Hmmm… you’re making me dig deep right off the bat, huh? How about this: I ended up a lawyer because when I started studying for the GMAT, I realized I’d never be able to do all the math and the LSAT doesn’t have any math on it. How’s that for lazy career choice? (BTW – I still suck at math.)
DESTINED is a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth set in ancient Greece. What drew you to that Greek myth? And did you face any challenges writing a whole book in the setting of Greece?
I majored in classical studies in undergrad, so I read a lot of Greek stories. The story of Cupid & Psyche was always my favorite, and I knew I wanted to retell it when I decided to write. I did have to go back and relearn a lot of details about ancient Greece, but it was fun. I don’t consider research to be a “challenge.”
DESTINED is written from two points of views: Psyche and Eros. Which perspective did you like writing from more, Eros or Psyche (male or female)?
I liked writing Psyche’s story better. Her side is in first person, which I just relate to better and have an easier time writing. Also, I felt like I could understand her more (having never been a guy, and all).
Which character did you find most challenging to write and why? What makes this character so interesting?
I struggled with Aphrodite until close to the last draft. I just kept feeling like she was coming off as some over-dramatic, one-dimensional soap opera star. It was until I decided that she didn’t have to be the harpy everyone makes her out to be that she really came off the page. Now, I love her. She’s still vain and selfish, but you see another side of her too and I’m really pleased with how she turned out.
Greek mythology is fabulous and I couldn’t be happier that there are many stories out with it now. I think DESTINED is different from the rest though in that it is still set in ancient Greece. I wrote it so that it would read like a modern-day story, but tried to leave much of the original setting in tact.
How did your travel experience sculpt your writing style? Did you start writing DESTINED while you were visiting Greece? What was the most memorable location in Greece that made its way into DESTINED?
Actually, there was more than a decade that separated my travel to Greece (1996) and my writing of DESTINED. I did go back and pull out my journal and photos and I used them most when describing Delphi. One of the more obscure places I traveled to that shows up in DESTINED is the Isthmus of Corinth. Of course, they didn’t have a huge channel carved into the rock back in ancient times, but it still marked the division between the Peloponnese and Attica on the mainland of Greece.
Who is your favorite Greek god or goddess?
I’m not sure I can pick a favorite. In the novel, Eros is pretty dreamy, but he has a temper. And of course, he’s already taken. 🙂 Mercury was a super-cool and funny god though. I’d definitely want to be friends with someone like him.
Can you tell us a little about the short story you wrote for IN HIS EYES?
Sure, the story is called “BEFORE” and it’s about the time in Eros’ life before he met Psyche. Unlike his point of view in DESTINED, this story is told from Eros’ first person perspective. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say, Psyche wasn’t the first mortal girl to catch Eros’ eye. This is that story.
You say you love all things paranormal, but you have a certain affinity for vampires. Is there a vampire book in your future? Would you rather read about them instead of writing about them?
Yes, I’ve been a vampire girls since back in days of Ann Rice. I did write one short story called “The Flag” that’s about a vampire girl and her human guardian, but I’m not convinced there’s anything more or different I could really add to the vampire genre. At this point, it’s about been done to death. [If you’re interested, here’s a link to the first part of the story – it’s posted in 3 parts on my blog: Click here.
More than reading vampire stories now, I prefer to watch them. True Blood is really the only TV I watch.
What do you need to start writing? i.e. music, coffee, tea, sweets etc.
Music is a must. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I have my laptop and iTunes, I can write.
By day, Jessie Harrell is an appellate lawyer. By night, she is a wife, mother of two, and author/lover of all things Greek mythology. Jessie is a native Floridian, frustrated world traveler, unrepentant dreamer, lover of acoustic music and not-so-closet geek. Destined, released November 17, 2011, is her first novel. Stay tuned for Beneath the Surface, co-written with the amazing Brooklyn Grant, coming summer 2012.