About the book:Macy needs a break to sort out her life. Her parents are dead and now a moody trespasser has set up camp on the property she has inherited. When the stranger confesses himself to be an ageless sea-god and tells Macy she has been guarding a secret she never knew existed, her simple life takes a drastic turn. Just when she thinks it can’t get any stranger, a back door to the Underworld opens up and it’s time to run like hell.
This fast-paced adventure romance novel explodes as the dark forces tracking Macy surface to capture her. In the transatlantic chase that follows, she learns of her forgotten past and an ancient connection to the sea-god who helps her escape.
As events challenge Macy, she must come to grips with her past, determine what she wants in life, and become a force in her own right. Family betrayal, sinister plot twists, and unlikely friends fill this exhilarating story of one woman’s journey to forge her own path as she learns her true identity.
She soon realizes that to gain real freedom and become legend, she must reject her assigned place in history and risk everything in the process.
Interview with Genevieve Fairbrother:Genevieve, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
About three years ago, my husband, who comes from a family of writers, talked about wanting to write a book. I had never considered writing a book but it made me think, why not? I had an idea for a story that had been rolling around inside of my head for a long time, and I decided to get it out of my head and onto paper. It started out as brain purge and ended up as a novel.
What do you like best about writing?
Through writing, I like to witness a character coming to terms with a new idea or a situation and then use the character’s conversations to share those ideas as they form. I like the feeling when I know I have successfully written a wild and suspenseful scene.
What’s your least favorite thing?
Commas...I insert them where I think there are natural pauses in an idea or conversation. I never learned the rules for commas. They make no sense to me...I need editors to tell me where they’re supposed to really go.
How did you come up with the title Eleusis?
When Persephone was released from the underworld she joined her mother, Demeter, in the ancient city of Eleusis.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yup. I’m a full-time obstetrician gynecologist. I work at the largest maternity hospital in the United States. I’m also chief of the medical staff of 2,000 doctors, so this is a true departure from my “real” life. I believe I surprised a lot of people with this book.
How would you describe Eleusis in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)
A goddess escaped from the underworld centuries ago. Hades hunts for her still but times have changed and she’s done running.
How did you create the plot for Eleusis?
I had several ideas (The Persephone mythology, women in society, and the allure of immortality) that were important to me, and I melded them together into a story.
Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?
I have a rough idea of the map but a clear idea of my characters and their motivations. I know where I want my characters to start, and I know where I want them to end up. There are points of interest along the way that I’d like them to stop and visit in order to progress through the story. There is an order, but if a character needs to meander off of the path or go to a Point D before a point C, I let them.
Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it?
Yes! I took the photograph that was backdrop for the cover. The artist used my concept and took it to a different level so out of my league it is wonderful.
How do you get to know your characters?
They live in my head, and I imagine conversations that they might have with one another. I can see where they go, what their home looks like, what secrets they’re hiding and why.
Sophie’s choice: Do you have a favorite of your characters?
I, like most authors, could probably tell you who their least favorite character is before their favorite. I am sympathetic to all my characters even if they do terrible things because I understand their motivations.
When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
The main characters, yes! I have a murky idea of the peripheral characters, then as the tale unfolds, they either crystalize and become clear or wither out of focus and I cut them out.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I’m constantly on the lookout for new good names. How do you name your characters?
I looked for names that had meaning for their character either emotionally or linguistically.
How would your main character describe you?
Honest reliable, unflinchingly loyal.
Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Aren’t all characters a mixture of the people in your life?
Eh...not always. I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories? Who, and in what category do they fall?
Heck yeah! My characters have power over the natural world, and they’re immortal. Need I say more?
No. That about covers it! If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?
With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?
Are you kidding, Jason?!
Hmm...I don't know Jason, but now I want to! What song would you pick to go with your book?
"The Heavy’s Short Change Hero" and Jason Mraz’s "I won’t give up."
Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him? Tom Robbins.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
It really doesn’t bother me. Most problems in life and in writing are a result of lack of communication. The kind of criticism I’ve encountered is usually a result of a misunderstanding. I look past any emotional content in a criticism and try to find the disconnect and fix it. It’s worked for me so far.
Where’s home for you?
Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow?
Going for run really focuses the mind, as does a shower.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"The truth doesn’t change, only our understanding."
If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Morocco or Prague, I’m not picky.
When she lifted her eyes to look out, the view silenced her mind. A ground mist blanketed the field outside the barn all the way down to the surrounding tree line. It was ethereal. She grabbed her mug and stepped outside. This time she chose the path that led from the upper field and wove through the trees to the lower pasture that bordered Little Choestoea Creek above the waterfall. The mist stretched out across the field, undulating over the dips in the terrain. It felt like walking through a cloud. The birds’ morning chatter and the gurgling and chortling of the stream at the far border of the field broke the quiet. Gentle winds whispered among the dry autumn leaves. She crossed the field and joined the path that edged the stream and followed it to the waterfall. The mist overflowed the field and slipped down the bank, hovering over the stream.
Excerpt from Eleusis:
At the head of the waterfall, the water rushed over the mossy rocks and curved around the massive granite boulders. The stream cascaded over the falls and flowed down the cove to join the lake in the distance. Macy decided to follow the cove out to the end, where she could see the mist floating like a blanket over the water. She picked her way along the side of the cove, climbing up and over boulders of granite as they sloped down to the water’s edge. Sometimes, when the terrain was too difficult, she clambered up into the tree line and walked along the edge of the forest. Shortly she came out onto the beachy area at the head of the cove.
The sun was starting to rise over the hill to her back, and golden light began to stream through the trees. She looked out over the mists to the far side of the lake, where the light was hitting the far shore. The trees, some deciduous and now nearly naked of leaves, created a wall of mottled brown and olive. It was hauntingly beautiful in the cold light of the early morning. She sank to her haunches and wrapped her arms around her knees. Brown and desiccated rushes crackled in the light breeze just below her perch. Macy gazed out across the misty cove and took in the view.
A hawk glided in lazy circles over the water. Across the small cove, three deer stole out of the woods, tasting the air. Macy held her breath and kept perfectly still.
Suddenly, from the middle of the lake, a man crested and soared high out of the water and turned a graceful arc in the air before arching backward and falling through the mist, diving soundlessly into the water.
Macy gasped. The deer fled. She leaped to her feet and spilt what little was left of her tea. What the hell was that? An Olympic water-polo player couldn’t get that kind of air. Immobilized, she kept her eyes glued to the place she had seen the man dive back into the water. It seemed to take forever. Did she just imagine it? Then again!
This time he came corkscrewing out of the water and shot up out of the lake with the mist trailing behind him. He whooped as he spun up and around, and Macy inhaled sharply, clasping her hand over her mouth as he disappeared under the water. Almost instantly he rose out of the mist. She stood very still. He turned slowly until he faced her, then began moving toward the shore. He had spotted her.
She started to back up, stumbled over a rock, and dropped her mug.
He appeared to be gliding on top of the water, picking up speed. Turning, Macy ran as fast as she could and fled for the tree line. Her heart pounded, and sudden fear twisted in her stomach. It was obvious he hadn’t expected a witness.
Macy hit the trees, scrambling through them. Her heart convulsed sickeningly. She didn’t dare look back. The forest grew a little denser as she made her way deeper into the woods. Her pursuer was already crashing around below her in the tree line. He had reached the shore very quickly, and she couldn’t outrun him. Macy passed a low bush behind a fallen tree. It concealed a hollow, and she wedged herself in the corner. She hunkered down as low to the ground as possible and listened. She heard wind rustling through the trees and the disturbances that little lizards make flitting through the undergrowth. Soon the sound of the man tramping through the woods faded.
Genevieve's Guest PostWhat are the challenges of writing a book that mixes mythology with today's world?
Tom Clancy is credited with saying “The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.” The challenge for my writing is that mythology is the wild and fantastical reality around which I had to craft my fiction! My fictional “real world” had to seamlessly meld with an alternate mythologic reality that defies the laws of physics, ...all of the laws of physics, and I still need the story to be relatable to a contemporary audience. It’s fun because I can create situations that can defy gravity and mortality, but at the same time it's difficult because there is a fine line between ridiculous unbelievable fantasy and a paranormal reality that speaks to a person living in this earthly domain. Eleusis is a twisted mythology but what grounds the plot are the characters who share the easily recognized human desires for self-fulfillment, freedom, love and purpose.
About the author: Genevieve Fairbrother lives in Atlanta with her husband and two teenagers. She attended Wellesley.
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