My parents are from El Salvador. I have been lucky enough to have visited the country and family that my parents had left behind. It is a beautiful country with strong belifs and legends. It is what influenced me in the story that I am writing.
The stories may sound absurd, be it the gold that my great grandfather buried but people are too afraid to unearth for the spirits will haunt them (there is actually confirmation of buried metal deposits), or the story of my cousins grandfather having a pact with the devil (confirmation of this is still up in the air, but I will say this my cousins family obtained a large amount of land and money in a short amount of time. So the story goes).
The legends fare no better. The legend of the "zipitillo", the actual translation I am not sure of, but it is the legend of a dwarf like creature that likes to flirt with beautiful women. My female cousins would always braid their hair before they went to bed, because apparently the "zipitillo" likes to braid women's hair while they sleep. Of course a legend for men exists, "La Siguanava" (probably not how it is spelled). "La Siguanava" likes to entice men. When the man aproaches her because of her beautiful body, she reveals her hideous face, causing the men to go crazy. I have had family members swear by God that they have come into contact with either "El Zipitillo" or "La Siguanava". I do have more than a few crazy cousins.
The stories get darker dealing with actual spirits, curses and possessions. I have always been intrigued by the darker stories told to me by my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and parents. It is one story in particular that I spun my tale around and it happens to be the darkest. I will write a more detailed synopsis within the next couple of days, it is still a work in progress. The story that I expanded on is that of a young woman who is possessed.
What I am writing is a far cry from Jane Austen romance filled novels. I would say it is more like Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches chronicles. But Aspiring Toward Austen does not mean that I wish to mimick her work but her ability to draw the reader in her world and characters. I strive to create a character like her Mr. Darcy, like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Wentworth. I strive to create her world of Northanger Abbey, Pemberley and Mansfield Park.