I’m very happy to welcome Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, to Tempting Persephone. She graciously agreed to do a guest post for me, and I hope you enjoy reading about Myths and Muses…
I’m thrilled to be here today, Chelle has been so very kind to me from the first. When I began testing the waters of book blogs, hoping to make connections and spread the word about my debut novel in the Strangely Beautiful series, Chelle had found me on Twitter and I was soon enchanted with her blog and via her blog-roll I met some incredible people along the way. I was immediately drawn here by the title, and when you read The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, you’ll know exactly why.
I’ve had a penchant for Mythology, particularly Greek Mythology, since I first heard of it in grade school. It was a favourite subject, I memorized all the major Gods and Goddesses, but found myself bored by the ‘big flashy Gods’ and all their jealous and silly goings on and was instead attracted to the smaller stories, the complex stories tinged with darkness like Pandora, or the quietly beautiful stories like Iris and the rainbow and Cupid and Psyche. I loved the Muses, the concept of a Phoenix, and most of all, I loved Persephone. She compelled me, saddened me, and I simply wondered about her.
I should make it very clear here that I take great liberty with Greek Mythology in my work and invent many things outside of the traditional canon. This will not go without comment in the series, however I don’t want you, gentle readers, to pause and think but I don’t remember that part of the Myth- you shouldn’t. Inventing things is fun.
I’d a very clear vision of the Underworld when I first learned of it in those grade-school days. It didn’t change when I read things like The Odyssey (oh, how I loved it and still do) and the Iliad, or even certain layers within Dante’s Inferno. I’ve never faltered from that vision of the Underworld; Darkness, Stone and Shadow, Wet and Grey, Wraith-filled and Whispering. Fascinating and terrifying to me then and now, I remain utterly compelled by it. This, and London in the 19th century, hold me in thrall.
I realize that I thought of Victorian London in almost the same terms; Darkness, Stone… and Shadow. Wet, grey, surely wraith-filled and certainly whispering… Add the “Overworld” layers of grandeur, manner, romance, sophistication and Empire and you’ve a fascinating dual world in which to flourish or flounder.
At that same formative age as I discovered Greek Mythology, I became fascinated by Victorian literature (due in no small part to my role in a production of Oliver! adapted from Dickens’ Oliver Twist at age 9). My love of the 19th century (particularly the Gothic writers of the age) propelled me to study it alongside my theatre degree in college and adapt literature of the era for the stage. I realized how taken the Victorians were with Classical themes- a Romanticism revival passionately evoking the old pantheons- and I realized these two worlds were not an odd juxtaposition at all.
I love alternate worlds, historical worlds, worlds of Gods and Goddesses, fantastical worlds like those I gobbled up of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, Gothic worlds of Poe and Shelley, all these met my adoration for ghost stories and somehow a cross-genre Strangely Beautiful book was bourne of it. I hope you’ll be as intrigued by my Whisper-world, my new take on old Myths and my ghost-filled Victorian London as I’ve been with the subject matter that inspired it.
In a glowing review by New York Times Bestselling author Alethea Kontis (a Greek Goddess in her own right) in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show described my book as “…Bullfinch’s Mythology and Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights mashed in a blender.” I find this quite the compliment. I love all those things separately, all are major influences, and so I hope you’ll love them all put together.
Excerpts and links to order the book online can be accessed via my Book page: www.leannareneehieber.com/books
I hope you’ll join me for my Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour where I tell ghost stories- real, documented London haunts- that I use in my book, each day a new Ghost and a new book giveaway. The schedule: http://www.leannareneehieber.com/haunted-london-blog-tour-book-giveaway/
Also join me for my Contest for two lovely prizes, featuring a pop quiz on three Shakespeare references I use in the book. Details: http://www.leannareneehieber.com/contest/
Blessings and thanks Chelle, for your time and for this giveaway, I’m terrifically pleased that you so enjoyed Miss Percy’s Tale. I look forward to sharing more with you and your readers in the future.
First, my many thanks to Leanna for taking time out of her schedule to stop by! I loved her book and can’t wait for the next one.
And now…the giveaway!
All you have to do to win a copy is leave a comment on this post. That’s it! The contest will be open until August 25th. U.S. addresses only at this time. I’ll pull a name and announce the winner on the 26th. Please make sure to leave an email address with your comment.
Just for fun, and this absolutely just for fun, you can include in your comment your favorite myth, God/Goddess, book about mythology, etc. I’ve got favorites and I’m always interested in hearing about others’!