An Interview with Author Luciana Cavallaro

I first encountered author Luciana Cavallaro when I followed links from Twitter to her fantastic blog where I re-discovered an interest in the Classics prompted by her knowledgeable and well-written articles. It wasn't long before I read one of her short stories in the Accursed Women series and then went on to read the whole set. You can read my review here if you follow this link. You can imagine, therefore, how delighted I was when Luciana Cavallaro agreed to answer some questions about Accursed Women for Indie Bookworm.

Hi Luciana! What made you decide to publish Accursed Women?

That is a really good question Cathy. It came about during a writer’s critique session and feedback I received on a manuscript. The story was lacking and someone suggested writing short stories to “find my voice”. At that time I was reading Euripides and one of the plays Hippolytus caught my attention.  Phaedra was a character I didn’t know much about and researched her. There wasn’t a lot on her and from that point on I wanted to write her story. Why did she fall in love with her husband’s son and why did she behave in a selfish manner. I wrote Aphrodite’s Curse to explore these feelings and the role of women in the ancient world.

From there, an idea formed as to the plight of women in Ancient Greece, both mythical and real individuals. Women were treated with little respect despite their power such as Hera. She was a goddess yet the myths painted her as vindictive, the same for Helen. Mind it wasn’t just in Ancient Greece where women were not valued or treated well.

What kind of reader would enjoy Accursed Women?

Any person who is interested in ancient history and mythology would appreciate the short stories and perhaps enjoy the varied telling. I’ve tried to write the stories in a way which is accessible to those who’ve never read mythology. A more contemporary approach to the legends and with my own spin on them.

What was the most difficult aspect of your research for Accursed Women?

I love researching for my stories but I would have to say the difficult part is changing the perspective of the myths, especially in the case of Helen. The research with regards Helen not taken to Troy comes from a very small segment in Herodotos’ Histories. She got left behind after the ship she and Paris were on got caught in a storm and they landed on the shores of Egypt. The Egyptians told Herodotos about a woman who was taken from her husband and the Egyptian Pharaoh at the time made Paris leave her and he sailed to Troy without her.

I enjoy finding unusual facts and using them, such as the myth of Pandora. There was never a box, it was an urn she opened. The Greek word for urn was mistranslated in Latin, and hence “Pandora’s Box” became the catchphrase ever since.

Which of the Accursed Women is your personal favourite and why?

That is such an unfair question, it’s like asking who’s your favourite child. ;D Each of the Accursed Women have aspects I can relate to and many positive characteristics I wish to have. If I had to choose, but you can’t tell any of the other women, they’ll come screaming and shouting at me! It would be Medousa. I feel for her, what happened to her and her sisters and then her ultimate demise. She and her siblings certainly didn’t deserve to be changed, but that is also why I told her story. 

Again, this was a depiction of women at the time. For when a man behaved in a contrary manner, it was the woman’s fault and therefore they had to be punished, even when innocent. Some things never change.

(If you don't mind answering) Are you working on any new writing at the moment?

Not at all. I have a new novel out very soon, the first in a series Servant of the Gods. I am quite excited about it, it has been a labour of love! I have also just received the book cover concepts and they look amazing. I am also working on a novella series based on a short story I wrote for an anthology and edited by my editor of Accused Women and Servant of the Gods. It is premised on a Greek coin. It is a contemporary story, quite different to Accursed Women and the series I’m writing. I have just completed the first draft. I’ve also started writing the second book in the Servant of the Gods series. Busy times ahead!

Thank you Cathy, I enjoyed answering the questions and being a guest on your blog.

And thank you too, Luciana, for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to share your thoughts and fascinating insights into your writing. I'm really looking forward to reading Servant of the Gods and wish you every success with it.

You can find details of all Luciana Cavallaro's books on her Amazon Author Page and read her fascinating Blog at Eternal Atlantis.