Friday, February 21, 2014

PR Special Edition: Author Heather Lyons Interview + Giveaway!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Today we welcome Heather Lyons, author of the amazing The Deep End of the Sea.  Its about MEDUSA. And Hermes. And the Greek Pantheon.  and other Pantheons.  Okay I'll stop fangirl'ing.
Summary: What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

Welcome Heather to Poisoned Rationality :)

I’m so glad to be here!

Before we get to the questions I just want to enthuse at you greatly about how much I enjoyed this book. 

Thank you!

Medusa has been one of my pet favorites for a very long time (let's go ahead and blame Hercules: the Legendary Journeys for this) and it was so wonderful to see her come alive as she did.  Seriously, all my love forever for this.  And Hermes love.  Did you find my teenage journals or something?

Haha! Actually, probably more like one of mine. I have a thing for nice guys!

Easy question first - why Medusa?  You toss in a few other Greek myths as well, with a decidedly lovely twist to them (I love Persephone and Hades' story!), but Medusa was clearly at the foreground the entire book.  Did she call to you or did you set out to make a book about her?

Ever since I first heard Medusa’s legend when I was young, it sat wrong with me. Even as a child, I knew it was wrong—most of the myths have her being raped by Poseidon and then cursed for being attacked in a temple. Awful, right? And if this was the case, I always figured you couldn’t blame her for being pissed off.  But was an intriguing idea to imagine her as a genuinely good person who was doing her best to deal with a very, very horrible situation. I couldn’t shake the idea that it would make an interesting story; I also loved imagining giving her a happy ending rather the one where her head is cut off so some guy can go save another lady.

Very briefly you touch upon how the different "pantheons" exist and what intersects between all of them.  Is Greece your favorite?

Actually . . . no. As much as I adore the Greek pantheon, I’ve always been a little bit more in favor of the Norse. In this book, though, I really dug the idea that they were all still up and running and that one could visit them like a trip to another city. It was fun sticking little bits of mythology Easter eggs throughout the story!

Medusa is, despite being some 2000 years old and trapped on a tiny island hidden from time, seems to straddle the modern and the ancient worlds quite well.  When creating her, what was one trait or quirk you hoped would really shine out to the reader?

I think I really wanted to stress that she refused to give up no matter how hard life was. She was isolated. She was turned, against her will, into an instrument of death. Yet she strove to move forward, to better herself through education and various charities. To keep herself busy with hobbies. I particularly loved how she collected languages and slang, despite never really having anyone to use them on.

And as for Medusa's friendship with Hermes, did it grow because he was the logical choice as someone who could come and go from her island?  Or did something else appeal to you about their friendship?

Actually, their relationship came to me in a dream . . . but yes, he was a logical choice due to his role in the Greek pantheon. Other than being Zeus’ messenger, Hermes was well known in mythology for ferrying souls to the Underworld for Hades. Obviously, Medusa’s situation would provide him a reason to come around. That said, I very purposely wanted them to be friends first—great friends, friends based on more than just him being the only person who came around. I wanted them to have a solid, real foundation to build upon. Their relationship isn’t just a flash in the pan.

And for my own sanity, will you be revisiting your world of mythology again? 

I wouldn’t continue with Medusa and Hermes’ story, because I’m really, really happy with where they end up. But I have toyed around with visiting characters in some of the other pantheons I sprinkled throughout the story—and there are so many world mythologies to choose from! As I mentioned before, I really adore the Norse myths, but there are also Egyptian, Sumerian, Roman (which are so similar to Greek), Celtic . . . Lots of good stuff with rich characters and lives to delve into.

That said, my Fate series is based on mythology, too. Not literally, like genuine mythological characters found within The Deep End of the Sea, but more in foundational tones.

Thank you so much for being with us today Heather!

Thank you so much for having me!
Before I get into a long-winded happy dance-a-thon about this book, go check out my review.  Why?  Well here's a quote "In so many ways I loved this book and I fully recommend to not only those into Greek mythology, but anyone looking for a novel about a girl who overcomes the traumas of her past to forge a much much brighter future."

About the Author

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.