Questions on The Goddess Test:
Tainted Poet: First off, could you give us a brief summery of The Goddess Test?
Aimée Carter: The Goddess Test is a sort of sequel to the myth of Hades and Persephone, in the sense that it takes place eons after the original myth occurred. How would I describe it in one sentence? What happens when Hades must replace Persephone, and someone is killing off the candidates.
However, I really can't do a better job describing it than the copy on the back of the book:
Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.
If she fails...
TP: I love how you incorporated the Greek Myth about Hades and Persephone into your novel. Is it your favorite myth?
Aimée: Thank you! It is definitely one of my favorite myths. I love many of them for several different reasons, but the myth of Persephone has always stayed with me, even from a young age. In the story, I was forced to tinker with the myth to make Hades a more compassionate character, but I did my best to stay true to the idea of a girl who is forced to marry a god she didn't love. I love Persephone's strength despite her circumstances, but I very much wanted to explore what that sort of relationship would do to Hades as well. Which is where much of Henry's character comes from.
TP: James was one of my favorite characters in The Goddess Test. Do you have a favorite?
Aimée: It's so difficult to pick a favorite. I would have to say, if I had to choose...no, still couldn't choose. It would be a three-way tie between Henry, James, and Ava. All simply because of how much fun they are to write. They each bring something unique to a scene, and as a writer, I couldn't be happier with getting the opportunity to 'work with them', so to say.
TP: If you could describe Henry in three words, what would they be? How about Kate?
Aimée: Tough question. Henry would be... lonely, loyal, and guarded. Kate would be desperate, selfless, and uncertain. Or trusting. We can pretend that's only three. :)
TP: What do you think separates The Goddess Test from other YA novels being released this year?
Aimée: Oh, wow. I really don't know. That's for the reader to decide! There is a stunning selection of YA novels being released this year, and I'm in complete awe of every single YA author out there. I don't feel like one of them. I honestly don't know if I ever will. They're all so stunning and talented, and I can't possibly see myself measuring up. I feel like a very little fish in a huge pond, and it continues to baffle me that anyone's ever heard of this little book I wrote the summer I couldn't work because the dentist broke my jaw in two places. (True story.)
TP: There are going to be three books in this series. Could you tell us a little something about the sequel, Goddess Interrupted?
Aimée: Goddess Interrupted was released on January 2012, and I am SO excited for everyone to get the chance to read it! It's much more action-packed than The Goddess Test, though there are still plenty of twists and turns along the way. I can't reveal much about the plot, especially since the first book hasn't been released yet, but I will say that earlier this week, I saw a sample of what the cover will look like, and it is gorgeous.
TP: Since The Goddess Test is set in Michigan, how do you think being from Michigan inspired your writing?
Aimée: The Goddess Test takes place in the upper peninsula, and while I've been to the UP several times as a kid, my connection to Michigan had nothing to do with why I set it here. I considered a host of isolated places, including Maine and upstate New York, but I chose Michigan for one reason: it has a Paradise and a Hell. Eden is supposed to be around the same place as Paradise, if you know where that happens to be, and that was definitely deliberate.
TP: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Aimée: I've been writing since I was eleven, but it didn't occur to me that I could do it as a living until several years later. I never really had one thing I wanted to do. I was a bit lost as a kid and went through the usual rounds - I wanted to be a veterinarian, a horse breeder, an actress, everything. But writing, especially when I was in my tween and teenage years, was the one thing I consistently loved to do.
TP: Are there any foods or drinks you like to eat or drink while writing?
Aimée: I usually get some sort of drink, though that goes through cycles. I don't drink coffee, but sometimes I get hot chocolate, if I'm at a place where I like their hot chocolate. Sometimes, if they have it, I'll get chocolate milk (sensing a pattern yet?). Right now I'm drinking water mixed with those little individual flavor packets, which works out well.
TP: Which of the characters from The Goddess Test is most like you?
Aimée: I share a trait or two with all of them just by virtue of having created them, really. Personality-wise, there isn't really a character in the book that is me (though if I had to choose, I think I might say I'm most like James - then again, that isn't saying much). But Kate does go through a lot of things, especially taking care of her mother and facing the possibility that she's going to lose the only family she has, which I wound up going through after the book was accepted for publication, oddly enough. My father was hospitalized on and off for several months, and he had major heart surgery, a very bad infection, and a host of problems while I was doing edits for the book. So I certainly empathize with her in that way, though her personality is very different from mine.
TP: What is one question you wish people would ask you?
Aimée: "How would you like to star opposite Ben Barnes in a blockbuster action/romance film?"
Oh, wait, not what you're talking about? Hmm...
Honestly, I've been hoping for a chance to explain why the book is set in Michigan, so it seem you've already asked it! As for something else, I'm at a loss for anything meaningful, so let's go with "What's your hidden talent?" And that would be solving a Rubik's Cube in under three minutes. Most of the time. And that's without peeling the stickers off.
TP: Thank you for the interview! Any last comments?
Aimée: Thank you so much for having me on your fantastic blog!