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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Forged by Fate

Today I'm happy to welcome one of my longtime blog and writerly pals, Amalia Dillin, to talk about her debut novel, Forged by Fate. I'll also be giving away a copy of Forged by Fate to one lucky commenter on this post through Saturday, March 30th!

1. This novel is a really unique take on a very old story. What inspired you to combine the various eras you did in Forged by Fate?

Any story with Eve as a protagonist kind of begs for a retelling of Creation – but from the start, she was always a woman who would be reborn, generation after generation, life after life, hop-scotching from one historical event to another. It was impossible for Eve to be *every* woman of importance in history, and improbable that she would be, even if they all worked out, chronologically, but some seemed more likely than others. For example, her roles as Moses’s mother, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, made perfect sense. But some of it is also just the periods and cultures I find interesting, like the Nordic Bronze Age – I believe in writing about the things I love, first and foremost, and that includes history!

2. What did you find to be the hardest thing about combining gods from so many different world mythologies?

Managing their egos and finding a way to fit them all together in a way which allowed for the world to actually survive. How do the gods work things out behind the scenes? Who decides which pantheon gets which land mass? Do they divide the world up into specific territories, or do the areas they govern depend upon people spreading the faith? These are impossibly powerful individuals – if two gods who control the sun decide to get territorial, nobody on earth is going to win. But you know there had to be conflicts, and there had to be a system in place for those conflicts to be addressed, and then there are the gods of trickery, mischief, and deceit, trying to break the rules, upset the balance, and get their own way at the expense of everyone else…

3. There are so many memorable characters in this novel--which was your favorite to write?

I love Thor. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me. But I love him as a hero because he’s impossibly powerful, a god, but still flawed. His virtues are also his greatest faults – loyalty becomes blindness, honor becomes a cage, a reason for inaction in the face of suffering. I love him, because the more I wrote, the more real he became to me, and the more I understood why this was a god that people worshipped, and why he was so, so well-loved among the common people.

That said, Adam really grew on me over the course of the trilogy, too.

4. Ancient history tends to have been written by men, but there are many stories and myths from around the world that include strong women. (I'm a big fan of Athena myself). Which is your favorite of these stories and why?

In history, I think the women who impress me most are the Greeks – when in spite of the cultural repression, they still managed to get their names into history. Women like the Spartan Queen, Gorgo, for example, who isn’t just mentioned, but mentioned and acclaimed for her wisdom in a time when women were really not thought well of, as reasonable beings.

Among the myths – I have a hard time choosing. I think Hippodamia, the wife of Pirithous, is a fascinating character, because she’s “kin” to the centaurs. The possibilities that offers for fiction are really interesting, and I recently wrote a novella about her marriage to Pirithous, so it’s fresh in my mind. But I also find the story of Helen of Troy to be… something.

I guess this is my problem with women in myth – so often, they are the reason for conflict and trouble and the people at fault. These aren’t “damsels in distress” even, they’re women who are perceived as CAUSING problems, sometimes even purposely. But the blame is most often placed on them. Europa is at fault for her rape by Zeus for climbing onto the back of a strange bull and wandering away from her friends to begin with. Helen is at fault for running away with Paris, and staying with him, abandoning both her people and her daughter in the process. Even Theseus’ Amazon wife is at fault for abandoning her people, betraying her vows, and marrying him, and that choice causes a war. Outside of Classical Myth, the Saga of the Volsungs (maybe more legend than myth but still) is full of women who go about making trouble for everyone involved, agents of murder and mayhem in the name of family honor, or personal honor.

There are these sparks of personality and principle that are so quickly snuffed out with some kind of punishment. Ariadne helps Theseus escape the labyrinth, betraying her people and family, then is abandoned on the island of Naxos, or else she helped Theseus to escape Crete and return to Dionysus, and betrayed Theseus, if you want a slightly better spin, or else Theseus abandoned her because of Dionysus or completely on accident – no matter how you tell it, she is either punished for her betrayal by betrayal, or in the best of circumstances, is the betrayer, straight up – but what was going on in Crete that made going against her father and her people the BETTER choice? We don’t know, not really. And that’s what makes them compelling as characters around which one could write a book, but otherwise…

These are hard women to love, and the goddesses are maybe even worse.

That said, Athena is a pretty strong and important character in my FATE OF THE GODS trilogy – but not because I love the goddess she is in the myths. For a goddess of Reason and Wisdom, she’s pretty unreasonable and vengeful a lot of the time in those stories. So if she’s known for being wise, why does she so often deviate from that character trait? It makes her a lot more complicated to work with. But in fiction, that’s never a bad thing!

5. What can we next expect from you?

More of the same! Book two of the FATE OF THE GODS trilogy, A FATE FORGOTTEN is coming, followed by the as-yet-untitled book three, with the distinct possibility of some bonus content in between.

And of course there is my blog, wherein people can keep abreast of what I’m working on lately. Usually the topics of my blogposts can point you directly toward what I’m currently writing, since the blog is where I put all my research for later reference.

After Adam fell, God made Eve to protect the world. — Adam has pursued Eve since the dawn of creation, intent on using her power to create a new world and make himself its God. Throughout history, Eve has thwarted him, determined to protect the world and all of creation. Unknown to her, the Norse god Thor has been sent by the Council of Gods to keep her from Adam’s influence, and more, to protect the interests of the gods themselves. But this time, Adam is after something more than just Eve’s power — he desires her too, body and soul, even if it means the destruction of the world. Eve cannot allow it, but as one generation melds into the next, she begins to wonder if Adam might be a man she could love.

Forged by Fate available now, from World Weaver Press!