We were thrilled when we got the opportunity to chat with two of our fabulous authors: Lanie Bross (PLL, CHAOS) and Carina Adly MacKenzie (The Studio, ETERNAL NIGHT). Both of these authors have written romantic, complex, modern-with-a-twist novels that tie-in very different elements of mythology. Read on to learn more about their individual writing processes, which characters they’d like to explore more, and their favorite myths!
CHAOS takes place both in the modern world and different, intricately built fantasy worlds. On the other hand, ETERNAL NIGHT is set mostly in modern NYC, with characters who are descended from ancient Gods and Goddesses. What were the challenges of these different settings?
Lanie Bross: The challenge for me in CHAOS was trying to pare down the ideas for the fantasy worlds. There were so many directions to go in and limiting it to the worlds I chose was hard. I wanted them to go through a dozen more really cool places!
Carina Adly MacKenzie: My biggest challenge was living in Los Angeles! I grew up around NYC, but I’ve been in LA for pretty much all of my adult life, and I write for a TV show that’s set in New Orleans, so my brain is a tangle of weird geography and getting the NYC atmosphere right was a challenge. Luckily, the Paper Lantern Lit editors are all based in Brooklyn, so they helped me out with little details — like reminding me that there aren’t many alleys to duck into in NYC, or how long it would take to get from Point A to Point B in apocalyptic traffic.
Were you inspired by any specific myths when developing your characters? Why do you think mythology is still inspiring to writers today?
LB: It wasn’t so much the myth of the Fates as it was the idea of whether or not we control our own destiny. I think that mythology is still inspiring because its so broad and the way it was used to explain every day things is still relevant because those things still happen!
CAM: I was inspired by a lot of different myths — each of the gods in Eternal Night has a rich backstory and a complicated family history, even if they didn’t all necessarily make it to the page. There are so many stories about the gods that inspired my characters — Dionysus, Aphrodite, Nike, Mars, Peitho, Nyx, Elpis — it was fun to pick and choose the “truths” I’d include and honor in my own interpretation. Classical mythology is an embarrassment of riches: wild and imaginative and entirely boundless. It’ll inspire writers forever.
Which myth (of any tradition: Greek, Roman, Nordic, etc) is your favorite?
LB: If I had to choose I guess it would be Persephone. She brings light and life back into a cold dead world!
CAM: I’ve got a lot of favorites, but the one that springs to mind is the birth of Athena — It’s not really referenced in Eternal Night, but I’m keeping it up my sleeve. As the story goes, Metis — one of the titans — was pregnant, and an oracle prophesied that her child would one day come to overthrow Zeus. Threatened, Zeus seduced Metis and ate her and her unborn child (I know, I know, but it’s not even close to weird in relation to other myths). Later, he developed the most excruciating headache, and the other gods decided to take a wedge and split open his skull — and out of his brain came Athena, the goddess of wisdom, all grown up and wearing full armor. Badass, yeah?
Both CHAOS and ETERNAL NIGHT have some steamy romance scenes! If you both could describe the different romances in your books in 3 words, what would they be?
LB: Against the Odds.
CAM: Reckless. Fraught. Hopeful.
If you could write short stories from one character’s POV, who would it be?
LB: Definitely Jasmine.
CAM: Weston, definitely. I have a lot of ideas for “flashback” short stories that explore all the characters’ history, but the thing I’d most love to explore is Weston and how his bond with Mark developed… and fell apart.
Fill in the blank: “If you like _________, you’ll love [insert title of book.]
LB: If you like jumping through time, a strong girl, and forbidden romance, you’ll love CHAOS.
CAM: If you like “The Originals” (minus vampires) plus “Gossip Girl” (minus that jerkwad Chuck Bass) plus “Percy Jackson” (minus teenagers), you’ll love Eternal Night. (I was never very good at math.)