But I was hooked on the Greeks, and it started a lifelong love affair with the Pantheon which only spread into other mythologies and religions.
By the time I was in high school, I had devoured everything I could get my hands on from Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Jewish mythology, including big dives into Atlantis and heavy Kaballistic study. Volumes from the Ordo Templi Orientis and Golden Dawn leaned right up against my various bibles and set of Plutarch. I learned Latin and a touch of Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphics. I explored astrology, palm reading, crystal & candle magic, herbology, and had found great loves in numerology and tarot divination.
All that said, it should be no huge surprise that I’m also a big fan of everything historical. In fact, historical romance is my absolute favorite genre for personal reading. So when I started writing Forged of Ruin and suddenly sections were appearing in the past… I just went with it. But even in that book, Humans are more of a nuisance than anything else.
The Humans I include tend to cause Elves to die or otherwise have problems with something going on. And perhaps some of that comes because I was fascinated early on with the story of the Greek God Prometheus and his creation of Humans. Thing is, most of the Gods looked upon Humans as annoyances or immature and lesser creatures. Later they began to perceive them as potential forms of entertainment, whether comedic or intimate, but rarely took them very seriously. Occasionally a powerful being fell in love with one, but it almost never worked out.
So Humans in my stories follow a similar line. If they exist, they’re probably a snack, entertainment, a problem… or a doomed love.
Maybe someday I’ll write more about Humans, but for now… I’ll choose the other side of the Looking-Glass.