This month’s interview is with Coreena McBurnie, the author of Prophecy! Prophecy is a YA historical fiction set in Ancient Greece. Here is the synopsis:
A hidden prophecy. A chosen princess who speaks with snakes. A family duty. Sixteen-year-old Princess Antigone, daughter of the infamous ancient Greek King Oedipus, wants to lead a normal life and fulfill her duty to the gods, her city, and her family, but fate has other plans. The Olympian gods bless her, the snakes talk to her, her parents want her to marry a foreign prince, her embroidery looks like burial shrouds for dogs, and she has fallen in love with the wrong boy. When the mysterious and devastating prophecies surrounding her family are revealed, Antigone must choose where her allegiance lies: With the gods who have betrayed her family but whom she is obliged to serve? With her plague-ridden city? With her family which lies in ruins? Or with herself?
Now onto the interview!
What type of books do you write? Tell us a little about them.
I write books based in Greek mythology. My current book is called Prophecy and is a young adult historical fiction about Antigone, sixteen year old princess of Thebes and daughter of King Oedipus (who killed his father and married his mother). Antigone is torn between her duty to her family, the gods, and to what she wants for herself.
What’s your favorite book that you’ve written?
Prophecy is my first published novel and I absolutely love it. I love the character of Antigone, how strong she is, but also how fallible.
Are any of your characters based off of yourself or people in real life?
Mostly, no, because I take characters from ancient Greek myth, no one is specifically based off anyone I know. However, certain characteristics are there from people in real life, like a blending of people together to create someone new.
What got you into writing and how long have you been doing it?
I have been writing novels for about seven years now. Before that I dabbled in poetry, but it took me a long time to feel like I could write a novel. It always seemed like a huge, insurmountable obstacle until I actually tried it.
[My comment: That’s how I feel! I started with short stories but was too intimidated to write an actual novel. But I’m seriously considering it!]
Do you have a strict writing schedule or just write when you feel like it?
I don’t have a strict schedule because I really value being flexible. However, I do try and write or edit every day, even just for a little while. Sometimes I have to break up my writing into several smaller chunks of time each day.
Have you done NaNoWriMo?
YES! I absolutely love NaNoWriMo. This is what gave me the impetus to actually write a novel. I love the whole philosophy of writing bad first drafts, but getting them written, then editing later. It really speaks to me.
I am a part of a creative group where I live called The Muse Guild. All of these people inspire me — especially with how they work towards their creative goals with baby steps when necessary and big leaps at other times. Creativity and inspiration can come from so many places, from flower arranging, to painting, to stained glass, to collage, to photographing nature. I’ve learned that the important thing is to find something that excites you and to explore it.
If any of your books could be made into a movie/TV show, do you have a preference for directors and/or actors? How about soundtrack composers?
I haven’t thought about this very much, but I could see Jennifer Lawrence as Antigone, maybe Johnny Depp as Oedipus?
[My comment: Those are two of my favorite actors of all time! I’d definitely see it. (:]
Any writing tips or advice?
Take baby steps when necessary. Even fifteen minutes of work a day adds up eventually. I remember hearing an interview with Maeve Binchy one time and she said that she wrote ten pages a day and had a new novel every year. And write terrible first drafts, but write them because you can edit bad writing but you can’t edit blank pages. Also, you need to learn to trust yourself. Everyone has advice and many people with try to “make you see reality” when it comes to writing (or any creative endeavour) — but it is important to remember to dream and go with your gut as well.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would love to fly. Flying feels so free and it would be fun to go anywhere I wanted. And not to have to deal with traffic!
[My comment: I’d pick flying as well!]
If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?
I would travel! I would also do practical things like set up trust funds for my kids, but I would also love to see more of the world. Then I’d make a hefty donation to NaNoWriMo because they’ve done so much to inspire confidence in me as a writer and I think they do a lot of good in breaking down creative barriers to so many.
[My comment: I would definitely travel more too. And I would buy a nice house with a big library and lots of books to fill it up.]
Dogs or cats (or both?)
That’s tough because I’ve had and loved both. I think if I had more space I’d have a dog again, but I am partial to cats. They are fun and independent at the same time.
[My comment: I agree. I am definitely a cat person, but I’ve grown to like dogs in the past few years.]
Thanks so much for the interview, Coreena! It was lovely having you.
If you, reader, would like to be interviewed on my blog as well, check out this post! I have questions for you to answer and email to me. You could be next! (: