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Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview with Julien Longo - author of "Hera"

Julien Longo, author of the novel "Hera" was kind enough to participate in this interview on "Books and Movies Reviews"blog.

Q-) Thanks for the interview, Julien. Can we begin by having you tell us what your new book, "Hera", is all about?

A-) It’s my pleasure to meet you and your readers, Mr. Mattos.
HERA is the first book in my Goddess Chronicles fiction series, which is a feminine re-telling of the lives of Gods and Goddesses from around the world. In the first book I begin with one of my favorite characters in mythology, Hera, queen of the Greek pantheon. This is a fictional autobiography—Hera tells us how she lived as a mortal woman in the time of Atlantis, weaving together her mystical journey into the Emerald Temple and her very human love story. Then, in book two, we discover how Hera becomes immortal.

Q-) In "Mists of Avalon", Marion Zimmer Bradley also uses a female's point of view to narrate Arthur's story. What inspired you to use a similar technique to retell Greek mythology from Hera's point of view? 

A-) Actually, “Mists of Avalon” really influenced me when I was younger and I thought what a great way to reinterpret a very male dominated tale! Then, as I began to study mythology and mysticism I realized how the stories that have been passed down to us are most often told through the male voice and I was caught up in imagining what the women’s stories might have been. Hera is such a juicy, passionate and powerful female character, one that goes un-sung in western mythology that I gravitated to her immediately. She is the Mother goddess, powerful, passionate and righteous. I don’t like that she is mis-represented in our mythological stories. Most people don’t even know that she predates Zeus as an Aegean goddess by hundreds of years!

Q-) How much research is "behind the scenes"?

A-) As a lover of mythology and one who has always wondered about the mystical roots of religion, I’ve studied a great deal. I have an M.A. in humanities with an emphasis on mysticism so that gave me the time to really dive in. When tracing spiritual traditions to the their mystical origins it was natural to delve into the Western traditions that brought me to the Greek mystery schools and their myths.

Q-) How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer's block and, if so, what did you do?

A-) I wrote the book rather quickly, in just two months. However it took several years of study and outlining ideas and imaginings before that! And as most writers find, the revision process was where the real work came in and that took a year. It was the same with the second book too.

Q-) What are your daily writing routines?

A-) I stimulate my mind by reading and writing Sacred Poetry everyday. This keeps me in touch with what really has heart and meaning in my life. By doing this I am able to keep that creative juice and flow going. Then I turn to my Into The Mystic blog at www.julienlongo.com. That keeps me focused, fresh, and the words flowing. Other then that, I don’t work everyday on my fantasy books. I just take notes as idea pop into my head. I notice that when its time to write another book, I just sort of sit down and really get into it. Usually, I’ve gone away from home, isolated myself for a month to write the ‘bones’ of the piece down. That’s how I work best.

Q-) If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and why?

A-) Oh, I’d love to meet Artemis! She’s the Goddess of Beasts and Goddess of the Light. She’s the mistress of wild things! In my books, she’s Hera’s best friend and mentor and I think she has such a quiet dignity and sensuality about her that I’m looking forward to seeing how she will appear in future books! I have thought of writing her story as one of the Chronicles as well, or making it a serial novel on my blog. She’s a really rich character.

Q-) What book changed your life?

A-) Well, there are so many, but I think I can point to the two that made me want to write fiction. First, when I was 14, I read Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy and that swept me away into Merlin’s fictional autobiography. I got really lost in it and knew that I wanted to write. The second was in college when I read Kate Chopin’s book, The Awakening. Wow, that showed me the power of fiction to educate and inspire in a way that non-fiction can’t do. It was the way the Chopin SHOWED the character’s awakening that touched me so deeply.

Q-) What is your passion? What is it that you're most passionate about, more than anything else?

A-) Sacred Poetry! Oh my, it just gives me goose bumps! I love to read all kinds of poetry but anything that brings me deeper into relationship with love is what draws me in. I delve in everyday, asking Poetic Inquiries. I started MysticPie.com as a Sacred Poetry site just so I could feed my addiction to wisdom and engage with others who enjoy the same!

Q-) What do you do to relax?

A-) I cuddle with my dogs, get foot rubs from my wonderful husband, Martin, and I love to sing and recite poetry. I’m also a shameless foodie!

Q-) Any final words?

A-) I’d just like to thank you and your readers for supporting my work. The Goddess Chronicles are not published through some huge publishing house that will back it with a bunch of PR money so the only way we sell the books is through word-of-mouth. I really appreciate it when people go out of their way to tell others about the series. This is really the work of my heart and I’m always touched by other people’s support. Thanks so much!


Well, Mrs. Julien Longo, you deserve every support you get because this is truly a magnificent book. Congratulations!

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