Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with her, she rewrote it. She’s always wanted to be a writer, and spent high school and college learning everything she could so that one day she could achieve that goal. She graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and is pursuing her masters at the University of Georgia.
Her young adult novel Persephone is now available. She also writes for Athens Parent Magazine, and truuconfessions.com.
Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS
1. What was the spark of inspiration for Persephone?
Watching the Clash of the Titans trailer. Something about the music, and yelling, and the damn the gods quote just got me thinking about the gods, and who was more damned than Persephone? Then I wondered if there was more to that story, and one thought led to another.
I did a ridiculous amount of research. I have read every epic, every book on mythology, and every random offshoot of a book about the Persephone myth, down to “Chasing Pomegranates” a book about a mother and daughter visiting Greece. I got a ton of information out of the book “Life’s Daughter, Death’s Bride,” which I would so use as a title if it wasn’t taken, and of course the internet.
Every single character and background noise has significance within the context of the myth. Melissa, her best friend, is named for the priestesses of Demeter. The owl hooting in one of the middle chapters when Persephone is eating pomegranate seeds is an allusion to the original myth, in which the god who tricked her was turned into an owl. The Boreas/Oreithyia story was a real myth, as was Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pirithous, as well as the curse of eternal hunger. It just goes on and on.
I could write a book about the research of that book. But I worked hard to keep it background. There are neat things to catch if you’re familiar with the mythology, but you don’t have to get them to understand the plot, and the purpose of the book isn’t to educate my readers to the intricacies of the Persephone myth. It was a tough balance, but I think I managed it.
3. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Join a writers group, and listen to their feedback. It is the absolute best thing you can do as a writer. I see so many writers come through our writers group with the expectation that we’re going to lavish praise on their awesome idea. That’s not what the group is for. The group is there to catch any mistakes that would keep your book from being published, and that would cause your readers to write a negative review. These writers leave the group pouting about how “we just didn’t get it.” That’s not an unusual reaction, it’s knee jerk. It took me a long time to get out of that phase, but the most important thing you can understand as a writer is that it’s VERY unlikely that your group “just doesn’t get it” if they don’t get it, neither will your readers. The problem isn’t them. It’s you.
4. If you could go back in time, where would you go?
At this point, Ancient Greece to do more research. Aphrodite comes into play in book two, and research wise…. There’s a huge difference between Aprhodite and Persephone. Persephone featured prominently is in three to four myths. The abduction, Pirithous, Orpheus, and Adonis (in some versions, hence three to four). Aphrodite is in just about every single myth out there. There’s so much more to learn!
5. Finally, Star Wars or Star Trek?
Gosh that depends on the movie. I LOVED the new Star Trek movie. It had fantastic plot and character development, and really integrated the existing cannon of the story well with a premise that allowed them to deviate from it at will. My goal when writing Persephone was to give the myth the exact same treatment. That movie became my model for retellings with a twist.
But as far as every other movie is concerned, I’ve got to go with Star Wars. I even liked the new trilogy.
There are worse things than death, worse people too.
The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.