Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Tour: Night of Pan by Gail Strickland (Guest Post)

Title: Night of Pan
Author: Gail Strickland
Series: The Oracle of Delphi Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: November 7, 2014

Synopsis: The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?

Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.

And the gods have plans for this girl.

When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.

Her destiny may be to save Greece…
…but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?

About the Author: While studying the Classics in college, Gail Strickland translated much of Homer’s ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Herodotus’ prophecies and THE BACCHAI by Euripides. Living on the Greek islands after college, she discovered her love of myth, the wine-dark sea and retsina. THE BALTIMORE REVIEW and WRITER’S DIGEST have recognized Gail’s fiction. She published stories and poems in Travelers’ Tales’ anthologies and the San Francisco Writer’s anthology. Her poetry and photography were published in a collection called CLUTTER. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gail grew up in Northern California. She raised her children; was a musical director for CAT children’s theater; taught music in schools; mentored young poets and novelists and introduced thousands of youngsters to piano and Greek mythology. Gail is passionate about bringing the richness of Homer’s language and culture to today’s youth.

Guest Post:

Hello Book Lovers! It’s great to be here to talk about books and writing. Thanks to Kristen for inviting me! My name is Gail Strickland. My book, a YA historical fantasy called NIGHT OF PAN just launched this week.

Kristen, I’ve been thinking about your idea of a cozy reading corner. That really is part of the magic of reading, isn’t it? I remember when I was young and devouring everything written by Charles Dickens, I’d always sit in my dad’s easy chair before the fire … always sat sideways with my back to one arm and my legs draped over the other and lost myself in other times and other worlds. That’s when I first decided I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write a “good” book, a book that would carry people away to another time, another land. A book to get lost in.

So, I wrote and re-wrote NIGHT OF PAN. Publishing this my first book is a dream come true. And talk about a cozy reading corner! I started writing the book in a cottage on a wild, windswept Irish coast near a village called Clonakilty. It felt right that I should begin writing it in a small hut built of stones reclaimed from a signal tower. In times past, that’s how they sent urgent messages about invaders, about births of kings and queens. They posted lookouts day and night on stone towers and lit fires to carry a message with smoke and flame from tower to tower.

Fitting, isn’t it? The signal towers are long gone, but I believe that as writers we never stop pouring our hearts into our writing, lighting that fire to share.

One of the most enjoyable parts about writing is the research. I did a lot of research for this book! In college I was a classicist with a passion for translating Homer. Because of that background, I was able to translate the four Persian prophecies that we have from Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived over two thousand years ago.
Set in 480 BCE—the same time the film 300 takes place—I focused on the Persian invasion led by King Xerxes.

The battle of Thermopylae is in my book, but instead of writing from a soldier’s point of view, I write through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old village girl, Thaleia, destined to become the Oracle of Delphi. Destined to save the cradle of democracy. Though the largest invasion the ancient world had seen is in my book, my story isn’t about the kind of courage where someone picks up a sword and chops off heads. My book is about the courage it takes to know who you truly are. My book is about speaking your own truth and trusting oneself.
Thaleia’s father arranged for her to marry an older and evil man.
Thaleia said no.
The priests denied her visions and her wisdom.
But she spoke her prophecies anyway. Trusting herself and her intuition, she saved democracy. A young girl believed in herself and changed history.

So, my book is fantasy based on history. I hope it is a book that carries readers away to a far-off time and a land of gods and satyrs and mystics chanting oracles from deep-secret chambers. Find your cozy corner and begin! Be sure to write and let me know what you think.

-Kristen ♥

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