My favorite monster? Hm, let’s see. I’m a long-time student of Egyptology, and I wrote a novel called Soul and Shadow about a modern-day psychic and the spirit of a female mummy. So I guess the obvious answer is—Frankenstein!
No, no, just kidding. Of course it’s the Mummy! I’ve been in love with that ragged Romeo since I first saw him limp across my T.V. screen. I was nine years old, and there was a local station that ran a show called Chiller Matinee. Every Saturday a different monster appeared to terrify us. But the Mummy—he was special.
In the first place, he came from exotic ancient Egypt, a civilization that has fascinated humankind for thousands of years. Their belief in life after death, beautiful tomb paintings, and exquisite artwork are as popular today as ever. The Mummy taps into our primal desire for immortality, and the hope of love eternal. There is no more romantic monster than he.
There are various versions of the story in myriad media, but let’s go with the 1932 classic film. Long ago, Imhotep (played brilliantly by Boris Karloff), a high priest of ancient Egypt, was enamored of the princess Anck-es-en-amon. When she died, he went wild with grief and tried to resurrect her from the afterlife. For this crime, he was mummified and buried alive. He was supposed to be erased from history. Naturally, that didn’t work. What part of “Hither the gods come not at any summons. The nameless one has deserted them and must remain forever alone. Go not nigh, lest their vengeance wither you away,” did the archaeologists not understand? Okay, that’s actually a quote from Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars, his 1903 version of the mummy legend. But your basic curse is always present and invariably ignored. One of the poor chumps actually reads aloud from a scroll and brings Boris back to life. Naturally, Imhotep wants to be reunited with his sweetheart. Look what he endured for her sake! So he takes human form as Ardath Bey and tries to get her back. Sure, he has to strangle some people. Yes, he has to kidnap Helen Grosvenor into whose body Anck-es-en-amon has been reincarnated. But it’s all for love! And then the ungrateful wench turns on him in the end and Isis reduces him to ashes.
What more could you want in a monster? He’s creepy, sexy, sophisticated and strong. He’s intelligent, single-minded and ruthless. But he knows how to love and has the will to survive and fight. There’s something noble about that, which is why the Mummy continues to inspire fear and fascination.
Susan J McLeod was born in Rochester, New York, on October 22, 1957. She began writing at a very early age, when she discovered that she could invent worlds that were much more fun than the one she lived in. Worlds where candy grew on trees and rivers of chocolate milk flowed. Where adventures were always waiting to happen and no one had to go to school.
Over the years, Susan visited ancient Rome, medieval England, and resided for a long spell on a starship orbiting Orion. A recent stay in Pharaonic Egypt resulted in her romantic suspense novel Soul and Shadow, which won a silver medal in the 2011 Reader’s Favorites contest. It has been published by Imajin Books. Fire and Shadow, the second story in the Lily Evans series, was released in October 2012.
Susan also writes short stories and poetry, and has won awards in both mediums.
She works for a non-profit family foundation that supports Zara’s Center, a haven for AIDS impacted orphans.
U2 sums up her philosophy in life when Bono sings “We’re one, but we’re not the same/we get to carry each other, carry each other.”
Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But “normal” is the last thing she finds.
When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.
With the help of the enigmatic druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.