Today’s interview is with Luciana Cavallaro, author of Accursed Women: A Collection of Short Stories and Search for the Golden Serpent, the first book in a three part series entitled Servant of the Gods.
Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History, but her passion for writing historical fiction came when she saw the Colosseum.
1. Your interest in the classical world began from reading Atlantis: The Lost Continent Revealed. What was it about Atlantis that grabbed your attention so strongly?
What fascinated me was how a sophisticated and intelligent society could be destroyed and leave nothing behind. A lot is speculation but we have Plato to thank for creating an enduring legend. The story of Atlantis initiated my love for ancient history and mythology.
2. In describing ancient places, what helps you imagine how the ruins used to look?
Lots of research and watching documentaries helped piece together what the ruins looked like. Then I imagine myself walking through those buildings as they once were. Having visited a number of the ruins helped me to describe and give a sense of what they must have been like.
3. What part of the history in your books was most exciting or surprising? What did you make up that you are most proud of?
When I was researching for the short story about Pandora, I learnt she did not open a box, it was an urn. The Greek word for urn was mistranslated and hence the term Pandora’s Box was created. I do enjoy researching for my books, it allows me to delve deeper into the period, culture and learn new concepts. For instance, my latest writing project I read about brain patterns, dreams and how it affects our consciousness.
4. Which of your characters would you most like to meet? Any that you’d be afraid of?
I’d like to meet them all but would like to have a chat with Pandora, the first woman created by the gods.
Hera scares me a little. There’s something about her that makes me apprehensive.
5. Who has helped you publish? Do you have a writer’s group?
I am very fortunate to have support from my family and extraordinary group of friends who’ve encouraged me to follow my path and dream of being published.
I was in a writer’s group but found it difficult to keep up with the commitments of work, family and writing.
6. Have you tried anything from your books/time periods—fighting with spears, cooking Mediterranean food, or speaking Greek?
I do enjoy trying out Mediterranean dishes and of course testing out the wines. ;D
7. What do you hope to get across in your writing—any lessons or morals?
I hope to achieve what myths in all ancient cultures did for the people: create a rich history of understanding of our place in the world and how we can better ourselves. I hope that doesn’t sound too presumptuous!
8. What do you wish you had known before you began, either about the time period or about the writing process? Any advice?
How much patience and time is needed to craft the skills of writing. I had to learn—with great difficulty—the industry of fiction, and authorship requires times, years to develop and grow. My advice to anyone who wishes to write is don’t rush but hone your writing skills and become the best writer you can be.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. It was a pleasure meeting you.
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