Hello everybody! Today we welcome Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury (which is AWESOME) to the blog with a guest post on her inspirations & influences.
Please give it up for Elizabeth!
Elizabeth Miles’ Top 8 Influences and Inspirations
I think of influences as having to do with my environment and my personal experiences, and inspirations as individual people (whether I know them or not). With that in mind, I compiled a list of both; if you’re wondering why I chose eight, well, it’s because eight is my lucky number!
Allow me to preface this list by saying that I believe the best writing advice is the old classic: Read a lot. Read everything. And given that I follow that advice, always have, it’s safe to say that my influences are vast and strange. Articles and books that I’ve recently read for my job as a journalist cover topics as diverse as mycology (the study of fungi), urban planning, sexual health, and politics. When it comes to reading for pleasure, I’m a total genre-jumper, moving from horror to fantasy to contemporary realism every time I pick up a new book. All of this influences me, whether I’m aware of it or not. However, what follows (in no particular order) are some specific Influences and Inspirations.
1) My parents. Although they’re individuals, my parents serve more as influences than inspirations (although each of them, in their own ways, are inspiring). As educators — both of them served in the New York City school system for most of their careers — they instilled in me a great love of learning, as well as a drive to succeed academically. They fostered and encouraged my creative pursuits, whether on the page or on the stage. And, let’s be honest, we have a complicated relationship (hey, being an only child can be weird) – the ensuing teenage angst certainly propelled a lot of my creative energy and helped shape the person I am today.
2) Lauren Oliver. She’s one of my oldest friends, she’s incredibly talented, she’s generous, and she has one of the strongest work ethics I know. It’s hard not to be inspired by her, especially since we’re working in the same field. She’s also an inspirational cook, by which I mean I want to eat everything she makes.
3) Stephen King. A fellow Mainer, a prolific author who has overcome his own personal battles, and a master of suspense and horror. Duh.
4) Journalism. The way I was taught to write at Boston University and at my newspaper job certainly influences the way I write fiction. In some ways, it’s positive – I’m comfortable with editing and with deadlines, and I think I have a certain “writing tone,” in other ways it’s been a challenge – I needed to learn to linger in scenes in a way that felt very foreign to me at first.
5) Nature. Living in Maine, where you’re never more than a 15-minute drive from the ocean or the woods, the natural world becomes a force of its own, one that creeps into my writing and the way I think about stories. I certainly think the foreboding winter atmosphere in Fury ups the creepiness, acting almost as a character in itself.
6) Beyonce. Okay, this might seem like a weird one? But I really think Beyonce carries herself with such class and dignity and enthusiasm – it’s something I seek to emulate, even if I’m not a super-hot superstar (or soon-to-be mama!). Not to mention her absurd talent and dancing abilities.
7) Judy Blume. Sorry to be a fangirl here, but I just remember reading Judy Blume books as a young girl and thinking, I want to write books. She just *gets it* – humor, sympathy, and realistic emotions.
8 ) Musical theater. Musicals are: melodramatic, uplifting, completely bizarre (I mean, people just *bursting* into song??), and totally amazing. From Oklahoma! to Les Miserables to Rent and a million in between, musical theater has been a crucial part of my creative life over the years, as an audience member and as a performer. I think my love for musicals imbues my world with just a little more wonder, allowing me to sometimes suspend my disbelief and just *be entertained.*
Elizabeth Miles lives in Portland, Maine and writes for an alternative newsweekly. Fury is her first novel. Visit her online at www.ElizabethMilesBooks.com, find her on Facebook (facebook.com/elizabethmileswrites), and follow her on Twitter twitter.com/milesbooks.
We have ONE copy of Fury up for grabs! The contest is open to residents of the US and UK, and will run until September 10 at 11:59PM (PST). In order to enter, simply leave a comment here letting us know what YOUR favorite Greek myth or retelling is. Only one entry per person, please! Multiple comments will be disqualified. Good luck!
RainaSeptember 5, 2011 at 12:22 am
My favorite is the story of how Hades falls in love with Persephone and kidnaps her (which makes me really excited to read Abandon by Meg Cabot!)
Martha M.September 5, 2011 at 2:18 am
I kinda love and feel bad for Medusa.
C. SwiftSeptember 5, 2011 at 4:46 am
Orpheus and Eurydice, even though it’s so sad!
SandySeptember 5, 2011 at 5:10 am
I’ll have to go with the story of Cassandra, who had the gift of prophecy, but was cursed so know one ever believed her. (I’m named after her)
LexiSeptember 5, 2011 at 5:15 am
“Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis is one of my all time favorite books and retellings. It retells the Cupid and Psyche myth.
AmySeptember 5, 2011 at 5:27 am
I’ve always had a soft spot for Pandora. 🙂
Anne M LeoneSeptember 5, 2011 at 5:46 am
I’ve always loved the image of Pandora opening that forbidden box.
KristenSeptember 5, 2011 at 6:36 am
I’ve always been fond of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece.
StacySeptember 5, 2011 at 7:27 am
Gotta go with Pandora as well on this one. I can never get tired of that story.
S.S. WhiteSeptember 5, 2011 at 7:30 am
I’ve had to go with Orpheus and Eurydice, because it kills me every time that he can’t resist looking back!
KatieSeptember 5, 2011 at 7:39 am
My favorite is Hades and Persephone, though I haven’t found an amazing retelling of it yet.
Lindsay ElizabethSeptember 5, 2011 at 7:40 am
I must admit, I was always a fan of Apollo and Daphne. When I think about that, it’s funny- the story of a god (paranormal being) who wants to get with a nymph (normal in comparison to a god. If written by many modern YA writers, that story would have ended in Tru Wuv… But nope, she turns into a tree to get away from him.
Scribe KiraSeptember 5, 2011 at 8:31 am
Pandora’s box or the tale sisyphus (retold)
draconismoiSeptember 5, 2011 at 9:07 am
I’ve always loved the story of Kassandra and how no one believes her prophecies. Just how awful would it be to always see disaster coming and have no one believe you until after the fact?
That and the birth of Athena. Definitely my two favorite moments in Greek mythology.
Tatiana C.September 5, 2011 at 9:54 am
I really love the story between Persephone and Hades. I don’t know of any great retellings, but the small bit with them in the Lightning Thief was cute.
EllieSeptember 5, 2011 at 10:03 am
I love them all! But if I had to choose, I would probably go with Pandora.
JustineSeptember 5, 2011 at 10:19 am
Persephone, Pandora, and Cassandra seem to be popular answers!
Hann1balSeptember 5, 2011 at 11:10 am
I have to say, for sheer messed-upness, it’s hard to beat some of the myths about Dionysus. And that makes me like them.
bigfoot24September 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm
I am very fond of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series because it introduces many of the gods and goddesses from Greek Mythology and gives some background on each.
Sarah WebsterSeptember 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I like Odysseus and Penelope, The Odyssey has always been one of my favourite books 🙂
Sara MSeptember 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm
My favorite is Orpheus and Eurydice.
MeganSSeptember 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Orpheus and Eurydice is by far my favorite myth, and one I’m always excited to see retold and reinterpreted. Stories where someone ventures in the afterlife or the underworld in order to attempt to rescue a loved one? I love it.
(Other things I love: that Elizabeth lists Judy Blume as an inspiration!)
HeidiSeptember 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm
I love the story of Daedelus: the labyrinth, Minotaur, Theseus and of course Icarus.
jenmitchSeptember 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm
The essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Camus was so striking to me when I read it as a teenager, and remains a favorite interpretation of a Greek myth.
(I was scanning through people’s answers and saw that someone wrote the re-telling of sisyphus…. and I thought “cool me too! that person has great taste” and looked at the name and saw that it was my sister saying that. Love it!)
Amy CSeptember 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm
I adore the myth of Sibyl, after seeing her mentioned in T. S. Eliot’s “Waste Land.” Quite a foolish mistake — choosing immortality but neglecting eternal youth — and what makes it so much better is that her mistake is now commonly used as a plot twist/turner (or a deux ex machina…!) in contemporary books!
Victoria ZumbrumSeptember 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm
I love Hercules. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com
HeatherSeptember 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm
I have to say Medusa is my favorite. It was tough because I love so much of Greek mythology but Medusa just takes the cake for me.
She has always frightened me and I loved reading/watching people battle her, it’s fascinating. She’s so scary awesome!
VivianSeptember 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm
I like the story of Hades and Persephone, as well as the story of Icarus .
Jess (The Cozy Reader)September 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm
I’m going with Hercules!
Thanks for the giveaway!
debbieSeptember 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm
My favorite is Cassandra. Appollo granted her the gift of prophecy because of her beauty, than when she rejected him, he cursed her, with no one believing her.
Stephanie K.September 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm
The story of Hades and Persephone.
TinaSeptember 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm
My favorite Greek myth retelling is probably Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block. It is just so creative and plays around with a lot of the facets of Greek mythology.
Marlene BreakfieldSeptember 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm
My favorite Greek myth is Hades and Persephone.
BeccaSeptember 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm
I’m seriously in love with the story of Orpheus. Particularly when Neil Gaiman’s the one telling it.
MaureenSeptember 6, 2011 at 3:43 am
I would say Pandora is the first story I thought of when I read your question.
Bree JordanSeptember 6, 2011 at 5:02 am
My favorite retelling of Greek mythology is by gena showalter the lords of the underworld. A retelling of the killing and opening of pandora’s box.
GinnySeptember 6, 2011 at 5:07 am
my fave greek myth would have to be Orpheus and Euridice. Thanks for the opportunity girls!
MargaySeptember 6, 2011 at 5:26 am
I think I’m in the majority with Hades and Persephone.
SerenitySeptember 6, 2011 at 6:47 am
Does the Battle of Thermopylae count? Can’t beat 300…
Julie WittSeptember 6, 2011 at 6:52 am
I’ve always loved the story of Hades and Persephone, which is a kind of twisted love story!!
jpetroroySeptember 6, 2011 at 8:32 am
I’ve always loved Persephone, too 🙂
MarieCSeptember 6, 2011 at 8:43 am
My favorite is myth is still the “Medusa’ myths.
Jules@OneBookShySeptember 6, 2011 at 9:08 am
Tough question as I like quite a few of them. I think I will go with Pandora. Gena Showalter has put a fantastic spin on that particular story.
Susan LauraSeptember 6, 2011 at 9:46 am
Definitely Hades & Persephone. I have read quite a few good takes on this mythological relationship and seem to like it every time!
AliceSeptember 6, 2011 at 10:52 am
I have to second those Hades & Persephone lovers! Cool stop, and great review. I think I’ll pop out for this one now!
Stephanie T.September 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm
My favorite greek myth has to be Athena and Arachne. I remember doing a little play about it in elementary school and we wore bedsheets as our toga outfits!
Kate & ZenaSeptember 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm
There are so many Greek myths that I love but I’m going to go with Apollo and Daphne for this one. The sculpture done by Bernini tells the tale with no words!
Elizabeth MilesSeptember 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Hi! Not entering to win the book, obvs, but just swinging by to say: a) hello, b) Cassandra is one of my favorite stories too, and b) thanks for reading/entering, everyone!
JenniSeptember 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm
I always loved the story of Prometheus 🙂
beverlySeptember 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm
My favorite would have to be Persephone. I read a re-telling of it about two years ago but the title doesnt want to come off the tip of my tongue =P
HayleySeptember 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm
My favourite would have to be The Judgement of Paris, with Eris’ Apple of Discord, mainly because it brings together so many other myths and starts off all the Trojan War myths. It just about beats Echo and Narcissus to the punch.
CourtneySeptember 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm
I like the story of Medusa.
Emily ThompsonSeptember 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm
Oh my goodness, I love all Greek mythology, it’s so hard to pick my favourite. But if I have to, it’s probably either the legend of Echo and Narcissus, because it’s a beautiful representation for such simple concepts. Oo! Or, since I can never pick just one, it’s the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is just tragic, but it says a lot about human nature and just life in general.
I have a nice old copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology that I read whenever I have time and I love it. (:
JessySeptember 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm
My favorite Greek Myth character is Pandia. She is personification of brightness and a daughter of Zeus and Selene. She persumably was the goddess of the full moon. Her beauty was renowned among the gods.
MissieSeptember 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm
My favorite myth has to be Cupid and Psyche–Persephone is close, but “Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis is hands down my fave retelling, so Psyche wins overall.
Kaya HSeptember 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm
Well for Greek Myth I love Artemis. She can either be cumming or very vindictive. I loved the adaptation of Greek myth in PJ Hoover’s Solstice that was released earlier in the summer.
Teri CSeptember 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm
Well I love how Kenyon adapts her Greek Myth and then some so her mythies are always so hot, demanding and full of arse kicking.
For heroines I love Artemis, come on owls and arrows?!
and for my Greek Heroes, I must say that Theseus is fine since he saved us all from having to sacrifice our kids to minotaurs.
I would love Fury for a nice soon to be fall read. Thank you for the giveaway!
JoanSeptember 7, 2011 at 7:59 am
I have to say that my favorite is the tale of hades and persephone. Though I have to admit that I have really been enjoying percy jackson and the olympians plus its sequal series.
JoanSeptember 7, 2011 at 8:01 am
The tale of hades and persephone. Though I have to admit that I have really been enjoying percy jackson and the olympians plus its sequal series.
EmilySeptember 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm
I don’t know if I would call it my favorite, but the Persephone myth popped into my head when I read your question. There’s just something about that myth that has stuck with me since I first read it. I can’t eat a pomegranate without thinking of it.
Deb B.September 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm
I’m going to have to vote for the story of Persephone like so many others.
Van P.September 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm
Persephone and Hades of course 🙂
Rachael LSeptember 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm
The story of Pandora has been a favorite of mine. Thank you for the giveaway!
SaraCSeptember 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm
I’m a fan of Icarus. It’s just so sad!
PriyaSeptember 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm
My favorite Greek myth is probably that of Persephone and Hades or the story of Promethus- very different, but they’re both wonderful in my opinion.
This book looks SO INCREDIBLE, i would absolutely love to win!
Lisa B.September 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm
So many to choose from, but Daphne’s flight from Apollo always struck a chord with me.
Emilia WSeptember 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm
Like the others, it’s very hard for me to pick. I would probably go with the story of Persephone.
SusanSeptember 11, 2011 at 3:51 am
Ooh, a topic that is near and dear to my heart! I have a hard time picking one myth because they’re all so interconnected (x is related to y who fought beside q and x is nearly always Hercules or Zeus). My favourite telling of a myth is probably Iphegenia at Aulus, just because it actually puts a little happiness into the Oresteia – Orestes, wandering through the world pursued by the furies (hah, relevance!) stumbles across an island where men are sacrificed to Artemis – and the head priestess is Iphigenia, the sister everyone believed his father had sacrificed to get a wind to take the armies to troy. (it occurs to me that I’ve given the wrong play title, but I’ve yet to work out how to back up on an ipod.)
Amanda WSeptember 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Okay, I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I’ve brushed up on my Greek myths. But I really enjoyed Meg Cabot’s retelling of Hades and Persephone, mostly because I enjoy Meg’s breezy, entertaining writing style.