Today I'm delighted to invite debut author Jessie Harrell along to the blog as part of the blog tour for her book Destined, a romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth.
Read on to find out more about Jessie and Destined and leave a comment to win an e-book of Destined.
From inspiration to publication, tell me five things about your debut novel, Destined.
1. Inspiration: I was a classical studies major and fell in love with the Cupid & Psyche myth way back then (pushing 15 years now). When I started writing, I knew I wanted to re-imagine this story.2. Destined is not set in the modern-day, but it is written with modern dialog and language so it should be easy to read and relate to (hopefully!)3. Psyche’s name is supposed to be pronounced like you’re saying the initials, C.K. I originally renamed the heroine Sadie because I knew no one would say Psyche correctly.4. It turns out, no one liked the heroine of an ancient Greek myth to have a non-Greek name. The critics won out on that one.5. Mae Day publishing is me (shhh – don’t tell). I named the company after my law partner’s dog (Mae) who sits in my office eating paper (every Day). It’s also a play on the word “mayday” because I had no idea what I was doing when I started the self-publishing process and I relied on my friends for help – a lot. They always answered my distress call.
Destined is a re-telling of the oh, so romantic myth of Cupid and Psyche. Lately I’ve been noticing quite a trend for modern day retellings of Greek Myths in YA Literature. What do you think it is about these stories that make them so appealing to a modern day audience?
There’s something timeless about the stories, and yet they are so fantastical, they continue to capture the imagination. You have everything from overly-emotional deities to mutant creatures to star-crossed lovers. Whereas traditional paranormal creatures (vampires and werewolves) aren’t so new and exciting anymore, the potential for new stories that draw inspiration from the Greek myths is huge. The variation you see in the modern-day retellings reflects this (just compare a Percy Jackson novel to The Goddess Test, for instance).
Destined is wonderfully detailed in it’s descriptions of ancient Greek life. What kind of research did you undertake while writing Destined?
Thank you for noticing – I researched A LOT when I was writing. Since I was a Classics major, I had a pretty good foundation to draw on, but I needed quite a few refreshers along the way. I can spend hours just browsing through the internet, copying and pasting info into a blank document that I can go back to later. Like Psyche’s makeup … I’d open a document and then cut and paste all the search results I got when I googled “ancient Greek makeup.” I’d research until I stopped coming up with new information, and then pick which types of makeup I wanted to work into the story. It’s actually a lot of fun!
I have to talk about the cover of Destined, which is beautiful! The cover gods were good to you! Tell me the story behind the cover of Destined.
Yes, they were! The cover is the main reason I self-published. I could have gone with a small publisher, but wanted to be sure I had an amazing cover. By chance, I found an amateur designer on line (I saw a cover he had redesigned and knew he had a gift), and then found the cover picture on deviantart. The self-portrait was taken by a talented young artist in Norway, and she sold me the rights to use her image with some minor editing. Once everything on the cover came together, I knew there was no turning back… I had found the face of Psyche and the cover look I loved. The rest, as they say, is history.
Can you tell me some of your favorite debut novels of 2011 and the debuts you are most looking forward to in 2012?
In 2011, I loved Cara Lynn Shultz’s Spellbound and Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes was also great, as was Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini and Hourglass by Myra McEntire. The best Indie debuts I read this year were The Willows: Haven by Hope Collier and Daemons in the Mist by Alicia Kat Dillman.
In 2012… wow, it’s hard for me to think that far out. So far, I’m really anxious for Everneath by Brodi Ashton (another modern-day retelling of a Greek myth… you can’t go wrong!)
Can you tell me what you are working on next?
Last year I co-authored a modern-day paranormal romance with Nikki Katz that draws heavily on Greek mythology for its inspiration (see my answer to question # 2 above) called Beneath the Surface. (Tag line: A Timeless Love. An Endless Curse. Which one will survive the summer? ) Once I have Destined launched and out in the world, Nikki and I will return to Beneath the Surface and continue searching for a home for it. My next independent work is still in the conceptual stages, but will draw on history and myths from multiple decades and cultures. It will be a massive undertaking in research, but I’m excited about that part!
Thanks to Jessie for the great interview, and for providing an e-copy of Destined as a prize!
To be in with a chance to win just leave a comment and your email address in this post.
If you do not want to post your email address in comments send it to me at daisychainbookreviews(at)gmail.com and I will forward it to Jessie if you win.
Winner will be chosen by random.org
The giveaway is international and will remain open for 48 hours.
Available formats include .mobu, .epub and .pdf.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!You can still leave a comment, but you won't be entered to win the prize!