If you’ve ever read my personal blog Rosanna Leo’s Room or read any of my books, you will have understood I am influenced in great measure by the world of fantasy. One of my greatest literary influences has been The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Rosanna writes erotic romance. What on earth does that have to do with Mr. Tumnus? Well, a great deal, as it happens.
I remember when I read the Chronicles the first time. I was in grade six, 11 years old. My mother purchased the entire set of 7 books for me from a school sale. I recall the day they were delivered to my classroom. Compact, shiny paperback copies of Lewis’ masterpieces. I kept those books until they literally fell apart, rereading them often.
Loving those stories the way I do, it was probably inevitable they influence my own work as a writer.
Who would not fall in love with the mighty lion Aslan? I think he’s one of the reasons I write shape shifter romances. Because of the enigmatic creature, so beautiful yet so awe-inspiring, the idea of infusing my leading men with animal tendencies was one I could not resist.
I always adored the Pevensie children and their various counterparts in the series. Such underdogs, such outsiders, they make you root for them. And when we see them vanquish their stronger enemies, our hearts soar. I try very hard to infuse my heroines with the same underdog qualities. I love making them the “odd man out” and in the case of my shifter books, my heroines are often different than anyone else around them.
Of course, you see many references to Greek mythology in the Narnia books as well. Anyone who has read my Greek god books knows how much I adore the world of mythology. This is due in large part to the characters I saw in Narnia.
However, I think the moment in The Chronicles of Narnia that influenced me most was seeing the great Aslan sacrifice himself for his human friends. Most of us understand Aslan was written as a Christ figure and Narnia a sort of Heaven. This appeals so much to my spiritual side. The theme of self-sacrifice is evident in each one of my books. At some point in my stories, a character invariably makes the decision to risk everything for the one he/she loves. Remember Eryx and Dionysus in my Greek god books? They gave up everything for their mortal heroines. My shifters and selkies are no different. Even my mortal characters often face this decision, a life-altering moment that leaves the character, and hopefully the reader, much changed.
I often joke that, as a little girl, I used to try to get to Narnia through my bedroom closet, not having a wardrobe. I don’t go looking for that strange passageway any longer, but I will confess this much. If I ever got there accidentally, you can bet I’d stay a while.