So…I must confess that it’s been over two months since I last blogged. (Seriously?? The last time I blogged was Jan. 31st!? Where have the months gone?) But, I have good reason! I turned twenty in March, and at the end of the month my parents and I took a ten-day trip to New Zealand. So with that, along with working on MIDNIGHT QUEEN, I sort of let my blog slip through the cracks.
I’ve been to NZ a couple of times before (once after I finished grade 9, and again early last year), and I have to say: it never gets old. It’s SUCH an incredible country, rich in both incredibly beautiful landscapes and culture, and honestly, I’m already mentally planning a trip of where I’d go next time. It rained a lot of the time, but the highlight of the trip was Hobbiton (!!!) and the Waitomo glowworm caves.
Being the massive Tolkien nerd that I am—I literally bought a copy of The Silmarillion while I was over there…it just seemed fitting—Hobbiton has been in my bucket list for years. And oh my gosh, it did NOT disappoint. Because wow. Just WOW. I definitely teared up a little on the bus ride there. I don’t even have the words to describe how amazing the set was…and even the photos I posted on Instagram pale in comparison to just how stunning the entire location is. Rolling green hills, the glimmering lake, the old mill, monarch butterflies landing on the well-tended flowers… Oh my god. It was like something out of a fairytale. The beauty of the place rendered me speechless several times.
Yep. Aaaaaaannddd now I’m going to rewatch the entire trilogy.
Another massive highlight was the Waitomo glowworm caves. Because Jesus, the caves in themselves are incredibly beautiful: mysterious, dark…basically just one giant result of Mother Nature. Stalactites hung from the ceilings. A labyrinth of streams cut through the caves… it was just magical, and that was without seeing any glowworms. And rowing on the river through the caves was just…ethereal. An experience I doubt I’ll ever, ever forget. Entire constellations of glowworms clung to the ceiling and gave the cave an amazing blueish hue, and the atmosphere was so damn unearthly it literally felt like I was in another world. There’s absolutely no way my words can do that place justice.
I’m not going to ramble about New Zealand forever because I have a lot of other things to talk about, but addition to the photos here, there are heaps on my Instagram. Seriously, New Zealand is every photographer’s dream, and sorting through my iPhotos is already making me nostalgic and I literally just got back a few days ago (and I took an embarrassing amount of photos…)
So, to shift the subject, I’ve been thinking a lot about mythology lately. I read a lot of it, and some of my all-time favorite books/movies are usually in some way related to ancient myths and legends. It’s such a rich well of inspiration to draw from, and, being of Greek heritage, I’m pretty much obsessed with European culture/myths. As I’ve mentioned before, MIDNIGHT QUEEN is partly based on Hades and Persephone (amongst a bunch of other myths), so it’s something I’ve been doing a lot of research on as I revise it. I’ve always been fascinated with Greek mythology in general, but there was just something about the tale of Hades and Persephone that…called to me, I guess. I wanted to write a Hades-like character that was dark, arrogant, and ultimately flawed, but not evil. And Persephone herself has always entranced me, so I wanted to embody a character who was gentle and kind but also strong and fierce—she is the Queen of Hell after all. I wanted to write a Persephone-like character that didn’t submit to her Hades, but at the same time embraces the darkness he offers. And more importantly, I wanted to write the sort of Persephone that was revered, or even feared, among her people. (True story: there’s actual evidence that the Ancient Greeks, at the very least, respected Persephone. She wasn’t considered to just be Hades’ wife.) It’s a lot of fun to dig deep into Greek mythology and find the tiny details that are beginning to shape this novel.
And I really, really, really hope that one day I’ll get to share this tale with you all.
I’m currently about a quarter of the way through this draft of MIDNIGHT QUEEN and I’m falling in love with it all. over. again. That’s one of the best things about revising a novel—that love of clicking with your characters & plot again, and enjoying opening your word doc. every day. There’s so much mythology in this book—Greek, Celtic, Russian—and I’m extremely passionate about it all. Basically: this book is an amalgamation of everything I love: high fantasy, lethal magic, romance, mythology and folktales, and a queen who kicks ass.
All right, so: this post turned out to be a LOT longer than I intended… but I promise I’ll be blogging again—soon. I’ll have a post about writing & being persistent out before the end of the month. (I hope.) In the meantime, tell me what you’ve all been up to!
Currently reading: LORD OF THE FADING LANDS by C.L. Wilson
Currently listening to: The Dark Knight OST by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (This score legit gives me CHILLS.)
Currently watching: Brooklyn 99 (GUYS. THIS SHOW. Hilarious & addicting & such a binge-watchable show.)