Tuesday, July 19, 2011

THE SUMMER MYTH SPECTACULAR WITH GODDESS AUTHOR AIMEE CARTER


“I care,” he said in a trembling voice. “I care so much that I do not know how to tell you without it seeming inconsequential compared to how I feel. Even if I am distant at times and seem as if I do not want to be with you, it is only because this scares me, too.”                                                                                ~Henry (aka: Hades)


Up next in this Summer of Myths is talented, debut author Aimee Carter. Aimee’s take on the myth of Persephone is perfect for anyone looking for a brooding Hades, a strong outspoken heroine, and a big surprise ending, full of character reveals.

SYNOPSIS:

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.


MY REVIEW:

Kate’s mother’s dying wish is to return to her hometown of Eden. Once there, Kate is thrown into an imaginative world she never dreamed existed. She quickly makes friends with a boy named James and develops a bit of a frienemy relationship with sharp-tongued Ava. Not the best start to life in a new town. Kate is not much of a social butterfly, and prefers the company of her mother, soaking up as much precious time with her as she can.

So when the nurse in charge of Kate’s mother, tells her to go out and have some fun, Kate concedes. Unfortunately that fun turns to tragedy when Ava plays a hazing prank on Kate. Crossing a river, Ava slips and hits her head. As Kate kneels over Ava’s soaked lifeless, we are introduced to Henry—the owner of the property. Henry somberly asks Kate what she would do to have her friend back the way she was. To which Kate replies “anything.”

Kate doesn’t fully realize the consequences of her words. Saving Ava’s life is the first of a series of seven tests designed to test Kate. And Henry is anything but ordinary. In exchange for Ava’s life, Kate agrees to live with Henry for six months (along with Ava). And in return, Henry promises to save Kate’s mother, as well. But Kate isn’t the first girl who’s been put through the tests, and her predecessors have all died trying.

Henry’s attempt to win Kate over, without letting her in on the truth of who is, is painful to witness. He seems dark and brooding, but at the same time thoughtful and sensitive. He used to love someone else, but is falling for Kate. And the way Aimee Carter manages to unfold the truth, the mythology, and the romance is meticulously handled.

Anyone who loves a Persephone story will fall for this original twist on the myth.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AIMEE CARTER

WHY I YA: How did you come up with the idea for The Goddess Test?

AIMEE: Ever since I first read the myth of Hades and Persephone at a young age, I wondered about Hades' side of the story. It wasn't until I began to write original work that I really explored the idea as a story concept, but it took me many years to figure out all of the key ingredients, including how I wanted to tell it. Kate, the protagonist, and her situation with her mother was the final piece of the puzzle. Once I figured out that she was a girl whose mother (and only family) was at death's door and that Kate would do anything to buy more time with her, everything fell into place.

WHY I YA: Have you always wanted to write a book for young adults?
AIMEE: I knew from around fourteen on that I wanted to be some kind of storyteller, and novels were the most accessible form for me to explore at the time. I began writing manuscripts for the YA market around that time, and from them on out I decided I wanted to strive toward the goal of publication.
WHY I YA: What drew you to Greek mythology?

AIMEE: I've always been a huge fan. One of my favorite books as a kid was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, and I read through every single book on mythology I could get my hands on. I even watched the shows - Hercules and Xena on TV, the Disney version of Hercules, everything. And that love stayed with me into adulthood.
WHY I YA: Who was your favorite character to write and why?

AIMEE: I'd have to say a three way tie between Henry, Ava, and James, all for different reasons. They each brought something fresh to their scenes, and especially their dialogue and the way they look at the world was a ton of fun to write.

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

AIMEE: I'm a pretty laid-back person in real life, but that had me excited. I took a ton of pictures and probably squeed a lot, but mostly I felt a sense of relief that the process was over, and it was finally going to be available for people to read. As satisfying as that publishing contract is, there's nothing like seeing your book on a shelf or hearing from a stranger who loved it.

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

AIMEE: I went through many, many outlines in an attempt to figure out what would work for the story, and it took me about a year of that to really settle on what I liked. That's highly unusual for me - usually I can finish up an outline in a few days and really fine-tune it in a week or two. The first draft only took me about six to eight weeks, but that was only the beginning. By the time I was done with editing (I did well over a dozen edits throughout the entire process), all but a single scene was ripped to shreds or heavily rewritten. Even the prologue isn't original to the first draft. That came around draft four, and the published ending came in one of the last drafts I wound up doing. It was a very long and difficult process, but the book is much, much better for it.

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

AIMEE: Keep going and keep learning. You can keep going, but without learning from your mistakes, you're only hurting your chances. And while success is never a guarantee, if you quit, you will fail.

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

AIMEE: I'm weird in the sense that I absolutely love getting constructive criticism during the writing process, because it typically helps make the story better. But after the book is done and on shelves, I don't read negative reviews, since there's nothing I can do at this stage to fix the problems people have with it. Besides, a lot of the reviews contradict themselves, and it really just comes down to personal preference and taste. Nothing ever pleases everyone, and I've been lucky that a lot more people have enjoyed the book than have not enjoyed it. I'm still learning and will continue to learn with each book - since I wrote The Goddess Test, I've written six more manuscripts, and for me at least, each one is a little bit better than the last. That's the only thing that I as a writer can really hope for in the face of criticism. Learn from my mistakes and apply those lessons to the next book.

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

AIMEE: The sequel to The Goddess Test, called Goddess Interrupted, will be released in January 2012, and the third one in the fall. And once that series is complete, my publisher will release my dystopian trilogy, the first of which will be called Masked.

Thanks so much for having me, Demetra! 





BIO:

Aimée Carter was born and raised in Michigan, where she currently resides. She started writing fan fiction at eleven, began her first original story four years later, and hasn’t stopped writing since. The sequel, Goddess Interrupted, will be available February 2012. Aimée also attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures with a sub-concentration in Screenwriting. 

Thank you, Aimee! We all appreciate a little insight into your world and your process. I, for one, am looking forward to where you take this story. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE SUMMER MYTH SPECTACULAR 
WITH GODDESS AUTHOR TERA LYNN CHILDS





The next goddess author in my series, Tera Lynn Childs, has been one of my favorites since her book OH. MY. GODS. hit shelves. I mean, how can I not love her stories? As a first generation Greek-American, I once pondered my ancestry as a child. Hey, don't laugh. You never know. I could be descended from a long line of Greek gods and goddesses. Okay, okay...probably not, but it’s fun to fantasize. And when I do, Tera Lynn Child’s books come in handy. So I’ve decided to review two of Tera’s books. Because that’s the kind of agape (Greek translation: love) I have for her and her stories. 

If you’re an adult who reads and/or writes YA, these collages just might bring back some memories of your own high school days. These were once all the rage. And if you're a young adult who has never made one of these collages yourself, it's time to break out the glue stick. I highly recommend it. Have fun! That’s what reading, writing and living is all about. Awesomeness never fades. 

OH. MY GODS. TRAILER





Oh...my...gods...yowza!

MY REVIEW: OH. MY GODS.

Phoebe Castro needs to stay on track, literally and figuratively, in order to score a scholarship to USC. She knows exactly what she wants. She’s going to USC with her two best friends, and everything will be perfect.

So when her Mom comes back from a trip and announces she’s getting married to a complete stranger, Phoebe’s life spins out of her control. She’s forced to move to Serfpoula— a secret island in the Aegean—to live with a new family, which comes complete with a spoiled evil stepsister who is hell-bent on making phoebe feel like an outcast.

Enrolled in an exclusive academy where her new stepfather is headmaster, and the students are anything but ordinary, Phoebe knows getting that scholarship is her only way off the island. But at this school, the track stars (and students) are descendants of the Greek Gods, and she going to need Olympic sized luck to compete, physically and academically.

Meanwhile, Griffin Blake, the school’s gorgeous track star, is as determined as anyone to keep Phoebe feeling like a “nothos” (meaning: normal one). And although she thinks he’s a colossal jerk, she can’t help but feel attracted to him. She knows making the track team is the first step in getting off the island, even if she does have to compete with the descendants of Ares (the God of war) to do it.

But in the end, maybe, just maybe, there’s more to Phoebe Castro than meets the eye. This book has a fantastic sequel—GODDESS BOOT CAMP. Pick it up if you want to learn how Phoebe takes to Goddess Training.

FORGIVE MY FINS TRAILER:






Decisions...decisions...what’s a mer-girl to do?

MY REVIEW: FORGIVE MY FINS

Lily’s life on land is anything but dry. This mermaid tale had me hook, line and sinker from the first chapter when archenemy—and sexy next-door neighbor—Quince Fletcher spies on Lily during on of her rejuvenating mer-baths, calling her on the phone to tease her. Quince refers to Lily as princess in the most condescending tone, but has no clue how accurate he is.

Quince knows Lily has the hots for It-boy Brody Bennett. She’s determined to ask Brody to the dance so she can kiss him and start the mer-bond that will allow her to take him to her father’s kingdom of Thalassinia, deep in the sea. So when Quince offers to devise a plan that will help lily capture Brody’s heart, she resists. It takes some convincing but Lily eventually takes the bait, going so far as to dress in the sexy pirate wench costume Quince gives her in counterpart to Brody’s pirate.

Under Quince’s advisement Lily waits in the library for Brody, hoping to tell him how she feels. She’s about to give up hope when, at the last minute, Quince shows up in the dark—also dressed as a pirate—and gives Lily her first kiss. The chemistry in the kiss is both shocking and electrifying to Lily (much to her surprise). But by the time she figures out it’s Quince and not Brody—what’s done is done. The mer-bond she hoped to form with Brody is now building with Quince faster than a wave rolling onto shore.

Land-lover and motorcycle boy, Quince Fletcher will stay a merman forever if Lily can’t convince her father to sever the bond. And what follows is a sweet, sigh-producing series of tests and failures that will leave you rooting for Quince and scratching your head, asking “Brody who?”

In this fantastic, mythical, and charming story, Tera Lynn Childs does a fantastic job of making you feel for her characters. I was drawn to Lily and Quince and couldn’t wait to find out how she played through Lily’s indecision. In the end, I was left filled with anticipation of what would come next as only a truly skilled story teller can do. FINS ARE FOREVER is the next installment in the series, and it appears as though the darker side of Lily’s family is coming to land to roost. Holy Catfish! This ought to be good! : )


INTERVIEW WITH TERA LYNN CHILDS

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

TERA LYNN: I get ideas from everywhere, but I got the idea for OH. MY. GODS. from reality TV. I was brainstorming titles for another book and was playing around with the names of reality shows. There was a show on at the time called Growing Up Gotti about the daughter and grandsons of the mob boss John Gotti. I twisted it to be Growing Up Godly and loved it. Since I don’t write religious fiction, I knew the Godly bit had to refer to something else. I’d always loved Greek mythology, so the Greek gods were a perfect fit. Then I just brainstormed until I found a story to go with the title.

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

TERA LYNN: No. I started off writing historical romance and then chick lit. I blame my OH. MY. GODS. working title of Growing Up Godly for getting me into YA, too. Since obviously someone in the story had to be Growing Up then I knew it had to be about teens. That being said, I wouldn’t change my path for anything. I love writing for and about teens.

WHY I YA: What drew you to Greek mythology?

TERA LYNN: Besides the title thing (again) I have loved Greek mythology all my life. It’s one of those things I obsessed over as a child, reading books and studying history to learn more about this part of our Western cultural background.

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

TERA LYNN: I love all my characters of course (they’d never cooperate again if I didn’t say that) but I have a special place in my heart for the mean girls. Wicked step-sister Stella and witchy ex-girlfriend Adara get to have all the spice and snark I sometimes wish I had in real life. But the thing I really love about writing them is making them bad and then going behind the scenes and revealing the reasons for their attitudes. I can’t let any bad character stay bad for long. (I reserved the right for that to change in future books. *cough* SWEET VENOM *cough*)

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

TERA LYNN: I think I felt relief. That thing I had been working so hard for, for so long, was finally becoming a tangible reality, and I was just glad to reach the next rung on the ladder.
WHY I YA: How long did it take for you to write the book, and how many rounds of revisions did you go through?

TERA LYNN: I wrote the book really quickly because I’d pitched it to an agent who requested the full. I think I finished in about six weeks on either side of a conference. I went through two big revisions; the first came in the form of a seven page letter, the second in nine pages. Then there was a round of line edits followed by copyedits and, finally, page proofs. From the time I sold it took two years for the book to hit the shelves.

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

TERA LYNN: There are no absolutes, no rules that can never be broken, nothing you absolutely have to or can’t do when it comes to writing. For every rule there are numerous exceptions. Just write the book as it needs to be written, send the characters on the journey before them, and it will work out for the best.

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

TERA LYNN: If any? Hahahaha. Um, yeah, there is some. There will always be some. Always. I deal with it by trying to remember that opinions are subjective. Books and reading tastes are very personal. There are books I love that other people can’t stand and vice versa. No book is going to please everyone, except maybe The Hunger Games. And I recently read a quote (on Regretsy, of all places) that says, “Criticism is the price you pay for having an audience.” True story.

WHY I YA: What’s next from Tera Lynn Childs | What can your fans look forward to?

TERA LYNN:  First, my mermaid series continues this summer with the second installment, FINS ARE FOREVER. My mermaids, by the way, got their magical powers from Poseidon’s sea nymph Capheira. Then, this fall, I’m starting a new trilogy about triplet monster-hunting descendants of Medusa in which I turn the Gorgon legacy upside down. The first book, SWEET VENOM, will be out September 6th.

To Tera Lynn,
Thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you for my blog. But more importantly, thanks for being there for me when I needed someone to give me the push that keeps me on the path I know was born to take. Maybe there is something grandiose buried deep within me after all.



Me poli agape,
Demetra 
Tera Lynn Childs, Me (Demetra Brodsky), and the talented Sophie Jordan at the RT Book-lover's Convention