Friday, March 15, 2013

Author Interview: Athena

 I would like to welcome Athena to the blog! She is the author of the exciting novel Murder of Crows and I am thrilled to have her answer a few questions today.

1. When did you first know you wanted to write?
I first knew I wanted to be a storyteller when I was six. At the time I didn't know if it would be writing or acting, but I knew it would be something of the sort. I wrote a lot, and experimented with poetry. I tried to make my own book in fifth grade with a glue stick, construction paper and a hot iron. It ended badly. We shan't speak of it again, I'm sure. Thankfully, despite the small fire and melted pool of glue, I was not deterred from self-publishing in general. Then my first poem was published in a college literary magazine at age eleven and the final course was set for writing from then on.

2. Which authors inspire you the most?
When I was younger my favorite authors were Madeleine L’Engle, and Marguerite Henry. Then as I got a little older I fell into a V.C. Andrews phase followed by s swath of romance writers when I was fourteen or so. Eventually, I stumbled across Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman which led me down the fantasy fiction path and I haven’t looked back. Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, Elizabeth Moon, Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvator, Sara Douglass, Jacqueline Carey, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffery, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Piers Anthony, David and Leigh Eddings, Tad Willaims, George R. R. Martin, Donna Gillespie, and Diana Gabaldon – to name a few.

3. How did you get the inspiration for your novel?
Inspiration comes from living in the world, really. It’s in everything. It’s in the food you eat, the conversations you have with people in your life, and what you pick up from all your daily adventures. It just so happens that much of when the idea for this series started coming to me, I was living in Alaska and the things that inspired me were mostly things I encountered in nature. Snowy mountains, eagles, whales, forests, ravens and landscapes so gloriously beautiful – it would have been impossible not to be inspired. Then I moved to the Portland metro area and suddenly I was in a whole different world. A city – but just as wild and strange as the backwoods of Alaska. So I put them together and got Aria.  

4. What is your favorite part about being an author?
My favorite part of being an author is the creation phase of the story. Plotting, developing and making something that lives in my head blossom into something that can be shared with a stranger. I love bringing folks into an entirely fictional world.

5. What is your least favorite part about being an author?
Editing the eighth draft for the second time. So tedious and yet necessary.

6. Could you write a bit about what your publication process was like?
My publication process was not at all like I imagined it would be. My first book, ‘Ghosts of Seattle’ was a simple contract and had a publisher before I even got started. So I imagined it would be pretty easy to get an editor or publisher for a cross-genre fantasy novel featuring a female cast and lead…I was obviously pretty naïve. After 80 rejections I finally decided to self-publish. The new self-publishing options were opening up by the day with new and exciting paths for writers to find their own audience. So I set up a Kickstarter to raise the funds for an editor and designer and launched the book myself. Never give up. Never surrender, right? I continued to send out queries even after the launch and to date I’ve amassed 102 rejections.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this process is this: If you want to be a writer, a storyteller, and you’ve got a story you really believe in – don’t wait around for someone to give you permission to reach out to your audience. Do it anyway. We live in an amazing age where technology allows us to find the stories we need to hear, and for writers to discover whole new worlds of readers.
Ten people might read the story and maybe only a couple will like it. But at the end of the day, my job as a storyteller is to do justice to the story and let it have a life of its own, regardless of my own fear of failure or rejection.

7. When can we expect to see the sequel of Murder of Crows?
I hope to release the sequel to ‘Murder of Crows’ in the autumn of 2013. If all goes well, I’ll have a preview up by July 2013.

8. Describe in three or fewer sentences what makes your book unique and why a reader should buy it.
‘Murder of Crows’ is a book about magic and love and taking risks. It’s a story loaded with mythological creatures, near death experiences, aerial combat with Avians and dragons, adventure and difficult choices. It’s a fantastical escapism with some humor and grief and a desire to remind us all that we each have bit of wonder left in us which we never really outgrow.

Visit Athena's Website
Check out Murder of Crows on Amazon


  1. What I love about Athena's writing is that it is accessible and engaging, and there is always a touch of humor. Portland as a backdrop wins a special place in my heart too. Her stories (and blog posts) are a treat to read as they 'remind us all that we each have a bit of wonder left in us that really never outgrow.' Great interview, looking forward to the sequel of MoC, just in time for the holidays. Write on!

  2. This was a really great interview. I'm friends with Athena but felt like I learned some new things about her. Good job!

  3. I just happened upon this book by chance...entranced by the cover art, and intrigued by the description on the back cover, I picked it up and started to read a few days ago..
    and am now completely captivated by The Story. Thank you Athena, you are truly an inspiration :)

  4. I just happened upon this book by chance...entranced by the cover art, and intrigued by the description on the back cover, I picked it up and started to read a few days ago..
    and am now completely captivated by The Story. Thank you Athena, you are truly an inspiration :)


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