Greek gods, an enemies-to-lovers romance, and a quest to save the world? Daughter of Sparta, eat your heart out! Seriously, this book is so dang good and if you love Greek mythology, you’ll love seeing some of your favorite myths retold and catching some of the inside jokes! We sat down with Claire M. Andrews to talk about her book, some upcoming projects, and of course, mythology!
What was your initial inspiration for Daughter of Sparta?
Daughter of Sparta was born from an amalgamation of a lot of things. Frustration with the endings for women in Greek mythology, where women were often murdered, abandoned, disregarded and cheated. Frustration with all of my favorite romantic ships in TV shows (I have THEE worst luck). My love of stories and adventures, reading and day dreaming of far off places, and being the hero. I wanted to give all of that to one of the most neglected women in Greek mythology: Daphne. A women chased by Apollo until she was forced to turn herself into a tree. She deserved more than that version of her story, and so gave her the space – and pages – to do so.
Can you describe your writing process? Are you a pre-plotter or do you develop the plot as you write?
It depends on the book I’m writing, honestly. For Daughter of Sparta, I was very much a pantser and I regretted it each time I sat down to revise. But, I feel that it gave Daphne a very genuine voice and realistic actions. I really let her tell the story even if it meant that I had to do a lot of extra work revising. For my other projects I’m currently working on, I’ve plotted them out with very detailed summaries, which makes me have to go the extra mile when finding my MC’s voice. It’s a bit of a push and pull, always, with writing.
The history nerd in me loves the use of ancient Greek words and historical references in Daughter of Sparta! What sort of research did you have to do for this book?
SO. MUCH. RESEARCH. Like endless research. I was still picking up my textbooks and reviewing fine details even when I went into copyedits for Daughter of Sparta. My background is in social sciences, with a focus on archaeology, and I would always pick Ancient Greece for all of my research papers. I still have a lot of my old research papers printed out for reference around my office, as well as the journal articles I printed out for those papers, and a stack of research books almost as tall as I am.
Okay, we need to talk about Apollo. He is a hottie patotie, and it’s not just because he’s a sun god! What was it like adapting a literal Greek god into a love interest?
It was a gamble, honestly, and very difficult. As with adapting any of the Greek gods, there’s a lot of history and so many versions of them all out in the world. No two versions of their stories are exactly the same, and everyone has a favorite. I wanted to get this version of Apollo right, while being both faithful and original in my adaptation of him. That being said, Apollo has a lot of history under his belt, and not all of it good. Daphne has grown up hearing stories, both good and bad, of Apollo. Her life has already been upended by the gods – how much more danger is she willing to risk to give into the undeniable attraction that she and Apollo share?
What is your favorite Greek myth? How did you choose which myths to adapt in Daughter of Sparta?
Easy! My favorite Greek myth would have to be Cupid and Psyche! As for which myths I chose to integrate into Daughter of Sparta? That was a bit more difficult. There were so many I wanted to include, but I had to make their inclusion feel organic. There were a lot that I had to take out as I was revising, actually, because their role in this particular story just didn’t fit in. That being said, there are quite a few myths that I’ve woven into this story that you’ll recognize, and maybe even some of your favorites will appear in future books. *wink wink*
What are some books you’ve been reading recently, or would recommend?
My go-to book recommendations would have to be – Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin.
Currently, I’m reading and LOVING The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec, Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath, and Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley.
What are you working on now? Any exciting ideas you can share?
I’m currently working on two projects. One is a dark academia book that I can’t share too much about right now, and I am also drafting the sequel to Daughter of Sparta, actually! The title gives away the setting: Blood of Troy. Here’s a wee tease – as the kingdoms of Greece clash and the gods pick sides in the Trojan War, Daphne must use her wits, her training, and her precarious relationship with Apollo to keep her queen safe and uncover the true reason the gods led her to Troy.
I’ve been wanting to write this book since even before I finished the first draft of Daughter of Sparta. I’m so excited to take readers on Daphne’s next adventure.
DAUGHTER OF SPARTA
BY CLAIRE M. ANDREWS
Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world.
Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.
Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.