January 17, 2011

Interview with Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

I'm so very happy to welcome Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to the blog. They write one of my favorite Tween series: The Goddess Girls -which is a fun new take on some of the most famous Greek goddesses, but as young girls. Joan and Suzanne answered a few questions regarding this lovely series.

Without further ado...

Hello and thanks for visiting us! 

Suzanne and Joan: Thanks for having us visit, Alex. We’re so pleased to be here again! We did a swag bag giveaway with you in December that was a blast.

Alex: Oh, yes. It was so much fun! Now, lets talk about Goddess Girl stuff. So, why did you decide to write about these famous -sometimes infamous – goddesses as young girls? 
Suzanne: Joan and I both like to write for middle grade readers. It seemed only natural to us that the characters should be around the same age as our audience.  Imagining the Greek gods and goddesses as tweens (except for a notable few like Zeus, who is the principal at Mount Olympus Academy), was half the fun of writing the series!

Joan: The series title came first and then the “what ifs” started things rolling. In Greek mythology, Zeus is Athena’s father, but she spent her childhood with Pallas and Triton on Earth. So in the first Goddess Girls book, we began by asking ourselves “what if” Athena’s dad was Zeus, the principal of Mount Olympus Academy (MOA), king of the gods/ruler of the heavens — but Athena was unaware of it and believed herself to be a mortal like her bff Pallas? Suddenly she gets a letter from Zeus telling her he’s her dad and summoning her to MOA. She has to leave her best friend Pallas and join a bunch of goddesses and figure out how to blend in. How intimidating would that be? Still, she’d always felt different from the other mortals, so Zeus’s letter answers some questions for her.

Alex: With whom of the Goddess Girls do you identify with the most?

Joan:  I identify with Athena because I did well in school and I want to be smart, but I secretly long to be Aphrodite because she’s beautiful! But if I had to choose only one, I’d go for smart. I would love to add a dash of Artemis because she’s strong-willed and spirited. And I love her hairdo and her red dress on the book cover!

Suzanne: I identify with Athena because of her studious personality, but also with Persephone because what girl doesn’t struggle to come to terms with who she really is, what she really thinks, and how she wants to live her life? Actually, come to think of it, all four of our main goddessgirls struggle with those questions in our various books. In our newest book, Artemis the Brave, for example, Artemis has to deal with unexpressed fears and also decide if Orion, the boy she’s attracted to, is worthy boyfriend material!

Alex: That's very true! I think we all go through that struggle at one point or another. Now, whom of them would you like to have as a friend?

Suzanne: I’d like all four of our main characters as friends: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis.  Some of our secondary goddessgirls might get on my nerves, however. Pandora asks way too many questions, Pheme is a horrible gossip (but what would you expect from the goddessgirl of rumor), and Medusa is a big meanie! (OTOH, it’s possible she’s just misunderstood—stay tuned for Book #8.)

(Alex: Tease!) 

Joan: Ooh, intriguing question, Alex! I think I’d go with Artemis or Athena. I like Artemis because she’s bold, forthright, and genuine. She’d be someone to hike with or do something outdoorsy. I feel like I could trust her. (And maybe borrow that cute red dress of hers.) Athena would be fun to hang out with and talk about books and cerebral things. She’d be a mind-expanding friend.

Alex: One of the things I love the most about the series is the little winks to well known myths that you weave into the story itself, do you have any favorite myths?

Suzanne: Thanks, Alex.  We love giving those little winks to our readers!  In our next GG book, #5 Athena the Wise (out in April), we’ve put a humorous spin on the myths the make up Heracles’ Twelve Labors.  Reworking and reinterpreting those labors within the context of the story was terrific fun.

Joan: I have to say that #5 is one of my favorites in the series.

Alex: Sounds like its going to be great. What’s next for the Goddess Girls?

Joan and Suzanne:  Well, we mentioned GG#5: Athena the Wise (April 2011). In GG#6: Aphrodite the Diva (August 2011) our goddessgirls travel to Egypt where they meet some Egyptian goddesses, and Aphrodite becomes involved in a contest with Isis to match a sculptor named Pygmalion with the girl of his dreams.  We’ve recently contracted for Books 7 & 8.  GG#7 will star Artemis again.  And GG#8 (as you might have already guessed from Suzanne’s earlier comment, will feature Medusa.)

(Alex: Oh, how you tease me! And the covers are gorgeous, btw!) 

Alex: Are you up for 3 random questions? Let’s talk favorites and hit the timeless questions of what’s your favorite…

Suzanne: This is tough question since there are so many books I absolutely adore.  This time I’ll pick Holes, by Louis Sachar. I love his characters, the unusual setting, and the understated sense of humor that’s in all of his books.

Joan: Good choice, Suzanne. This is a tough question. In children’s books, I’ll go with Captain Underpants. It was a groundbreaking series full of unrepentant realistic kid humor, and it appeals to the kid in me.

Joan: Lately: Fireflies by Owl City; Breathe by Anna Nalick; What Goes Around Comes Around by Justin Timberlake; and many more!
Suzanne:   I can’t name a single song. How about singers, instead?:  Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Mose Allison.

Ice-cream favor? 
Suzanne: Anything with chocolate

Joan: Chocolate chip mint, baby! I love it. Strawberry is my 2nd fave. How about you, Alex?

Alex: I like weird flavors, like Green Apple or Almond (it's truly delicious). Other than that, frozen yogurt! 

Joan and Suzanne: Thanks again for letting the Goddess Girls and us hang out with you today, Alex! ~ J & S

Alex: Thanks so much for stopping by! 


Would you like a chance to win an autographed copy of Artemis the Brave? Yes? Well, keep reading!
Starting today (Jan 17th) and until January 27th, all you have to do is leave a comment bellow, with your email address (so I can contact you should you be the winner)- and that's it!
US Only, please.
Leave a comment indicating you wish to be entered in the giveaway.
Winner will be chosen at random, and announced on Jan 28th, along with my review of Artemis the Brave.

For more info on The Goddess Girls Series, visit:


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