Goddess

Goddess - Callista Hunter

We all have that moment growing up when we realize that life is not as we once thought it to be. Whether it's learning that Santa Claus doesn't exist or realizing that your history textbooks aren't really all that accurate, or even just learning that your parents are capable of making mistakes, we all reach an age when we're forced to think for ourselves. 

In her book, Goddess, Callista Hunter takes that idea and adds mythology and a tinge of romance to portray this very scenario. Young Olivia learns that much of what she's held dear up to this point in her life has been a hoax. 

What follows is innocent fun as she begins to explore the world that her eyes have been opened to. The story telling is charming and lighthearted even though the characters are put through some difficult times. 

Several moments made me chuckle and others made me cringe for poor Olivia. But this is a part of growing up: the awkwardness of learning what rules we want to simply bend and the ones we want to completely obliterate. 

Overall an excellent read. Very well written with in depth character development, beautiful imagery, and a fun plot that will leave a smile on your face. 


Some Bio Information

Callista Hunter is a librarian and first-time author who loves fantasy and YA fiction. She has studied Latin poetry and is fascinated by the mythology of ancient Rome. Her first novel, Goddess, was published in January 2015.

Callista lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, her garden, and a whole lot of adorable bunnies and squirrels. She has a background in science and technology, and has worked as a journalist for a library publication. Her personal library includes a complete collection of Nancy Drew novels and an entire bookshelf devoted to Jane Austen.

Callista can be found on Twitter as @AuthorCallista. You can also follow her on Pinterest where she is currently collecting inspiration for her next novel, as well as planning her ultimate trip itinerary for touring classical Greece. She blogs at www.callistahunter.com.


Q&A

1. Was there a deciding point in your life when you realized you wanted to become an author?

No! I never wanted to become an author. I had this idea for a book that I really liked, and all of a sudden I was writing it “just for fun.” Then people encouraged me to publish it… then I had an editor, a cover designer, and all this marketing to do – this happened to me out of nowhere! It was a classic case of “attack novel.” 

I just got an idea for a book I was really excited about, and I thought, I really want to read that book… and there was no one to write it but me!

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

Because my novel attacked me, writing it was really easy. I just stole every couple of free hours I could find, sat down with my computer, and it all came together. I have to admit that I did a lot of outlining in my head on my way to work. Hopefully it did not make my driving any worse than usual!

Then of course, getting the feedback from critique partners and making revisions was a bit harder, because there are always little problems to be solved. My basic methodology was to mope around the house in despair until I got an idea, and then get really excited and do a whole lot of revising all at once.

3. What inspired you to write this book?

I was on a plane and had just finished the book I was reading, and was just feeling sorry for myself because I was between YA series (and I do love them so).  I started thinking about how authors come up with the plots for their books, and I started making notes and diagramming things. I think it’s really important that a book has a theme and an underlying point – not a preachy one, but something to tie the story arc together. For example, the Harry Potter series is so obviously about racism and World War II and the historical parallel. 

I had actually just finished The Feminine Mystique - and everyone should read it, by the way. The underlying plot for Goddess was really stolen from that book. Betty Friedan writes about how post-WWII advertising very craftily and intentionally promoted the idea that women belong in the home, and are most fulfilled when their lives revolve around their homes. I started thinking about historical parallels, and I thought of the Vestal Virgins, an ancient Roman priesthood where women tended to the “hearth of the nation.” There seemed like a connection there, with the added ick factor of the concept that virgin women are somehow more special or holier than others.

I really liked the idea of a main character who at first fully believed in those ideas, and then discovered that they were a complete hoax to keep women in line. My main character has to confront and ultimately undermine those ideas in order to reach her full potential. (Down with the patriarchy! Ha-ha.) 

4. What fictional character do you most identify with?

I will say that my main character, Olivia, owes a little to Fanny Price from Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. At the beginning, Olivia wants nothing more than to be the good girl and play by the rules, totally blind to the stupidity of the behavioral requirements she has to follow. That’s very core to her personality. I definitely grew up wanting to conform to all the gender expectations that were placed on me as well. Of course, when I finally realized all the dumb crap that goes on where gender is concerned, I became extremely ornery. (Although Fanny Price never went through an ornery phase, Austen definitely intended to express her dissatisfaction with the situation on Fanny’s fictional behalf.)

5. Who’s your favorite author? 

In truth, my favorite author is Austen. I read her books over and over again. But I grew up on YA and also read my Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, and all the YA classics again every chance I get.

6. Can you describe your writing style? 

I try to keep my writing as simple as possible, while avoiding as much cliché as I can. It comes naturally to me to write in first person. I don’t have an MFA or any real prior experience with creative writing, so I don’t have any illusions that I’m writing great literature or using all these fantastic metaphors. I just want to be as simple as possible so as not to get between my reader and the story. And I want the voices of my characters to be authentic. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

I recently got a review on Amazon, and the title of it was “cute and entertaining.” Another one said, simply, “amusing.” I’m most proud of those two titles! I write to amuse. If someone was genuinely entertained by my lighthearted book, that’s all I’m after. I hope to make people laugh and leave them with a smile.