Author Chat with Tracy Barrett, Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Tracy Barrett,
author of The Song of Orpheus! Below
you'll find our interview,
more about Tracy, and her book, plus a
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Tracy Barrett: In college, I majored in Classics and I’ve always loved mythology. I thought I knew all the Greek myths that could possibly interest anyone, but when I saw an ancient Greek vase with an image representing a myth that I was only vaguely familiar with, it occurred to me that if I had hardly ever heard about it, most kids probably hadn’t heard of it either! So I decided to find other “forgotten” Greek myths and retell them for a middleschool audience.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
TB: My favorite character in all of Greek mythology is Athena, but she doesn’t appear often in this book, maybe because most stories about her are very well known and these are littleknown myths. A girl named Kyrene is the star of an important myth that I dug up and retold, and I really like her—she was strong and independent and interesting.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
TB: The book! I’m terrible with titles and tried out lots of duds before settling on The Song of Orpheus.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
TB: I’m glad I included the myth about the halfmale, halffemale character Hermaphroditos. Many adults are uncomfortable discussing gender as anything but binary, and it’s important to remind readers that this isn’t the only model.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
TB: I got an excellent reminder from Newbery winner Sid Fleischman when he asked me if I was enjoying writing my first novel (Anna of Byzantium). I said yes, and added that this was a good thing because I didn’t think anyone would ever want to publish a biographical novel about a twelfthcentury Byzantine princess no kid had ever heard of, so if I wasn’t having a good time it would all be a big waste. He patted my hand and said, “Good for you! Having fun while writing is the first and best reward!” (It did get published and has sold over 200,000 copies!) So have fun, and if the book doesn’t get published or doesn’t have success, at least you’ll have had a good time.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
TB: Everything! I’m a firsttime indie publisher (I’ve published 20 books in the traditional way, and have several more under contract—going indie here was a choice for this particular title). One of the fun things about being the boss was discussing the cover with Joe Cepeda, the wonderful illustrator of the cover of The Song of Orpheus (many people are familiar with his cover of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising). I knew what I wanted but I also knew that I’m ignorant about what makes a good cover, and Joe is excellent at communicating that. I love the result!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
TB: I’m trying new things! I’ve never written straight fantasy before, although some of my books have small touches of what might be called magical realism, and I have a middlegrade fantasy coming out in Fall, 2017. I’ve also never written a contemporary YA—only historical—and I have one scheduled for Spring, 2018, based partly on my past as a skydiver.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
TB: Revising. I do lots of puzzles—crosswords, sudoku, kenken, etc.—and revising is like a big puzzle. You have a lot of elements that have to fit together right, and sometimes what you think
is working isn’t, so you have to erase/delete a big part of something you’ve worked on very hard and do that part over again. I enjoy making things fit, so I enjoy revising.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
TB: Being able to type with a dog sleeping on my lap and his head on my typing arm. Luckily, he’s a small dog.
Meet The Song of Orpheus!
THE SONG OF ORPHEUS: THE GREATEST GREEK MYTHS YOU NEVER HEARD is a funny, adventure-filled collection of wonderfully weird "new" Greek myths. This unforgettable collection spins tales of love and loss, hilariously vain superheroes, ancient robots, untrappable giant foxes, men reborn after being torn apart by dragons, and even the world's first monkeys. A few of these tales may seem familiar at first, but be prepared for the unexpected. Others are wonderfully strange and puzzling. All of them are entertaining. All of them deserve to be better known. Retold by author and scholar Tracy Barrett (THE SHERLOCK FILES, ANNA OF BYZANTIUM, THE STEPSISTER'S TALE) with accuracy, suspense, and humor, using authoritative translations into English of ancient source material, the myths in THE SONG OF ORPHEUS will make readers, and especially fans of THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS series, laugh, gasp, and geek out.
The first book I ever read by myself was called Little Bobo and His Blue Jacket. I still have it. I learned to read when I was three, but I know now that this doesn't mean much. My brother didn't really read until he was seven, and now he reads more and remembers it better than I do.
I have a husband, two grown children, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and a rescue kitty.
In 2014 I retired from teaching Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University to write full time. I love doing school visits and hope that when my schedule doesn't mean that I'm working while kids are in school, I'll be able to do more of them.
I like to travel, especially to Italy, and especially with my family. I used to skydive (that's how I met my husband, but on the ground, not in the air!) but except for a jump in 2014 as research for a book, I haven't jumped out of an airplane in a long time.
The Song of Orpheus
By: Tracy Barrett
Release Date: August 1, 2016
One winner will receive a copy of The Song of Orpheus (US only).
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*a Rafflecopter giveaway
I love Greek Mythology and also am a fan of Athena! I love the concept of the untold myths! The cover looks like the paintings in the museum, love it!