14 Jun 2017

Author Interview with Janell Rhiannon

Rise of Princes by Janell Rhiannon

The Iliad and the Odyssey and a canon of Greek mythology meet in this epic retelling of the Trojan War.
After the heartbreaking sacrifice at Aulis, the western Greeks unite to plunder Troy and recapture Menelaus' wife, Helen. For nine years Agamemnon and his horde lay siege to Trojan allies, but it is Achilles, the Golden Warrior, who brutally ravages the Troad lands becoming the Sacker of Cities. His fierce onslaught prompts the gods to intervene on behalf of the Trojans and their allies. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty and patroness of Troy, sends the Princess Briseis to calm the bloody fury of Achilles.
Hektor, the Golden Prince, leads the Trojan army against the western invaders, keeping Troy safe behind the Great Wall. As Defender of the Citadel, he grants sanctuary to thousands of refugees seeking safety from the death and destruction sweeping the land. Behind the solidarity of the royal family, tensions over the continued presence of Helen of Sparta threaten to topple the empire. When the fate of Troy appears most grim, a ray of hope is offered by a new prophesy. Despite his private losses, Hektor vows to remain the strength his people need.
Across the Aegean, the Greek kingdoms struggle with disturbing news from Troy. Queen Clytemnestra of Mycenae, reeling from Agamemnon’s ruthless betrayal, loses faith in the gods and plots her revenge. Queen Penelope of Ithaka, young and uncertain, prays to Athena for her husband’s swift return. And Tyndareus, the former king of Sparta, works to usurp Menelaus’ throne.
Rise of Princes
Song of Princes

Book Trailer

Tell us a little about your book. What inspired you to write it? Is it part of a series?
Rise of Princes is the second book in the Homeric Chronicles (book one is titled Song of Princes). This is an adult Greek mythological romance series, centering on the Trojan War. It features an entire cast of diverse characters, heroes and heroines, kings and queens, gods and goddesses complete with epic battles and epic affairs of the heart. Wanting to write a story connecting as myths as possible, deciding how to weave all these threads together into a single, rich tapestry, has been a daunting (yet rewarding) task. I don’t shy away from the brutality of war, or the racy sexy bits of love. (Did I say this is an 18 year old and up novel? This isn’t your YA version of mythological/historical romance. LOL.)
I was inspired by the life questions Greek mythology raises: Are we truly tied to a singular fate? Is love more powerful than hate? How does war change us as humans? Can a powerful love transcend time? Why are we here? And also, I felt that much of the available myth fiction is either aimed at kids or a primarily masculine audience. I also thought that women haven’t been getting their fair share of a richly built ancient Greek world when it came to Greek mythology. I wanted to change that.
And when I started reading R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, I realized I could tell these many stories in a singular timeline with a convergence in the famous Trojan War and its aftermath. Some HEA and some not so much…

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
I love this question, but in my mind I see this as an HBO (or STRZ) series because it is epic in scale and could never be told in a single movie. So far, I have 85 characters and 4 main story lines with sub stories that converge into the fireworks of the Trojan War. As for who I’d like to see as main characters:
Hektor, the Golden Prince of Troy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his wife, Andromache, played by Zoe Saldana. Can you imagine the passion between these two? Steamy. Glorious!
Paris, the Forgotten Prince of Troy, Kit Harington and his lover, Helen, Rose Leslie. Yes, both of these actors are from Game of Thrones , but they have a chemistry on and off screen to pull of this couple. Paris and Helen must be immersive in as physical lovers and tempestuous enough to throw their world into fire.
Achilles, the Golden Warrior, Brock O’Hurn because he is the only actor big enough with the golden locks to boot. He’s a novice actor, but that would allow a director (who I see as a woman, maybe Angelina Jolie or ?) to “create” the perfect Achilles. As his lover, Briseis, I see Liv Tyler. Because she’s strong and soft. I’m sure these two actor’s who set the screen on fire!
Odysseus, King of Ithaka, Henry Cavill and as Penelope, his long patient and faithful wife, Olivia Wilde. Henry’s eyes look the patient yet cunning kind, and I want to see him with the talent of Olivia. Steamy and worth the wait for their HEA.
Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae, I’d want Hugh Jackman and for his wife, Clytemnestra, Lena Heady. These two could literally rip each other apart through their cruelty and vengeance. This would be a dark role for Hugh, but he’s been the hero forever and I bet he’d love a chance to be the bad guy for once. Give in to your dark side Wolverine! As for Lena, well, she is very good as being bad already.

What made you become an author?
I am a storyteller. I wanted to tell stories.

One of your all-time favorite book covers
Fire Falling by Elise Kova. A book that made me think “wow” and why it affected me: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, because it made me see mythology in an entirely new light almost 20 years ago. This book guided me to my current direction and outlook on humanity.

Who or what inspires you? 
I’m inspired by old stories, legends, myths, and “what ifs.”

Where is your favorite place to write? 
My office. I’ve tried working in the local Starbucks, but I’m too distracted and I can’t take my piles of research with me…so, at home, in my office with a cup of coffee and pajamas.

Favourite movie based on a book
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and I’m really into the Game of Thrones by RR Martin.

If you could have a dinner party with any author from any time period, who would you pick and why?
A dinner party with my favorite authors would be Homer, Tolkien, Jane Austin, Diana Gabaldon and RR Martin. All these authors have created stories with characters that have endured and left a mark on our hearts as readers. They are consummate storytellers. The gold standard of world building for fantasy and mythology and I’d love to pick their brains about all of it.

Janell always had her nose in a book when growing up, reading by flashlight when it was "lights out" time. Her love of reading turned into a desire to tell stories. She now writes in all the spare moments she can squeeze out of a day. She adores mythology and epic fantasy. Anything magical and mystical. And dragons. And gargoyles. She is an avid Game of Thrones fan. She currently lives in CA.

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  1. Awesome interview! I have read these books and they are AMAZING!! I highly recommend them! :)

    1. Thanks CJ for stopping by Suzy's blog :) And thanks Suzy for giving me the opportunity to talk about Rise of Princes. I loved these questions!


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