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Keeping Mythology Real (guest post by author P J Hoover)

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On Sunday, March 10th at 3:00 PM, 4 awesome authors will be visiting my library – yay! If you live in the area, come out and support libraries and ya lit.  Today one of those authors, P J Hoover, is talking about her upcoming title, Solstice

Hi! P. J. Hoover here, author of the upcoming dystopian/mythology YA novel, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), and today I want to talk for a bit about keeping mythology real. See, SOLSTICE has two worlds parallel to each other. There is Earth where global warming is running rampant, and there is the world of mythology where gods battle for control. And in my book, the story is split evenly between the two worlds.

Being a huge mythology buff, I basically wanted to incorporate every single thing I could into my story. But doing this would have made the story cluttered and hard to follow for those who were not as enamored with mythology as I was. So instead, I picked the things I wanted to use and wove them into my story. Did I stick strictly with the mythical “facts?” Maybe. Here are some (not all) of the fun facts I used when creating my mythological world.
Rumors have it Persephone ate three pomegranate seeds. Or was it six? Or maybe four? As an author, I had to pick one and go with it. Curious which one I chose? Good!
There are five rivers in the Underworld: Styx, Cocytus, Lethe, Phlegethon, and Acheron. There is no handy go-to guide for what each of these rivers looks like. Should all the rivers be the same? No way. I got to be creative five times over. Best way to do this? Excel spreadsheet. And a funny aside. While driving one day, I was explaining these rivers to my son (who was eight at the time) and telling him what they each were like. He made an amazing comment. “There would be monsters in the rivers, right?” Um, yeah, as a matter of fact, there would J See, ideas come from everywhere.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05hc1JWqbfA]

The Underworld consists of three regions: The Elysian Fields, The Asphodel Meadows, and Tartarus. Funny enough the hardest of these regions to nail was the Elysian Fields which is basically paradise. You’d think paradise would be all easy, with flowers and smiles, and trust me, this was my first instinct. But I soon realized it was boring. I needed to fill in more details and give the people more to do that sit around and sing songs all day.
There are some evil people hanging around the Underworld. Like Tantalus and Sisyphus and Pirithous for starters. Digging deep in to each of these criminal’s pasts made writing the characters utterly enjoyable. Who’d have thought writing bad guys could be so much fun? It’s not that I’m deep and dark on the inside. It’s just they’re all kind of crazy, and they will say anything. I love that!

Maybe the more fun thing about being an author is the creative liberty we’re allowed to take. Stick to the facts, but twist them how you need to in order to make your story work.
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik’s cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade novel, Tut (Tor Children’s, 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who’s been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.