Hello everyone! Hope you are having a good week so far. Today I would like your help in welcoming author Marie Savage to The Maiden's Court! Take a moment to read the interview where we discuss her new release Oracles of Delphi, her writing process, and what we might be able to expect next.
What led you to write a mystery novel? Have you an avid mystery reader?
Oracles of Delphi was actually inspired by something my sister, who is a nurse, said to me. We were standing at the top of the Delphi site at the stadion looking out across the valley below us and she turned to me and said something like, “Imagine you are a young woman living in Delphi and there is a murder. Because you are a healer with an inquisitive streak, you know something about the body and you think that if only you could examine it, you could maybe find out who was the murderer. But because you’re a woman, no one will listen to you, no one will take you seriously.”
And so we as we walked back down the path, we began playing with story ideas and I spent much of the time on the flight back home jotting down ideas. The story changed dramatically since that day, but that’s how it got started.
I come from a family of avid readers and will read anything with words on it. I love mysteries, but I also love thrillers and literary fiction and sci-fi and have published a YA/scifi trilogy with my daughters. The first two in the Seeds Trilogy are already out--The Sowing and The Reaping as well as The Prelude, and a novella about one of the fan-favorite characters—and we’re working on The Harvest now.
You have traveled to Greece while writing your novel. How did this contribute to your writing? What was your favorite place to visit and why?
I’ve been to Greece a number of times because my mother-in-law is Greek. On her father’s side, the family is from a village in the mountains near Olympia and on her mother’s side, the family is from around Gythio, which is the historical port of the Spartans down in the Mani. There’s a tiny island, now connected to the mainland, which you can see from our porch and which is, legend has it, where Helen and Paris spent their first night together after fleeing Menelaus.
Greece is so beautiful I would be hard pressed to name a favorite place. I haven’t spent much time in the islands, but I would have to say that Delphi and the little village of Arachova, which is a ski resort, are definite favorites. Of course, I love spending time in Athens, but “home” is in the Mani and I love the rugged countryside and my daughters love the idea that their heritage could be Spartan. Of course, the family is more likely to have been helots, or Spartan serfs, but one can dream, right? The Menelaion is a particular spot that I love that is hidden away on a hilltop outside Sparta and that offers an expansive view of the valley below.
When you are supposed to be writing or otherwise working on your novel, what is the biggest distraction for you?
As an editor and publisher running a traditional press as well as helping authors self-publish through my company Treehouse Author Services and working on the Seeds Trilogy with my daughters, there is always something else that needs to get done. I do all the editing for Blank Slate Press as well as all the cover design and interior layout and so I’m always putting my own writing last.
What has the publishing process been like for you? Have you found anything particularly challenging or surprisingly easy?
It is terribly hard for me to actually get started writing and then when I do, I have to force myself to not edit as I go. If left to my own devices, I could rewrite a single sentence a thousand times before moving on to the next. That’s no way to get to “The End.” As for the challenges, I have one word: PROOFREADING. I am a terrible proofreader and value those who can see the minutiae instead of getting caught up in the story. That said, I don’t think I can remember the last time I read a book in which I didn’t find at least one error.
Was there a historical tidbit that you had to cut from your novel that you could share with us?
Ah…so much! Oracles takes place at a time of great change—Althaia is about the same age as Alexander of Macedon so Athen’s days are behind her and Macedon is growing in power. There were so many great philosophical debates going on that I could have had my characters arguing religion and politics until my readers went to sleep.
Are you working on any new projects that you can share?
I’ve outlined the next mystery for Althaia and her crew to tackle and it takes place back in Athens and centers on all that political intrigue and debate about whether or not to make peace with Philip of Macedon. And, my daughters and I are planning on getting the third in our Seeds trilogy out early in 2016. Plus, I’m working with wonderful and amazing authors and have two historical fiction novels coming out in the spring—one a post-World War II mystery set in the South and the other a rich and amazing tale that is the first in the Odd Tangle-Hair Saga featuring a wonderful Icelandic young man who becomes tangled up in political intrigue from Norway to Istanbul. Oooooh! I can’t wait for everyone to read these two!
Marie Savage is the pen name of Kristina Marie Blank Makansi who always wanted to be a Savage (her grandmother’s maiden name) rather than a Blank. She is co-founder and publisher of Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press in St. Louis, and founder of Treehouse Author Services. Books she has published and/or edited have been recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, the British Kitchie awards, and others. She serves on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri Writers Guild. Along with her two daughters, she has authored The Sowing and The Reaping (Oct. 2014), the first two books of a young adult, science fiction trilogy. Oracles of Delphi, is her first solo novel.
"All Althaia wants on her trip to Delphi is to fulfill her father’s last wish. Finding the body of a woman in the Sacred Precinct is not in her plans. Neither is getting involved in the search for the killer, falling for the son of a famous priestess, or getting pulled into the ancient struggle for control of the two most powerful oracles in the world. But that’s what happens when Theron, Althaia’s tutor and a man with a reputation for finding the truth, is asked to investigate. When a priest hints that Theron himself may be involved, Althaia is certain the old man is crazy — until Nikos, son of a famous priestess, arrives with an urgent message. Theron’s past, greedy priests, paranoid priestesses, prophecies, and stolen treasures complicate the investigation, and as Althaia falls for Nikos, whose dangerous secrets hold the key to the young woman’s death, she discovers that love often comes at a high price and that the true meaning of family is more than a bond of blood."
You can follow along with the rest of the tour by visiting the HFVBT site or on Twitter with the following hashtags: #OraclesofDelphiBlogTour or #AlthaiaofAthensMystery.
Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court