Tuesday, June 21, 2011


A burning world...
A web of lies...
A climate in chaos...
A forbidden romance...
Greek Gods...

I couldn't think of a better way to kick-off the Summer Myth Spectacular here at WHY I YA than by featuring SOLSTICE—
Where Mythology and Dystopia meet—by P.J. Hoover. Throughout the summer, I'll be featuring a series of YA author goddesses who write books rooted in Greek myths. 

But seeing that today is the beginning of the summer solstice, and P.J. Hoover has written a book hot enough to set your summer nights on fire, it seemed like a match made in...well, the Underworld. It may even cause a Global Heating Crisis. Prepare to swoon.


Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.

P.J. Hoover has painted an original dystopian world with a skilled and vibrant brush. The thick weight of Piper’s personal oppression, handed out by her mother, is coupled with the humidity and heat of a dying city in crisis. Once the world had settled into my lungs, not even the mist of the cooling gel, administered by the council in the great city of Austin, could rescue me. I was hooked. 

I am an enormous fan of Greek mythology, and this book doesn’t fail to deliver. If you love Greek Myths, and you love stories about the Underworld, SOLSTICE is a must read, and here’s why…

This version of Hades is, well, quite frankly, hotter than hell.

Once embroiled in the love triangle between Piper, Shayne, and Reese it was easy to become consumed by their passion. This is not the typical, two boys fighting over one girl scenario, but a struggle for power and control, wrapped around a girl, that unfolds like a delicious ambrosia-laced treat.

Piper’s best friend Chloe adds an intense dimension to the story, which makes for the catalyst of many nail-biting events. Who knew a simple rebellious trip to get a tattoo would result in as much uncertainty, suspicion and doubt?  But one thing becomes clear; if you’re going to get the word sacrifice tattooed on around your bicep in Greek letters, you better be ready for what might come to pass. Thankfully, main character Piper is up for the challenge. She faces her mother’s disapproval with ease, and once she has that win notched on her belt, she's ready to face one of The Fates, Aphrodite in disguise, and a host of Underworld villains all too ready to make sacrifice the name of the game. Well played, P.J. Hoover. Well played.

This story has only been released as an e-book. But it was simple to download the Kindle app for my PC and to my Android. This was my first e-book experience, and I’m glad to say I’m a convert. Because if this is the only way I can read a book of this quality, I’m doing it. And for the $2.99 purchase price, you can believe me when I say it is well worth the swoon-factor P.J. Hoover brings to the screen (or the page).  It is hot. Like, Hades hot. I’m talking Underworld hot. As in Global Heating Crisis hot. You can trust me on this one; I am a descendant of the Greeks after all.


WHY I YA: How did you come up with the idea for your books?

P.J. HOOVER: Coming up with ideas is a really funny thing because I’ve never been one to sit and think about what to write next. Instead ideas come, and when they do, I start making notes and carving out a story. So maybe the ideas come from all the minutiae being fed to my brain every minute of every day. Kids. Movies. Coffee. Billboards. The list never stops.

WHY I YA: Have you always wanted to write a book for middle grade and young adults?

P.J. HOOVER: Not at all! I always wanted to be an engineer or something else with math because that’s what I was great at. Growing up, I loved that with math, there was always a right answer, and writing never gave me that. Funny because it still doesn’t J
Seriously, though, it wasn’t until after my kids were born that I started to write books.

WHY I YA: What drew you to Greek mythology?

P.J. HOOVER: It was the Cupid and Psyche story that I learned about in sixth grade that hooked me. I read that book by Edith Hamilton, Mythology. I think everyone and their brother read it. But it stuck with me forever, and I read it again and again.

WHY I YA: Who was your favorite character to write and why?

P.J. HOOVER: In SOLSTICE, my favorite evil character to write was Tantalus (who lives in the Underworld for those who don’t know). He’s nuts because he can’t eat or drink anything, and even though he’s a very minor character, I loved making him crazy. It was a blast!

WHY I YA: What ran through your mind the first time you saw your book in print (or the cover for your book)?

P.J. HOOVER: For SOLSTICE, seeing the cover made it real. I’d been stuck doing revision after revision with a healthy dose of copyedits on top and so all I saw was words. But the cover…it was beyond what I had imagined for it, and brought it all together.

WHY I YA: How long did it take for you to write your first book, and how many rounds of revisions did you go through? Describe your experience.

P.J. HOOVER: My first book, THE EMERALD TABLET, was a revision boot camp. I wrote the first draft in a few months and revised on my own for a while. But once I started working with an editor, she told me to cut half of it, move scenes around, cut characters and plot lines…Yikes! It was scary but fun because I could see the story becoming so much stronger right in front of my eyes.

WHY I YA: What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

P.J. HOOVER: BIC = Butt-in-chair.
I mention this in every school visit I do. There is a fantasy we all have that words will write themselves, but the fact of the matter is that unless we, as authors, sit our butts in chairs and actually write, we will never have books to publish.

WHY I YA: How do you deal with negative criticism or reviews (if any)?

P.J. HOOVER: After I crawl into a hole and cry for a while, I try to let it go. No books are perfect, and I’ve read plenty that don’t gel with me. So of course there will be people who will have the same experience with my books. I save all my fan mail and reread it when I’m feeling down, and it really helps because there’s nothing like knowing kids are reading and loving the books I write!

WHY I YA: Can you tell us more about your latest book: Solstice?

P.J. HOOVER: Yes! SOLSTICE is set in a global warming future where everything on Earth is dying. This girl Piper opens a box she gets on her birthday, and all of a sudden this whole world of mythology explodes around her. Her best friend almost dies, her mom is nuts, and two gorgeous guys want to date her. It’s a blend of dystopia and mythology and a story I absolutely love!

WHY I YA: What’s next from PJ HOOVER | What can your fans look forward to?

P.J. HOOVER: This is a really great question and one I’m not sure I have a solid answer to. I have a few projects going, so my goal for the summer is to firm up on one of them and get it going on. Well, that’s in addition to a sequel to SOLSTICE J


P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice, takes place in a Global Warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade fantasy novels, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, and The Necropolis, chronicle the adventures of a boy who discovers he’s part of two feuding worlds hidden beneath the sea.


  1. Thanks Demetra so much for featuring me and solstice! I am so honored to be the one you're kicking off the summer of mythology with!

  2. You are so very welcome! I loved your book and hope everyone I know reads it. I can't wait to read what you have up your sleeve next! : )

  3. PJ - I think you are so brave breaking into this new world of publishing. Your book is so well written and presented. I think you are the "new model" of publishing!!!

  4. I love your reviews Demetra!
    PJ- I will certainly read your book!

  5. Great interview. I love PJ's butt in the chair advice. And to save fan letters to read when the reviews aren't hot. So excited for PJ and Solstice.

  6. Oh, Bettina, thank you! That makes me smile for sure!

    Thanks, Anabel! I hope you enjoy it :)

    Thank you, Natalie, for all your support!

  7. Hey, great interview! I'm definitely going to look into this author some more. I love Greek mythology :-)


  8. Wonderful. I know you'll love her book! : )