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Interview with Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

And now for a fun interview with the coauthors of the cute sounding Goddess Girls series! Stay tuned for a special Goddess Girls giveaway later this week.

Why did you decide to write about Greek mythology, particularly four of its major goddesses?

Joan: I’m a history fanatic and a museum addict, and I’ve always been partial to Greco-Roman mythology (and Egyptian). One thing that was a little tricky about the Goddess Girls series is that since we were writing from the Greek myth perspective, we focused only on Greek goddesses—Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis. So, even though the Roman Diana is arguably the more famous goddess of hunting, we went with the Greek version, Artemis. Both goddesses of love/beauty are pretty well known. We went with Greek Aphrodite, rather than the Roman goddess, Venus.

Suzanne: Greek myths contain some wonderful stories but a lot of adult content. Since our goddesses and our readers are tweens, one challenge we faced was adapting these stories to make them age appropriate. We imagined the personalities and predicaments of our young goddessgirls and godboys based on their mythical adult counterparts.

Out of all the goddesses you wrote about, which is your favorite and why?

Suzanne: Persephone. What girl doesn’t struggle to come to terms with who she really is, what she really thinks, and how she wants to live her life? And the ever-tricky mother-daughter relationship is something all girls must learn to navigate.

Joan: Athena. She’s brainy, determined, and she’s the favorite daughter of Zeus. Athena’s discovery that the principal and king of the gods is actually her father really throws her at the beginning of book #1, and she has to work through her feelings toward Zeus, who basically abandoned her when she was a baby. The Zeus character was awesome to write. As principal of Mount Olympus Academy, he’s powerful and a little frightening, but quirky and funny. Who wouldn’t be a little bit ‘off’ with a wife who’s a fly living in his head?

Suzanne: If your readers are wondering which goddess they’re like, I created a “Which Goddessgirl are You” quiz on my July 10, 2009 blog at
Oddly enough, Joan turned out to be a Persephone and I turned out to be an Athena—the reverse of what we’d expected.

What part of writing these novels did you enjoy the most?

Joan: I’d say the research. My shelf of mythology reference books got plenty of use during the writing of these books. I also particularly enjoyed writing the friendships between the girls. My bff and I met when we were eleven, and I well remember the angst and joys of these years.

Suzanne: Ditto. The myths provided great inspiration for character personalities and plots. Writing scenes and dialogue that explore the intricacies of friendship—often in a humorous way—was especially fun for me.

What is one unusual thing you learned while writing the Goddess Girls series?

Suzanne: Hephaestus marries Aphrodite in mythology, but she cheats on him with Ares. (That’s not something we used in our plot, however!)

Joan: The myth of Orion and Artemis was new to me. They had a little crush. It makes sense, considering that the constellation Orion is also known as ‘The Hunter’ and archery is what Artemis is all about. She’s a whiz at a game the goddessgirls play in a magical forest, in which they hunt holographic beasts.

What is the most rewarding part of being a tween author?

Joan: The light romances between some of these hunky godboys and the goddessgirls, and the way girls relate to one another, both fascinate me. Girls can be loyal friends, and then there are the other kind—the meanies. Take Medusa, for instance. Very snakey. I think I knew her in 7th grade.

Suzanne: I agree. And the scenes with bits of magic—the winged sandals, the animated makeup brush, the spells the girls use, for example—were lots of fun, too. I only wish I’d had those things at my disposal as a tween!

12 munch(es) :

Joan Holub said...

Just dropping by to say thanks for having us here today, Book Muncher! I'm actually munching brunch this morning at a friend's house and will be checking in throughout the day. Have a good one!

Joan Holub

Suzanne Williams said...

Yes, thanks Book Muncher. I'll check in several times, too. Now I'm off to the kitchen to scare up some breakfast. (It's early for me--I'm on west coast time!)

Suzanne Williams said...

P.S. Here's a more direct link to that Goddessgirl quiz. (The first link will take you to it, but you'll have to scroll down a bit.)The dedication contest is over, of course, but you can still take the quiz:


Barbara Jean Hicks said...

This series sounds like so much fun--wish I'd thought of it first. :-) P.S. Turns out I'm half Persephone and half Athena... Fun quiz!

Joan Holub said...

Suzanne! Good to see you here.

Barbara, you too! I enjoyed your blog tour for Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli, and it inspired us to create our own tour.

BookMuncher, I just got my box of Goddess Girls books (Athena and Persephone) from our Aladdin editor about two days ago, so I'm ready with the prizes and looking forward to seeing who wins your giveaway.

The brunch this morning was a blast. Easter egg hunt for the children, and a 16th birthday scavenger hunt for my friend's son, which led him all over the neighborhood and beyond, and back to home to the gift of a used car--his first. A great way to begin the day.

Happy spring everyone!

Suzanne Williams said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the quiz, Barbara! I'm having a very quiet Easter at home, though my son and daughter-in-law were here for dinner last night. I did a yoga routine an hour ago and had lunch. My husband played in a brass group (trombone) for an Easter service in Seattle this morning and just now got home.

Emily Allen said...

These books look interesting.I'll take a look. Thank u for the interview.

Suzanne Williams said...

Thanks, Emily. You're welcome!

Joan Holub said...

Thanks for dropping by, Emily!

And thanks again for having us as guests today, Book Muncher!

Chris Schaefer said...

Enjoyed reading your interview, Suzanne and Joan. I love what I've seen and heard of your Goddess Girl series. I've always loved classical mythology and this is such a great way to spark the interest in young readers, perfect for tweens!

Arya said...

Wow those books sound so fun! I just adore Greek Mythology! The goddess quiz is fabulous!

Suzanne Williams said...

Thanks, Chris and Arya! Joan and I really appreciate you dropping by.

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