Welcome to our weekly guest post on what makes a kick ass heroine in science fiction and fantasy. This week’s author Diana Hurwitz shares about the teen heroines featured in her series, Mythikas Island, an interesting take on the Greek myths. Thanks Diana!
Mythikas Island is a book series that follows four kick-ass heroines as they undergo a survival exercise on a deserted island to earn a seat on the ruling council of Mt. Olympus.
As a reader, I love strong female characters. As a writer, I wanted to tell a story about females raised with the expectation that they would be leaders. My fascination with Greek myths and female deities made me wonder how women lost their power.
While reading about ancient Sparta, where they trained boys and girls to advance to the elite class, the seed for Mythikas was sewn. I believe that in every myth there is a kernel of truth. I asked, “What if real people inspired the Greek myths?”
I realized I wanted to write about humans rather than goddesses. Magic and immortality didn’t work for the story I wanted to tell. The story idea flourished and four protagonists emerged. Each book covers a week in the challenge from a different character’s point of view.
My protagonists are tested, far from home, under the most extreme circumstances. They learn important lessons about themselves, each other and the world they live in. The four girls start the journey primed by their personal losses.
They have each been trained: Athena (successfully) and Diana (unsuccessfully) as warriors. Athena excels at hand to hand combat, chariot racing and bending people to her will. As Zeus’s favorite daughter, she expects to have her way. Her personal challenge is to influence the others rather than bully them.
Diana is a competent student, but her solitary nature works against her. She has never respected authority or Athena. She is an expert archer reluctant to kill. Diana’s personal challenge is to learn to work within a group and utilize her skills when required.
Aphrodite is trained as a seer. The others mock her intuitive powers but learn how critical they can be. Aphrodite forces them to question what they think they know. Her personal challenge is to master her emotions so the others will take her seriously.
Persephone is trained as a healer. She is the voice of reason as panic and mutual suspicion set in. Without her knowledge of plants and medicine, they would all die. Her personal challenge is to overcome her clinical detachment to care for the others, even if she would not have chosen them as friends.
The girls must band together and defeat deadly predators, a self-destructing island and ghosts from their past if they ever want to see home again.
I loved writing the characters. Over the course of five years, they took on a life of their own. As they grew throughout the challenge, I grew as a writer. They challenged and frustrated me, often taking detours I didn’t plan. They made me laugh and cry. I hope they do the same for my readers.
About the Author
Diana Hurwitz spent her childhood near Cincinnati daydreaming during school, voraciously reading books and writing poetry. She currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband, teen daughter and two cats. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, ALAN and the Mystery Writers of America. She enjoys writing full time and is part of the Ladyscribes critique group.
“Children are the future leaders of our societies, families and governments; we should cultivate them wisely.”
The first three books in the Mythikas Island series are available in print and Kindle http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BOC3HQ, print and Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/diana-hurwitz?store=ebook and by request through local booksellers. Mythikas Island Book Four: Athena will be released November 2011. For more information visit www.dianahurwitz.com.