Friday, April 8, 2016

Author Interview: Coreena McBurnie



Hello Coreena, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 

First things first: how did you take up writing?

Thanks for having me here. I've always loved reading and have dabbled in writing over the years, but mostly poetry. About 8 years ago I took a Creative Muse class where we played with many forms of creativity, and I realized how strongly I connected to writing. I started writing for fun and didn't think much would come of it, but am happy to say that I've recently published my first novel, Prophecy.

What was your very first attempt at creative writing?

I remember writing a story in about grade 5. I put a lot of effort into it and I loved it, but the teacher didn't... My confidence was really shaken. Same story you hear a lot, unfortunately. 

Where did you get the ideas for your stories?

I like to draw on ancient myth, especially Greek myth. I love mythology and even studied it at university. Retelling myths for a modern audience is turning out to be addictive for me.

What in particular gave you the idea for Prophecy?

For Prophecy, I am retelling the Oedipus myths from the point of view of Oedipus' daughter, Antigone. I've always loved her character -- she is strong and passionate, flawed yet doesn't like to back down. Prophecy is the first in the Antigone series and each book follows an Oedipus play by Sophocles.

Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?

I don't really enjoy schedules, but I do write or edit nearly every day. I usually have to break up my time into small chunks because I find working for hours on end to be very difficult.

A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?

I love it. I decided to self publish Prophecy. Indie authors are changing the whole publishing industry and are able to take risks that traditional publishers don't tend to take. And we also maintain control of our rights to our books. It's an exciting time in publishing and self publishing is definitely a lot of work -- I've made lots of mistakes already -- but it's also a lot of fun. I had to think about my goals with publishing my book, and the main one was to entertain people with a story that I wanted to tell, and I was able to do that best by self publishing.

If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?

A dream cast would be Jennifer Lawrence as Antigone, Amandla Stenberg as Ismene, Johnny Depp as Oedipus, and Emma Thompson as Jocasta.

What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?

I am currently working on two projects: Book 2 of the Antigone series called Fate, which I am hoping to publish this fall; and a standalone more adult oriented novel called Betrayed which is about Clytemnestra (who kills her husband, Agamemnon, when he returns from the Trojan War). I've just put Chapter 1 of Betrayed on Wattpad. My plan is to post a new chapter there every 1-2 weeks.

Here's a fun quote from my writing of Fate the other day:

Despite the haze of my anger, my thoughts were remarkably clear. I concentrated the energy in my hands, knowing the tables had turned. Apollo looked at me with fear and I relished it. Those luxurious brown eyes widened, worried. I wanted him to be scared, to feel out of control, to have someone else in charge of his fate for once. I needed this frivolous god to know what it was like. 

Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?

I find most other authors inspire me! I love reading and try to appreciate all of the great character development and vivid descriptions in anything I read. I savour these things and try to use them in my own writing. As far as characters go, I am inspired by Kasta in Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

What would your advice be to aspiring authors?

Turn off your inner editor and write! Get your story down, even if you have to take baby steps to do it. Eventually, you will have a manuscript to edit. Do not edit as you go or you will never get done -- we are usually too critical of ourselves.

What would be an ideal gift for you?

For some reason this is a hard question! I love beautiful pens and artwork. Also, I love being taken out for dinner -- an evening of chatting and no cooking is pretty awesome.

And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why? 

Another tough one -- I think The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer because I read it to my daughter and it is one of her favourite books. It would make her happy if it was a movie.

Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 

Thanks so much for having me here. 

Coreena McBurnie 



My name is Coreena McBurnie and, ever since grade 5 when I had to do a report on Theseus and the Minotaur, I have had a soft spot for Greek mythology. When I hit university, I was drawn to the Classical Studies department (earning both a BA & MA), where I explored the archaeology and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds — and also where I managed to read Homer’s Odyssey, one of my absolute favourite books, in the original Greek, something which was thrilling for me (I know, sounds crazy, but the poetry and scope of the original text is amazing). After a lifetime of “what is that?”, “why did you study that?”, and “what can you do with a degree in Classical Studies?” I have decided to write novels based in ancient myth and to bring so many of the stories I love to life for a modern audience, with my own spin, of course.
Prophecy, Book 1 in the Antigone Series, is my first published novel. Currently I am working on Book 2 in the Antigone Series, called Fate. I am also in the middle of another novel about Clytemnestra who is notorious in Greek myth for killing her husband, Agamemnon, when he returned home from the Trojan War. I love exploring the motives of strong women in ancient myth.
I live in BC, Canada with my husband, our three kids, and our cat, in a beautiful part of the country, on two rivers, surrounded by ranches, near ski hills, and only a couple of hours drive to the ocean.

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