Name: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
1. Tell us a little about yourself, the authors behind the series.
Joan: First off, hi Ashley, and thanks for having us on your blog! Now for the all about me stuff…I always thought I’d be an illustrator. I began as a graphic designer in advertising, then in children’s publishing in NYC. Then I became a freelance children’s book illustrator. Gradually, I segued into writing full time. I’ve written and/or illustrated over 130 books at this point. Everything from board/novelty books, early readers, picture books, and chapter/MG. I have two cats who hang out in my office and a house lined with bookshelves. I love animals, the outdoors, cookies, and my family.
Suzanne: I was an elementary school librarian before I began writing for children. I’ve published over thirty books now—all fiction— mostly chapter book and middle grade series, but also six picture books (including Library Lil, illus. by Steven Kellogg). I have two grown children, a husband, and one small, yappy dog. I live in the Seattle-area.
2. What is your series about?
The jacket blurb sums it up pretty well: “Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with Goddess Girls. Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.” The stars of the books are the four goddessgirls: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis. Other prominent characters include Medusa (the mean girl), Pandora (Athena’s roommate), the Hero-ology teacher Mr. Cyclops, and the school principal, Zeus. And of course, all those cute godboys!
3. What inspired the series?
Joan: I’m a history fanatic and a museum addict, and I’ve always been partial to Greco-Roman mythology. I really enjoy building these fictional stories on the frameworks of existing mythology as we’ve done in this series. It’s fun to update the stories, but stay true to the myths for the most part. I have a long list of book ideas and book titles. I often start a book or series with only a title, and think…what could that be about. What if this happened or that happened? That’s how Goddess Girls was born.
Suzanne: Since our goddesses and our readers are ‘tweens we adapted the myths to make them “age appropriate.” It was fun to imagine the personalities and predicaments of our young goddessgirls and godboys based on their mythical adult counterparts.
4. What does your series mean to you?
Suzanne: Interesting question, Ashley. One that I’m unsure how to answer, but I’ll take a stab at it. The series means that I get to work with Joan, which is lots of fun. It also means that I’m learning more about Greek mythology than I ever knew before. It means that Joan and I get lovely fan letters from girls who are enjoying the series, and—so far—that we’ve gotten to write/are writing four more GG books beyond the four we were originally contracted to do.
Joan: It is fun to have an ongoing series that means I get to chat with my pal Suzanne all the time and call it work. We like getting inside these goddessgirls’ heads and wondering why they act the way they do. All these girls are labeled in mythology. Athena is the brainy goddessgirl; Aphrodite is the beautiful one who knows all about love. What do these labels mean to them? Are they sure of themselves? How would I act in their shoes? If I were Artemis the brave huntress, for instance, I’m not sure I’d feel brave in every situation.
5. Random Questions, pick one or as many as you like and tell why.
Crayons or Color Pencils –
Joan: Color pencils. I have oodles of Prismacolor pencils from when I was mostly illustrating. Now that I’m writing, I use black Sharpies to brainstorm on yellow tablets. My illustration skills still come in very handy because I often create a book dummy in lieu of a manuscript when submitting a board, novelty, or picture book to an editor, even though I have no intention of illustrating the book myself.
Suzanne: Neither. Art/drawing is not my thing. Just writing. Joan, however, is terrific at both writing and illustration.
Joan: Aw, thanks, Suzanne.
Anchovies or Pepperoni –
Suzanne: Pepperoni, but I have a great spaghetti recipe that uses anchovies in the sauce.
Joan: Ack! I don’t eat beef or chicken and don’t like anchovies. I like Greek food, Italian, beans and rice, Cheerios, chocolate, and food in general.
Pink or Blue –
Joan: Pink. The bright kind with glitter and sequins. I’m not flashy personally. But I think the Aphrodite the Beauty cover is my favorite because of the flashy pink.
Suzanne: Blue. Salmon pink is okay, but most other pinks don’t go well with my auburn hair.
Cherries or Blueberries –
Suzanne: Both! Pie cherries and blueberries are great combined in a pie, btw.
Joan: Blueberries for sure! Suzanne actually makes jam, which impresses me.
Flip Flops or Sneakers –
Joan: Sneakers. But NC is flip-flop-ville in the summer. A friend and I sat in the Cheesecake Factory bar at lunch and watched all the women’s shoes coming in and out one day last summer. Only 3 women had on anything besides flipflops in an hour’s time!
Suzanne: Definitely sneakers. Flip flops are…well…too flip floppy for easy walking, and I like to walk a lot.
Thanks for the great questions, Ashley! This was fun.
Joan and Suzanne
Thanks Joan and Suzanne for all the marvelous and witty answers. I always love getting to know the authors better. It seems to make the series have more meaning.
Set at the prestigious Mount Olympus Academy, Artemis along with her best friends Athena, Persephone, and Aphrodile, and her twin brother Apollo are there to learn to master their skills. When Orion, a new student to the academy enrolls, Artemis, who's usually the brave one is learning to deal with feelings she has when she's around Orion. Orion is a little too sure of himself and a little to selfish to really care about others around him. Artemis learns to over come the feelings of what it's like when your first crush doesn't like you the way you like them and the importance of being a true friend.
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