Author Spotlight: Claire M. Andrews
|© Abby Hogan
April 30, 2021
We are pleased to feature author Claire M. Andrews and her debut YA novel, DAUGHTER OF SPARTA (Little Brown Books for Young Readers), out June 8! Enter to win a copy (winner will receive book in June)!
|cover design Amanda Hudson
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
Hiya! I grew up in both Alaska and Scotland, strangely. Two opposites of the globe, that seem to have shaped both my writing style and my stories themselves. My love for the natural world is boundless, and my stories are often shaped by their scenery. I have also always loved fantasy and was the avid reader child that would hide under my bed and read until dawn, with a doll and pillows propped on the bed above so my parents wouldn’t notice. My enormous love of reading has evolved into a love of telling stories.
Congrats on your debut YA novel, Daughter of Sparta! Tell us about it and what inspired you.
Daughter of Sparta is a reimagining of the myth of Daphne and Apollo, in which they must work together to save Olympus and all of Greece. They come across some of your favorite myths and legends from Greek mythology and often turn those stories on their heads. My goal was to make readers reconsider what they thought they knew about these characters. Daphne deserved more than the original tale she was provided, where Apollo chased her relentlessly until she turned herself into a tree. She deserved agency and a mission, a goal in life, and people she cared about. There are so many different versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey – why couldn’t Daphne get a new story as well?
As for writing Greek mythology, that part of my life has actually come full circle. And though I loved Greek Mythology, I was always irritated with the endings because the women in the stories never got their happy endings, even though it was often men that screwed everything up for them. I was bemoaning as much to my mum in seventh grade, and she told me to write my own stories for women with happy endings. And so I did. Many stories and years later, I finally have a Greek mythology story that tells the world that women can have their cake and eat it too.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
They say that publication is a marathon, not a sprint, and my story is no different. Definitely among the triathlon variety, honestly. Daughter of Sparta isn’t my first finished story, nor is it the first that I tried querying for. I’ve had to shelve drafts forever. Like the majority of authors, I have received my fair share of rejections, but it was all worth it. I have an amazing agent and an excellent publisher.
What projects are you working on now?
I have to keep fairly mum about some of my projects, but I can spill about two of them. I’m currently drafting the sequel to Daughter of Sparta. It drops on shelves Fall 2022, and the title gives the setting away: Blood of Troy. It’s bloody and painful, romantic and brutal. I can’t wait for readers to see where Daphne and Apollo take themselves next. Those two are always getting themselves into trouble, and are constantly involving some of your fave Greek heroes, monsters, and villains.
I am also in the process of revising a super fun dark academia novel. Like Daughter of Sparta, it involves some famous characters from literature and history, so it was fun to write how these people came to be. It is also quite bloody.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read widely. Even if you’re just writing YA, read outside of your genre. It will help you grow as a writer, and will also give you a taste for how the market is evolving. You can read YA books written 10 years ago, some written 5 years ago, and then some today, and see just how the styles have evolved. I never recommend someone writing a specific story for the market, though.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I have Trichotillomania. I’ve actually had it since I was a toddler and, even though I have a head of hair now, it still is a constant fight. There was a ten-year period of my life where nobody saw my hair (or how little I had) – even my partner.
Where can people find you online?
CLAIRE M. ANDREWS received her B.A. in Social Sciences from University of Alaska Southeast. She was raised in both Alaska and Scotland, but currently lives in Vermont; when not writing, she can usually be found outside swimming, skiing, or hiking across the state’s famous green mountains. Driven by her fascination with Greek history and mythology, she has sought to breathe new life into the forgotten and often underappreciated Greek myths. DAUGHTER OF SPARTA is her debut novel.
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