Monday, October 21, 2013

The Voodoo of the Bayou Myth Series

It's almost Halloween! With that in mind, I thought I'd write about a topic that's been getting a lot of play lately on TV shows: Voodoo. I use it a great deal in my Bayou Myth series!--Mary Ann

I have always been fascinated by other religions--especially the more "out there" ones.


I was brought up Episcopalian which is basically just Diet Catholic--all of the sin, but no need for the confession! While my parents were pretty open minded, we didn't talk a lot about religion around the dinner table. It wasn't until I was in high school, about the same age as my heroine Joan from my young adult series, Bayou Myth and Bayou Scar, that I even began to really think about religions outside my own.


I guess that's natural since the teenage years are when you start to question everything!


About that time I saw the movie, The Serpent and the Rainbow. It's basically about this scientist who travels to Haiti to learn about a man who died and then came back as a zombie. While he's there, he learns a lot about Haitian voodoo and goes a little crazy. Okay. I admit that it wasn't the greatest horror movie I'd ever seen, but it did get me interested in voodoo. Everything I'd ever seen or read about voodoo had made me think it was just a crazy cult thing, but the movie indicated that the story of The Serpent and the Rainbow was based on true events.


Curious, I did some research and discovered that voodoo was much more than some spooky blood smeared rituals meant to frighten people. It's actually a blend of Haitian and Catholic beliefs. Yes, there are some elements that are supernaturally charged, (the creation of zombies is one example) but the intentions of voodoo--to love and be true to oneself--is essentially the same as other faiths.


Now, New Orleans voodoo does have a slightly different feel to it. That's because in Louisiana voodoo really is like a spicy pot of gumbo--it’s a blend of a little bit of everything! There, you have voodoo priestess who can make you love potions, create spells meant to get rid of an enemy, or make a gris gris bag to bring you good luck. This is the voodoo that Hollywood likes to show the world and  that's probably why it has such a confusing reputation.


When I set out to create a young adult tale that featured voodoo, I wanted to be respectful. So I did my best to include information about voodoo that is both authentic and a bit on the spooky side, too. But you can't write about New Orleans voodoo and not include one of the most famous voodoo priestess of all time either--Marie Laveau. Marie was the woman who really brought voodoo to the forefront of the New Orleans world. She is still revered--and a little bit feared--to this day!


So, of course I had to put her in the Bayou Myth series, too. In fact, she is the great, great, grandmother of my heroine, Joan Renault. She tends to guide Joan in the realm of voodoo, teaching her the customs and rites that will one day make Joan a powerful voodoo priestess. But like lots of teenagers, Joan isn't exactly willing to be bossed around by a lady who's been dead for almost two hundred years!


The really fun part of writing this series was combining my research on voodoo with the Greek myths that so many of us are familiar with. You may recognize some Greek tales that now have just a little voodoo twist to them!


Hopefully, I've got you curious about my series. Here's a teaser from Bayou Myth to wet your appetite a little more….


As a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish, Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality. It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave, weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come easily.

When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess, is determined to use the residual energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her family and friends.



Mary Ann Loesch is an award winning fiction writer from Texas. Her urban fantasy, Nephilim, was published in July 2011 by Lyrical Press Inc.  An avid blogger for All Things Writing (, Mary Ann has also contributed stories in the horror anthology, All Things Dark and Dastardly. Her latest book, Bayou Scar, was released in June 2012. While she loves dirty martinis and cuddling with her dachshund, she loves fan mail even more! Contact her through her website at


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