Introduction to Luciana Cavallaro
It was my pleasure to interview Luciana Cavallaro, an exciting new author of ACCURSED WOMEN, which retells the stories of five legendary women.
Luciana grew up in the small town in Western Australia. The first in her family to attain a university degree, she taught in government and private schools. Her passion for mythology and Ancient History was ignited upon seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, her inspiration to write Historical Fantasy was born. She has traveled extensively to Greece and Italy— the inspiration for her stories. After working as a teacher in high schools, she decided to fulfill her life-long ambition of being an author and storyteller.
Luciana has completed writing two unpublished novels in the SERVANT OF THE GODS series and has published several short stories which are available on Amazon and Smashwords.
Interview Luciana Cavallaro
What was your inspiration for retelling the five stories of the following legendary women in ACCURSED WOMEN: Phaedra, Helen of Sparta, Hera, Pandora, and Medousa?
Luciana: The idea for Aphrodite’s Curse came after I read Euripides’ play called Hippolytus. I knew Phaedra was one of Ariadne’s siblings but didn’t know much more about her. I read as much as I could on the character wanting to learn more, but there wasn’t a lot of information on her. So I thought why not write a story from her point of view. She was a relatively unknown character from mythology and I decided this was a great opportunity to give her a voice. I published the short story as an ebook and it wasn’t until a month or so later I had an epiphany and inspired to write stories of women/goddesses whose reputation was tarnished by either events or circumstance. It was a great journey of exploration and I am grateful to tell their stories.
One of the unique aspects of ACCURSED WOMEN is that each story is told by a different storyteller, including a historian and a talk show host. Did you have a special purpose for retelling these myths from the perspective of various storytellers?
Luciana: I wanted to present the stories in a different light and perspective. Three of the storytellers are male, a deliberate choice as the writers of the day were mainly men who did not paint women in a favourable light. Drake Drabbler in the A Goddess’ Curse did try to emulate the naysayers of the past but I think Hera won that battle. I loved the idea of a talk show host and wanted to write a more contemporary story of the myth of Hera and in a familiar setting.
The monologue was an interesting methodology as I had many readers respond saying they didn’t like Phaedra but really enjoyed the story and could understand her actions. The Curse of Troy was inspired by Herodotos. Not only did he give crucial details about Helen not going to Ilios but I wanted to pay tribute to the first travel journalist. The historian is loosely based on Herodotos, though he never did meet Helen. With Boxed in a Curse I wanted a familial approach to one of the oldest myths in Greek mythology and the origins of the Golden Race orated by Hesiod. The poet did not like women! I also thought it would be a nice way to draw connections between the past and present. Cursed by Treachery was experimental and to be honest I wasn’t sure it was going to work. It was challenging to write a story in retrospect and one I will attempt again. It forced me to consider the actions of the “hero” Perseus and the “villain” Medousa. What led to her transformation and why did it happen?
Each of the short stories in ACCURSED WOMEN present a more favorable perspective of these legendary women from what had been written in the original myths. Was this your intent in rewriting these tales?
Luciana: At the time I thought it would be more thought-provoking to write the stories and present the characters in a sympathetic way yet (and hoped to achieve) make them credible. Real women with issues which today’s generation can either empathise or at least comprehend their actions. I was asked once whether rewriting these familiar and famous characters was a daunting prospect. Even if you haven’t read Greek Mythology most people would have heard of Helen, Pandora and Medousa. At the time no, but once I had finished and published the stories, then it hit me people/readers may not appreciate what I have written. What I hoped to achieve was to make the stories accessible for everyone to read and enjoy.
Some of the short stories have different twists from the original myths. Of particular note is Helen of Sparta from The Iliad. Were these twists based on other historical written accounts?
Luciana: Helen’s story was based on a passage from Herodotos’ Histories on his travels to Egypt. He was told by Egyptian priests how Paris’ ship ran into bad weather on his way from Sparta with Helen on board. The ship was forced to land in Egypt. Paris leaves Helen in Egypt after being denounced by his slaves and the King of Egypt charges him with offences of abduction and stealing from Menelaos. Herodotos even references Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey which indicates Helen was not in Troy during the war. This information can be found in Book Two of the Histories and does lend credence to Herodotos’ theory.
As for the other four short stories, they weren’t based on any historical account. It was my version of telling their stories in a different way or rather, how they wanted their story told.
You are currently writing novels in the Servant of the Gods series. Could you give a teaser as to what these stories are about?
Luciana: The series is about the Greek gods and their impending dissolution. To avert the coming of a new religion they set their children on a quest to recover ancient relics of the Mother Goddess. I have a blurb for book one: THE GOLDEN SERPENT. I hope it’s okay with you if I add it here Linnea and would love to hear what your followers think. It is a work in progress. I haven’t posted it on my blog as yet and your followers are the first to read it.
THE GOLDEN SERPENT
When is a dream not a dream?
What if you’re born during another time grew up in the 21st century and thrust back into the past? Confused? So is Evan Chronis.
One morning he woke up drenched and smelling like he’d been swimming in the ocean. Plagued by strange dreams, sleepless nights and visions Evan seeks the help of a sleep specialist to find a solution. All seems to go well…
Then one night, drawn by screams he ventures out onto the back veranda and sees blood trickling down the limestone steps. He follows the trail down into the garden and as his foot touches the cool grass, he vanishes.
It’s not where he appears, it’s when.
There is no future and no past, just the present.
Thank you Linnea for having me and it’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Order ACCURSED WOMEN: http://www.amazon.com/Accursed-Women-Luciana-Cavallaro-ebook/dp/B00H28TYNWcU
Customer Reviews ACCURSED WOMEN: http://www.amazon.com/Accursed-Women-Luciana-Cavallaro-ebook/product-reviews/B00H28TYNW/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt/178-4288540-6592459?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
Visit Luciana Cavallaro’s Official Website: http://luccav.com/
ACCURSED WOMEN, by Luciana Cavallaro, Trailer