- Welcome Suzanne and Joan! Thanks for being here!
Andye, thank you so much for having us here at Reading Teen to help celebrate the release of book #5: Athena the Wise in our Goddess Girls series!
1. What has been your favorite book in the series to write so far?
Suzanne: My favorite is whatever we’ re currently at work on! It’ s thrilling to see a new book come together after weeks and weeks of hard work.
Joan: The first book in a series is usually the one I remember best because it’ s the one in which the initial world, characters, and tone for the series are created. It takes longer to write than the other books. In the proposal stage, Suzanne and I voted on our four favorite Greek goddesses to become main characters in the series: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis. We started with Athena in Athena the Brain. And now, our newest release is a second Athena book—Athena the Wise. Since each of the goddesses was worshipped for multiple traits and involved in numerous myths, we’ re able to focus on a different ability and myth for each goddess to create multiple books about her, while keeping it fresh, while bringing in new secondary characters and developing existing ones. In Athena the Wise, Heracles (Hercules in Roman myth) arrives as a new student at MOA. This mortal boy dressed in a lion cape stirs up plenty of interest and intrigue.
2. Medusa is my favorite villain, who is your favorite villain in the series?
Joan and Suzanne: Definitely Medusa! In fact, she’ s getting her own book soon. We’ re just starting to work on Goddess Girls #8: Medusa the Mean. She’ s been a side character throughout the series, and now we’ re exploring her character in more depth in this book. It’ s an interesting exercise in writing a mean girl as a sympathetic character, without doing a 180 and suddenly making her nice, which would be unfaithful to her true character. We’ re asking ourselves: What made Medusa the meanie she is today, and why should we (and readers) care? What makes her appealing, funny, quirky, interesting? This may well turn out to be one of our favorite books by the time we finish!
3. I notice you try and put in a little emphasis in each book on good character traits vs.
bad character traits. Is this the main positive message you want the young girls to learn
from your books?
Joan and Suzanne: Mostly we try to write entertaining stories that girls (and many boys too!) will enjoy reading. Themes about friendship, self-acceptance, etc. develop naturally from the situations our characters find themselves in. We also hope our books will pique an interest in the actual myths. We don’ t shy away from writing real friendship drama, though, because no one wants to read something that feels fake at its heart.
4. Have you always had a love for Greek Mythology?
Joan: I was given a giant book of Greek myths when I was around 8 years old, and thus began my lifelong interest in all things mythological. In my office, I have several shelves of books about mythology in various cultures. In Goddess Girls, I finally get to put this interest to work!
Suzanne: I read Greek mythology in school, but I don’ t think I was ever as “ into” it as Joan. That’ s changed after writing Goddess Girls, of course. Whenever I visit a museum now I head for the Greek sculpture and antiquities wing! And lately I’ve also been reading books about Norse mythology.
5. Would you be interested in writing a God Boys series, that would be full of adventure
and character learning for young boys?
Joan and Suzanne: We’ d love to write a Greek mythology-based series for boys! Of course, Rick Riordan’ s wonderful “ Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series already fills a need for older boys. We’ ve been kicking around some ideas for a younger boy series and are in the proposal stage. We’ ll keep you posted…
6. What have you learned from writing this series?
Joan: Good question! I think I’ ve learned to love collaboration. Goddess Girls has benefited bigtime from my co-authoring it with Suzanne. It’ s like having a critique partner who is as invested in a book/series as I am. When we started the series, we went into it blind. We weren’ t sure how we’ d write together, but we figured it out along the way. As we became more sure of each other, we began to really let go of ego. Now we trade the manuscripts back and forth and write and rewrite them so much that it’ s nearly impossible to tell who wrote what. We even discuss the plots and themes as we begin each book, so that we don’ t wind up writing plots the other isn’ t fond of, or worse, totally dislikes. Both of our names are on these books, so we both want to be happy with what’ s on their pages. And we are. I didn’ t give this whole collaboration thing the thought I probably should have in the beginning--it could have been a disaster. Instead, I wound up with the perfect co-author for writing Goddess Girls!
Suzanne: Before Goddess Girls I wrote four series on my own, so one big thing I learned is just how much fun it is to co-author a series. Joan is an absolute pleasure to work with. It’ s great to be able to toss around ideas with her, and our styles of writing blend together well. Writing can be a lonely profession, so having someone to share the work with, someone who cares as much about the stories as you do, and who shares in your excitement over a good review or a wonderful fan letter, is terrific.
- Thanks so much for this fantastic interview!
Thanks for the great questions, Andye!
~ Suzanne and Joan
To read Anna's review of Athena the Brain, click here.
To read Anna's review of Artemis the Brave, click here.
To read Reagan's review of Athena the Wise, click here.
If you would like to enter for a chance to win Athena the Wise, just click on the picture! US only for this one. Giveaway open until 4/21/11. Good luck!