Monday, April 4, 2011

Goddess Girls: Athena the Wise blog tour

We are so excited to have Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams with us today, as we are big fans of the MG series, Goddess Girls. Their 5th book in their series, Athena the Wise will be in stores TOMORROW!!!

Here's a little about the book, which we'll also be reviewing later on in the month:

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…
Athena isn’t the only new kid at Mount Olympus Academy. When a mortal named Heracles transfers in, Athena understands what he’s going through. She started at MOA a few months ago.
Not only does Heracles need help fitting in, he also has to complete twelve “labors” or he’ll be kicked out of school! When Athena’s dad, Principal Zeus, asks her to secretly look after the new boy, she winds up capturing mythical beasts and shoveling poop. It will take all of her famed wisdom to sort out her own problems and help Heracles succeed!

Hi Mundie Kids! Thank you for having us here to help celebrate the release of book #5: Athena the Wise in our Goddess Girls series.

Thank you for being here! We are so excited to help celebrate the released of Athena the Wise.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most and why?
Suzanne: I can’t really pick just one! Every time Joan and I write a new book in the series I enjoy anew whomever we’ve picked as main character.

Joan: Ditto, Suzanne! I like all the goddessgirls! As for the adults, I particularly enjoy Principal Zeus because it’s fun to write an off-the-wall middle school principal, who’s also King of the Gods. My middle school principal was a distant, forbidding figure, and I think it’s funny to imagine him having the godly powers or funny quirks that Zeus has in the GG books. And I enjoy putting myself in Athena’s shoes, er, sandals, and imagining what it might be like to have my dad be principal of the middle school I go to.

What inspired you to write a mythology series for MG readers?
Joan: I’m a history fanatic and am addicted to museums. Fortunately, my husband is, too. (We were just in D.C. this past weekend at the National Building Museum’s 1930s World’s Fairs exhibit, which was fantastic.) I’ve always been partial to Greco-Roman mythology though. Building our fictional GG stories on the framework of existing mythology as we’ve done in this series has been a blast for me. It’s fun to update the myths and add humor and friendship drama, while still staying mostly true to the characters and plots in mythology.

Suzanne: Since our goddesses and our readers are tweens, we adapt the myths to make them “age appropriate” for 8-12 year olds. It’s fun to imagine the personalities and predicaments of our young goddessgirls and godboys based on their mythical adult counterparts. We ask ourselves: What were these gods and goddesses doing when they were in school? That question is how Goddess Girls was born as a series.

If you could be a Goddess, who would you want to be and why?
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 effortlessly beautiful and admired by every boy in school! 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 Persephone has Hades, who is dark, mysterious, and hunky. So really, I don’t think I could go wrong being any of these goddessgirls!

Suzanne: I identify with Athena because of her studious personality and because (as in Book #5) she really wants to be wise—to figure out what’s right and wrong. I also identify 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?

What author inspired you growing up?
Suzanne: Like most kids, I imagine, I didn’t pay much attention to the names of authors when I was growing up. It was the books themselves that mattered (which is how it should be!) I read a lot of series fiction that I loved, such as the Nancy Drew series (which was actually written by several women writing under the name “Carolyn Keene.”) Nancy was such a strong role model for girls. I also adored the Pippi Longstocking books (another strong female character!) by Astrid Lindgren, and the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers.

Joan: I was a Nancy Drew fan, too, Suzanne. I also read the Trixie Belden mystery series. And Pippi was one of my favorites. I also loved Eloise by Kay Thompson. I used to trace over Hilary Knight’s Eloise illustrations, when I was learning to draw. All of these girl characters are strong and smart, which I think is what drew us to them. And the humor in Pippi and Eloise is great.

What do you feel has been one of the most rewarding things with regards to being an author?
Suzanne: I love getting responses from readers! We’ve gotten a lot of comments from readers on our Goddess Girls Facebook page, and fan emails too. It's very gratifying when girls write to tell us how much they’ve enjoyed the books, and how they’ve been inspired to read the actual myths. And a couple of moms have told us that our books have motivated their non-reading daughters to read. I was formerly an elementary school librarian. As you can imagine that kind of feedback is music to my ears! I often speak at schools, and at conferences for educators—speaking provides a nice break from writing and is a good opportunity to meet readers face to face.

Joan: Old boyfriends coming across my name on a book and (I hope) realizing they never should have dumped me all those years ago? Ha! Okay, more seriously... I studied fine arts in college, began my career as an artist, and then segued into writing. It was hard for me to admit I wasn’t going to illustrate any more, but I made the decision a few years ago because writing has become my first love, and I don’t have time to do both. I think this is a golden age of illustration and I like seeing what other artists create for books I write. Suzanne and I both love Glen Hanson’s cover illustrations for the Goddess Girls books. He was the perfect choice because he is into mythology and is a fabulous artist! So, I’d say that one of the most rewarding things about being an author is working with a team to make a whole project come together as a book or series.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and what is one book you'd take with you?
Suzanne: Anywhere in the world? And only one book? Gulp, I’m going to have to give this question a pass and turn it over to you, Joan. There are just too many places I haven’t yet been and too many books I haven’t yet read (including books that are still yet to be written!)

Joan: Okay, I like this question because it’s fun to think of what you’d do if your options were drastically narrowed. I want to go to Brittany on the northwest coast of France. I saw it on Househunters International (my secret addiction) recently. Stone houses, cool seaswept climate, set between Paris and London. What’s not to like? If I could only take one book, I’d take my big Webster’s dictionary. It’s nice and long with endless inspirations for story-spinning.

Thank you Joan and Suzanne for being with us today!
Thanks again for letting the Goddess Girls and us hang out at Mundie Kids today!
~ Joan and Suzanne

To learn more about the Goddess Girls series, please visit Joan's site here and Suzanne's site here.
Here's a little bit their series (which we highly recommend)!

Goddess Girls series
by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Aphrodite the Diva coming in August
Two more coming soon!
Aladdin paperbacks
Ages 8-12

Thank you to Joan and Suzanne we have a FABULOUS Prize Pack to giveaway-
To enter, please fill out this form-
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~