Persephone’s Orchard (The Chrysomelia Stories #1)
by Molly Ringle
Coming June 28, 2013: Get your copy of the ebook for 99cents for two weeks after release only!
The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she’s pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her very first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate. And soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times–of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she’s tainted with the Underworld’s magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie.
Thank you! I’m pleased to be here. I’ve loved the myths ever since I was a little kid looking through our illustrated Greek mythology book–the popular D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. And the myth of Persephone and Hades stuck me with me in particular, because it has so many interesting elements: kidnapping, marriage, death, seasons, family, and of course a pomegranate. Later, when I learned about the technique of reworking a myth to make a new story, I began writing a Persephone novel. Originally I called it Letters from Hades. It took me over 15 years to get it from that version to this published work–I kept putting it on the back burner while I wrote other books. But I finally came back to Hades and Persephone, and I’m so glad I did. It was huge fun.
2. How do you think your background in anthropology and linguistics helped shaped this and other works you’ve done?
I’m that annoying person who points out, “They wouldn’t even be able to understand each other!” in movies involving time travel. So I do make myself consider issues like dialect or language differences, especially in Persephone’s Orchard. For instance, what do the souls speak in the Underworld? How can they all understand each other? I also tried to find out more about Kiwi dialect and slang, since Adrian is from New Zealand. But I bet I still got some of his usage wrong, and I feel bad about that. For my UK-related novels, I had British friends read through them and fix things, but I don’t actually know any Kiwis to run my manuscripts by. As for anthropology, I did look up information about the Mediterranean in Minoan days so I could sprinkle in some details that might feel realistic. Whether they really are realistic, I cannot be sure–classical archaeology is not my specialty, but it is really cool stuff.
3. I love the parodies on your website! When did you start writing parodies and what is your process on writing one?
Thanks! The first one I wrote that really took off on the Internet was the condensed version of The Two Towers (the movie). After that, I did the other two movies, then tackled books like the Harry Potter series. The first rule for me is that I won’t write a parody for something unless I actually enjoy the book or film. So it’s a compliment, really, if a weird one. The only other rule is that it works best when I ad-lib most of it. I think of a few jokes ahead of time, while reading or watching, but most of the parody comes together at the moment I sit down to write it, in a free-associating kind of way. Then I go through afterward to edit it, and make sure it’s actually funny and coherent. But overall, writing the parodies is a much freer and quicker process than plotting my novels.
4. Okay, so I always love to see what my favorite authors read. What are your top five favorite books and why?
There are countless books I’ve loved, but I’ll list these five because I’ve re-read them several times and love what they do for me:
– Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë. I know, everyone lists Jane Eyre, but with good reason! One of the world’s earliest, best, and most enduring examples of a heartfelt, charming first-person narrator. Plus it’s a dramatic and satisfying love story. I daresay Jane Eyre set the standard for modern romance.
– Les Misérables, Victor Hugo. I re-read it last summer and it overtook my life once again, just as it did the first time or two I read it. I was completely submerged in France in the early 1800s for a while there. But I’ll be nice and tell you that you don’t have to read the unabridged. Start with an abridged version; then, if you love it, go back in for the unabridged.
– A Room with a View, E.M. Forster. Light and lovely and romantic and witty. An antidepressant in book form. I wish I could always feel the way I feel when I’m reading A Room with a View.
– The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling. Hope that’s not cheating, listing a whole series. Sure, it’s got plot holes: e.g., Why doesn’t Voldemort just get a gun and shoot Harry, since Avada Kedavra keeps failing? Why don’t they do something really important with the Time Turner rather than let Hermione take extra classes? Why aren’t more of those torturous spells considered Unforgivable? Etc. But I still find the books totally addictive and fun and moving. Great example of literature that can appeal to both kids and adults.
– The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. Again, actually a series, or one really big book. But I had such a major fandom phase for this one a few years ago that I would be remiss in not listing it.
5. Night owl or early bird?
I’ll say night owl, since I’m grumpy and out of it first thing in the morning, and therefore couldn’t possibly be an early bird. But in reality, I don’t get to stay up too late either–kids and other schedule issues prevent that. But I do feel better most days at 10 p.m. than at 7 a.m., for sure.
6. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or do you just like to let the story come to you as you write?
Usually I try to plan where the plot is going, in a broad sense. But there’s always wiggle room for new ideas, and with every book I’ve ended up introducing some major new twist or revision before all the rewrites are done. Even if I plan carefully, it never goes exactly according to plan.
7. What made you want to become a writer? What advice would you give to young, aspiring writers?
I suppose I wanted to become a writer because I find it therapeutic to create my own world and control all the people in it. I’m happier and more balanced on days when I get to do that. And I hope other people can escape happily into my work the way I escape into my favorite authors’ books–that would be flattering, of course. But it’s a business that takes ridiculously large amounts of patience. You have to write so, so much before you start getting good. You have to revise even more than you write. You have to wait and wait for people to read your stuff and help you out, or not. So, advice: Don’t quit your day job to write! 🙂 Truly, there is very little chance you’ll make anywhere near enough money to survive from writing alone, even if you get published and get good reviews. At least, not for several years. Be patient, listen to critiques of your writing if people are good enough to offer them, keep trying to improve, don’t assume you’re better than the crowd.
8. What is your favorite part of being an author?
Superficially, the coolest part is seeing reviews from people who loved my stories. But that just feeds the external-validation part of my brain, which only makes me want more praise soon. So the true best part of writing, really, is the writing. When I’ve written a brand new scene, and I’m loving how it’s going, and no one else in the world knows about the story yet but me, then I’m happy, with a much purer form of happiness.
9. What’s your favorite ‘book world’ and why?
Difficult question. Historical fiction fascinates me, and I love how it brings a long-gone time to life again (e.g., 19th-century France in Les Misérables) but I wouldn’t actually want to live without modern conveniences. I’d enjoy visiting Hogwarts and flying on a broom, though, assuming I had the necessary innate magical ability. At least they could fix my broken bones quickly with magic if I fell off.
10. Where do you think Sophie and Adrian will go in the future?
They’re going to have to face the question of who to bring into their secrets, and how to keep the magical realm safe from the anti-Greek-god enemies. They’ll gain allies but also new problems. In terms of geography, it’d be nice if they could pay a visit to Adrian’s homeland of New Zealand. I haven’t taken the story there very much yet. (Since I haven’t been there myself–alas!)
11. And finally: If you could eat the pomegranate, would you?
Hah! I would pretend to say that’s a difficult question too, but who am I kidding? I don’t even avoid spoilers for TV shows and books. In fact, I kind of seek them out. So, yeah, I’d eat it. It’d be cool and instructive to learn about past lives. Now, if the pomegranate showed us our future, then no, I wouldn’t eat it. I think people are better off not knowing the future. But knowing the past? That’s probably a worthwhile experience on the whole.
Molly Ringle has been writing fiction for over 20 years, and her stories always include love and humor, as well as the occasional touch of tragedy and/or the paranormal. Her book THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS, was a 2010 EPIC Award finalist for paranormal romance. Molly lives in Seattle with her husband and kids and worships fragrances and chocolate.
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