Welcome to my stop on the Nymph blog tour. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Tonya Alexandra. A big thank you to Tonya for taking the time to answer my questions, and what great answers they are.
Before we get into the interview, here’s a little information about the book:
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An idyllic Greek island. Obsessed demigods. A fallen nymph. A mortal boy. Merope, a beautiful but faded star nymph, is banished to Earth for displeasing the gods. She tries to fit in, go to school and live a normal “human” life. And then she meets Lukas … but relationships between men and goddesses are forbidden. Will their love grow? Or will Merope and Lukas feel the wrath of the gods?
I really enjoyed this book. You can see just how much here.
And without further ado, here is my interview with Tonya:
1. Nymph is a story about a star nymph from Greek mythology. I fell in love with Greek mythology when I learnt the stories at school and then even more by watching Hercules and Xena on T.V. Where did your love of Greek Mythology come from? (And just out of curiosity, did you happen to watch those T.V shows?)
My grandparents loved Greece and anything associated with it. When I was a child they would tell me tales of sailing in the Greek islands, my grandfather pointed out the stars and explained the myths, they even named their sailing boat Andromeda. (A maiden chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster, Cetus. Don’t worry Perseus saved and married her.)
My grandparents have always been very special to me and my grandmother passed away recently. I’ve acknowledged them in the back of Nymph – it’s the best tribute I can think of.
As for Xena, my parents were kind of hippies, so I didn’t watch much TV growing up. I missed Xena completely! I should try and find some episodes.
2. Do you have a favourite Greek god or goddess, or a Greek myth that you love?
I have too many! I think Eris, the goddess of strife and chaos is cool. She wasn’t invited to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus so she snuck in and put a golden apple on the table between Aphrodite, Athena and Hera with the words ‘For the most beautiful’. The biggest catfight of the world began, all three goddess believed the apple belonged to them, so Zeus called on Paris, a Trojan prince, to make a ruling (because he was too frightened to!) Paris chose Aphrodite, which resulted in her awarding him the most beautiful mortal in the world, Helen, which caused the Trojan War. So Eris not only ruined the wedding, she cause a war. Talk about chaos!
In regards to my books, my favourite god is Hermes. I’ve made him a little bit cheeky and his house is the party house on Olympus. He is also the god of literature and writing so how could it be anyone else?
3. I loved all the characters in Nymph, but Heracles has to be one of my favourites. Which of the characters is your favourite?
Yay! I’m so glad you like Heracles. He’s my favourite too. My editor isn’t a fan of Herc and I had a hard time convincing her it was okay for Herc to be so arrogant. His macho stuff is hiding his vulnerable side and I’m loving letting him self-actualise throughout the series.
4. Both Merope and Heracles had me laughing out loud as as they tried to fit in with us mortals, was there a particular character that you loved writing the most? That was the most fun to write?
Again, Heracles because he is so clueless. But I also love Eleni because she has spunk and is the ultimate BFF. She would give Zeus a real talking to for hassling Merope and Lukas, if she had the chance.
5. Are you able to share a little about what’s going to happen in Heavenly Longing, book two in the Love Oracles?
For sure. I’m excited about book two because it is set on Earth and Mount Olympus so I got to imagine what Olympian society would be like. Merope is trapped in the heavens but she is not just pining for Lukas; she is becoming stronger, questioning her old nymph life, standing up to the gods and goddesses around her. She is a goddess in love and she’s causing quite a stir! Lukas too, comes into his own as his love for Merope has him pitted against gods and monsters as he attempts to rescue her.
And now for a few writing questions:
6. Are you a plotter or a panster ( As in, do you write as you go) ?
I have a general idea of what should happen in a chapter, then I just let the characters talk it out. For example, I had the idea that Herc and Con should go shopping, but that was it. I put them on the pier and they wandered off and into town and things just happened; the credit card incident, the coming across the Nike shoes, it just wrote itself.
7. Do you like to listen to music when you write? If so, are there any particular songs you listened to while writing Nymph?
Music inspires me, while writing Heavenly Longing I remember listening to the classic ‘Take another little piece of my heart’ by Erma Franklin, and it made me think – this is exactly how Elektra would feel. And it pumped my up to write a chapter about her, and basically understand her character more.
But when I write I need silence. I wear industrial headphones when my three sons are in the house!
8. Since this is your debut and I love hearing road to publication stories, can you tell us a bit about how you became published?
I never thought I could write a full novel – my stories always dried up after about twenty pages – but then I had the idea for nymph and that changed. Suddenly it was impossible not to write. To be honest, there is little I prefer to do than sit at my desk with a (really good) coffee and write.
I read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and saw that he wrote like ten books before he got one picked up by an agent, so I didn’t think I’d be fortunate enough to have Nymph published. My aim was to pump out a few books and get better at it.
At the same time I went to courses at NSW Writers Centre and the Australian Writers Centre. I went to writers festivals. I joined the local branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Basically I absorbed myself in the industry. At one of the courses I met the guest speaker Sarah Foster, the publisher at Walker Books and I built up the nerve to send her something. She liked the concept and asked for the three book plan. Walker have helped me a lot in this process. I was such a newbie and they’ve put time and effort into teaching me, I’ll never forget that.
9. And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read more. And more. Look at the structure of brilliant writer’s books from the big picture to the finest sentence details.
Support the industry, join a writer’s group, go to festivals, and buy books from bookstores.
Do it because you love it. It is possible. But being published is not everything, loads of unpublished writers are really good.
Thank you for joining me on the blog today, Tonya, and answering my questions, I really appreciate it. I’m glad we were still able to meet Heracles since your editor didn’t like him so much, I can’t wait to read more of his story in book 2.
There are plenty more stops on the tour so why not check them out?
Monday 17th March – Happy Indulgence
Tuesday 18th March – Nice Girls Read Books
Wednesday 19th March – Treasured Tales for Young Adults
Thursday 20th March – Thoughts by J
Friday 21st March – whY.A.not Reviews
Saturday 22nd March – Inside my Worlds: R.L. Sharpe (that’s me *waves*)
Sunday 23rd March – Diva Booknerd
Monday 24th March – The Bookish Manicurist
Tonya Alexandra always needed to be a writer. She needed words to capture her imaginings and to fully express herself. So she studied communications at university, did a PR job in Prague and worked as a Marketing Assistant at an educational publisher. She knew she wanted to write but didn t know how. After being a marketing guru for an internet start-up and a web content producer for Adobe, Tonya went on to study publishing and editing at Macleay College. She has since written travel articles for magazines and newspapers such The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Nymph is her first novel.