Author Interview: T.D. Thomas

The Author of this week’s book, T. D. Thomas, graciously took time out of his schedule to answer some questions for us.  If you wanted to know more about the book, here’s your chance!
HERA, QUEEN OF GODS1) Where did your interest in Greek mythology begin?

It began in the solarium of my grandparents’ house when I was growing up. I used to visit my grandparents every summer and every Christmas until my early twenties. While they were busy getting meals ready for the family, I’d sit in their sunroom and read through their old encyclopedia set. (This was long before they’d even heard of the Internet, let alone actually bought a computer.) Because their encyclopaedias were so ancient, most of the information in them was out-of-date, so I tended to drift towards more historical and mythological subjects: topics that don’t go obsolete very quickly. From those humble beginnings in small-town Ontario, a passion (some might say, “obsession”) for mythology was born.

2) Most people wouldn’t think about Hera’s life and transform her into such a sympathetic character. Can you tell us a little bit about why her, and what drew you to her?

I’m a big “underdog” person. I love rooting for the long-shot, the dark horse, and all the myths I read really painted Hera as a villain. But when you dig deeper, you realize she’s not just a mean-spirited tyrant. She had a rough life. Really rough. It was then I realized that, like most “villains,” Hera has her own story to tell, and if you understood things from her perspective, maybe she wouldn’t be such a villain. In fact, maybe she wouldn’t be a villain at all.

3) I enjoyed the inclusion of mortals who can either use magic or have powers outside the gods’ skillset. Dreamers are a big one in this. Do dreamers have a basis in the mythos? Will there be other humans with powers?

I’ve read a bit about lucid dreaming: the idea that people can take control of their dreams when they sleep. That was the genesis for the idea of a “Dreamer” in my world. It’s not from Greek mythology directly, but I think it works well in that setting. Ancient Greeks already had the idea of multiple worlds, or possibly dimensions: they believed in Olympus and Hades. Why not throw in a few extra places (like the Dreamlands) as well? More than that, I really like the idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to people: hence why, in my story, gods take mortal bodies and an ordinary kid could have godlike, Dreamer powers. I wanted to show readers a world where more is hidden than seen, where anything could exist just beneath the surface. 4) Given the cliff-hanger ending, it’s clear this isn’t the only book in the series. What else can we expect from Hera and the other gods? More. You can definitely expect more. :p Hera isn’t one to take defeat lying down. She may be bloodied; she may be bruised; she may even be exhausted, but she has a lot of fight left in her. She’s not going down easy. That said, if she’s going to win in the end against the forces of Chaos, she’ll need a lot of help from new gods and other allies and, who knows? Maybe she’ll need some familiar friends to pitch in again too.

5) Any current projects you’re working on? What’s next in your life as an author?

The sequel to “Hera, Queen of Gods” will be out in October 2013: “Hera, Queen of Mortals.” Then, the hard part will be deciding whether to keep on with the series and write a third installment, or take a break and start fresh with some of the other ideas buzzing around my head. For example, I’ve written the first draft of a novel about a girl who grows up in a mysterious cult, but tries to break free when she realizes the truth about her “family.” Whichever direction I choose, I know I’ll have another urban fantasy novel out in 2014.

When he’s not battling to save Azeroth from its latest calamity, T.D. Thomas lives with six of his closest friends in a tiny house in the frosty north known as Canada. There, they are all ruled over by a little white dog named Teo, who firmly believes he’s a reincarnated Egyptian pharaoh and demands to be treated as such. T.D.’s favourite things include personal space, temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius, and cats who don’t take guff from pretentious little white dogs.

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com

Review: Hera, Queen of Gods

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: Yay!

HERA, QUEEN OF GODSSo to be upfront, I’m not a huge young adult fan. Given the glut of YA that’ve popped out in recent years and the rather unimpressive writing that goes along with them, I tread carefully with YA.

Hera, Queen of Gods follows Hera as she leads a handful of the Olympic gods on Earth as they run after the Fates. Bound in mortal form and with only one power each, the gods must battle against their inner politics, the problems of Olympus, and the forces of darkness as they try to recover one of the most powerful beings around.

The entire story is rife with Greek mythology and its inner workings, and although some of the more intricate details are explained, anyone who isn’t familiar with the pantheon and the more popular parts of Greek mythology should bone up before reading this. It’s not for the Greek-ignorant. While I can understand not wanting to break into the incredibly lengthy and rich past for every character, a few more details here and there would have greatly helped for people who aren’t well-versed in the mythos.

Having said that, Hera is a strong, sympathetic character. As the goddess who’s constantly cheated on and given unhappy circumstances in her personal and professional life (Corralling those gods would be a majorly sucky job, let’s be honest), it’s easy to see how she’s developed the strength of character in adversity, and why she makes some choices. It’s also understandable why the first sign of positive male attention leaves her in a strange, difficult situation. Yes, there’s romantic elements. No, they’re not graphic. They’re quite sweet, so no need for parental concern about sex.

Because of the accelerating timeframe and rapid developments in the plot, the action turnaround is fast and furious. There are some points in the novel that have so many quick switcharounds that I would have appreciated some breathing space to really get into Hera’s head and feel more of her. For a book that has the first person POV, there’s not very much in the way of internal monologue. She feels a bit set apart from the reader, and I Think the book would have been better off as third person for that reason. If we’d had more time and space with her, it would have really used first person to full effect.

Still, this in no way ruins the story, which in and of itself, is fantastic. The mystery of who took the Fates and who the heck is this Justin guy who keeps helping keeps you in suspense throughout. There are consequences for the characters—gods who die and mortals who perish. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and it’s bloody glorious.

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com