INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Seven Seeds of Summer
by Chantal Gadoury
Seven Seeds of Summer is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
What if you were the missing piece in one of the most famous Greek Mythology Romances?
Seven Seeds of Summer follows the story of Summer, a college art student who has grown up in a house full of Greek mythology and legends. Summer grew up with a love for the darkest of all Gods: Hades, which caused tension between her and her mother. Summer comes home to Point Judith, Rhode Island, to find a mysterious figure on their family beach. The figure comes to her with questions about a familiar myth of her childhood: of Persephone and Hades. He proceeds to tell her of a new version of the story with a different ending that Summer never knew; an ending that includes herself.
A trip to Greece leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of the strange figure whom she had met before. He takes her on a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, to the lowest point of Greece where his lair awaits: The Underworld. Determined to find out the secret of herself and her piece in the story, Summer goes with him, and tries to make herself at home in his world.
Summer has to decide to follow her heart or follow the same footsteps of the mysterious woman in her past life.
“Do you know the story?”
Story? I didn’t want to think about it. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Instead, I wanted to close my eyes and wake back up at school, or wake up in my room. It could be tomorrow. It could be anything but right now. I couldn’t believe that this was really happening. As far as I was concerned, he couldn’t be real. Not even if I had wished it as hard as I could. This couldn’t really be happening.
“Story?” I whispered, closing my eyes. I could see the story play out in my mind as if I were there. I could see her, his wife; beautiful and blonde. Her eyes were open and curious. She was picking flowers with two of the most beautiful women in the land. Their wild curly hair, woven with crowns of flowers as they wore flowing silk dresses, caught in a gentle summer breeze as they gathered arrangements of flowers.
There was one flower – one that stood out to Persephone the most, soft and red. She picked it, and was engulfed in blackness, where the dark Lord lingered and waited. He was there. His face. His arms. He had her, and he was taking her down into his world, where he wanted me to go.
“You know the story, Summer,” he acknowledged, almost as if he had just seen the images play out in my mind of what I always imagined. I could feel his other hand on my cheek, his fingers drawing around my skin. I did know the story. He had taken the maiden from earth into his underworld, and made her his queen. He loved her. He wanted her. And then she was taken away from him. Her mother wanted her back. She ate seeds from a pomegranate; food that was in the underworld. Food of the dead, and that kept her connected with him always. She was to be shared for all eternity.
“What do you want with me?” I asked again, keeping my eyes closed. I didn’t want to be hypnotized. I didn’t want to feel anything more than the desire to run, but there was something that I couldn’t explain keeping me there, within his grasp.
“You belong to me, Summer. You always have, even when you were taken away from me. Even then, you still belonged to me. This is how it’s supposed to be. It was this way in the beginning, and it is how it will be in the end.”
“I can’t go with you,” I said, pushing his hands off of me. I pushed myself away from him, and slowly backed toward my house. This was someone’s awful joke. “If my mother hired you, you can tell her she wins.” His face was confused for a moment and then he shook his head.
“Summer, no one hired me. Nothing that you know is what it seems. Trust me.” I shook my head, wanting to laugh at him. Trust him? Had he looked at himself in the mirror? He was the last person on earth that looked trustable.
“I’m not going to stand here and let you mock me,” I snapped and turned toward the house, walking as fast as my feet could carry me. It wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t fast enough. I felt his cold arms wrap around my waist and his cool breath was on my neck. His touch was just as startling as the first time. He sent shivers down my spine.
“I won’t let you go, Summer. You ate the seeds and you belong to me. You have to fulfill the promise that was granted to me.”
“I didn’t eat any seeds. I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I shouted, trying to shove him off of me.
“It’s just a story!” I continued to try to get him off of me, but to no avail, he was much stronger than me.
“Our love isn’t just a story, Summer. It’s real. Don’t you feel it?” I felt his hand press against my chest where my heart was, and it began to ache. I felt tears fill my eyes again and I tried to struggle harder. “No! Stop it!”
“I’ve searched for you for years, Summer, and when I found you, I watched you. I watched you paint my face over and over again, and knew that you had not forgotten about me. You know me, and deep down, you know the truth.” I fell to my knees, pressing my palms into my eyes. I was a mess of sand and water, and dried paint, and now of death. I felt his hands slip away, and I held my breath, counting to five. I needed to collect myself.
“Wake up, Summer. Wake up.” I whispered to myself, pressing my hands into my eyes again. I finally dropped my hands into the sand and opened my eyes. The only sound was the ocean and my heavy breathing. There was no voice. I was too afraid to turn around and see him standing there, but I knew I had to. I couldn’t sit in the sand all night. I bit my lip and slowly turned my head to see nothing but the expanse of the night and the ocean. There was no one. My painting and paints were clattered together, next to the split water.
This is an AMAZING book and I highly recommend it! If you love Greek mythology and romance, this is definitely a book for you. Even if you're not familiar with the myths this story is based on, it is still an amazing read. Beautiful metaphors and descriptive language will send your emotions on a wild adventure and leave you wanting more. I will definitely be purchasing this book when it comes out on hard copy, and I encourage everyone to do so as well!
Interview With the Author
Hi Chantal! Thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Seven Seeds of Summer.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Honestly, I’d have to say that I always imagined my book for readers like me; ranging from thirteen to thirty. As a twenty five year old, I have a guilty pleasure of enjoying the Young Adult genre. Seven Seeds of Summer is a book for any age!
What sparked the idea for this book?
This originally started as a homework assignment in a Novel Writing class I was taking at Susquehanna University as a Junior in college. It was my first real “novel writing” class; I had taken fiction short story classes, poetry, non-fiction, but this class was a head-on towards my dream of who I wanted to be as a writer: a novel writer. As a class we had to design a story board of a story idea, from start to finish, with pictures of our characters, settings and other details. After a failed attempt of my first “novel” idea, I sat down one night, reading and studying a few of my favorite books: Beauty by Robin McKinley and East by Edith Pattou. I knew I wanted to write a book just like theirs – a retelling of a fairy tale, with twists and characters that felt like branches of your soul. So, the first few pages started with a point of view from Hades, and slowly Summer and her story evolved.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me – they come hand in hand. Summer and Hades told me their story. While I started with a “spark,” … an “idea,” it was Summer and Hades who guided the story. I knew that Summer had a love for Hades that was much more than just a “fan-girl” related. Summer started to reveal a past, or a history that started to pull together the more I wrote. Once Hades entered the story, everything just came together after that. So, in the case of Seven Seeds of Summer, the idea of the novel came, but the characters’ stories brought it to life.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I would have to say the ending. I still feel as though it’s not at all what it should have been. I had this huge idea in my mind, and no real understanding of how I would end it. By the time that I reached a real ending to the novel, it had been over three years since I had first started writing it – and the characters were almost like friends I had lost contact with. I’m afraid that some readers might actually feel that – a disconnect with the story, or the characters at the end. I wanted Hades and Summer to have a happy ending, but I also wanted to keep the ending open for a sequel, in case I ever wanted to do so.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it just brings joy to readers. A world where anyone can escape, and go on an adventure with some really fantastic characters.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Drum Roll for this: four Years. Roughly. Seven Seeds of Summer has been through a long journey.
What is your writing routine?
My professors often spoke of having writing routines. Getting up early in the morning and writing for a few hours and then going to work and, obviously, for them, they could write as much as they wanted when they weren’t teaching classes. I often heard classmates, when in college, starting writing routines. Back when I first started to write in college, I often had very late nights. So I would write then – it was my way of escaping from the day, relaxing and letting all the thoughts I had go, and form into something positive.
How did you get your book published?
This is kind of a strange story – I finished writing my novel, and actually wrote a status about it on my personal Facebook. A cousin of mine actually wrote to me and told me that he knew someone who was starting a publishing company, and was looking for novels to publish. I sent him my novel, the first couple of chapters and a summary of Seven Seeds. It was about a month later that he sent me a message saying, “Sit down! You’re a published author!” The next day I was on the phone with the Fantastic Barbara from Waldorf Press, and everything now is history.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
The advice that I’d have to give is – it’s a hard journey. Writing a novel is the hardest part; getting all the words down, editing something until it drives you crazy to get it just right. But for those who love writing, for those who find nothing but joy or liberation in it – it’s worth it. Don’t ever stop believing that you can write a novel – because you can do it. I always like to quote Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Writing should be fun, and as long as it is, you’re doing something right.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Honestly, the truth is that I’m constantly writing every day. I really enjoy writing with a friend of mine in my free time; we’ll either make writing posts on Tumblr, or just write back and forth on Skype. When I’m not writing (which isn’t very often) I’m often spending time with my boyfriend, Robert(o). We’ll go see movies or go to the beach (since Delaware is famous for its famous beaches!). I enjoy staying at home and catching up on a show on Netflix, or traveling back to Muncy, Pennsylvania, to visit my childhood home and parents. I love to paint, knit, crochet, listen to music, etc.
What does your family think of your writing?
When I was fourteen, I probably would have answered that my parents hated me wasting so much paper in the house. I’d go through reams and reams of paper; writing constantly in the late hours of the night and printing pages and pages of drafts and redrafts. My Mom, who shared the love of books with me, is a big supporter of me. She often calls me her “John Boy”, from The Waltons. My Dad is just waiting for me to get rich and famous and buy him his retirement already. And my sister – I know she’s very proud of me.
That's great. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was blessed as a child to have the childhood my parents strived to give me. My childhood was completely enveloped by Disney, and Disney movies. If I wasn’t reading story books, or watching Faerie Tale Theatre, I was playing with my Barbies, creating these fantastical love stories. I was able to use my imagination freely and often played outside with neighborhood children. I was in a few activities as a child; ballet, soccer, basketball, but my favorite was singing. It’s fitting that my name, in French, means “to sing”.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Very much so! I can still remember my favorite book as a child! Once Upon a Golden Apple. My mother would make special trips with me every Saturday to the library, where I would search for this book and the Golden Treasury of Disney Stories, and the four VHS videos of Faerie Tale Theatre I was allowed to check out. I was completely fascinated by the covers of my mother’s books; wild pirates and beautiful princesses. I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to read about those lovely adventures.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never really had this big “Ah-Ha” moment. I can remember buying Twilight when it first came out in 2005, and it was a really unknown book. I was completely in love with the writing style (or really, the way Stephenie Meyer used first person in writing a novel). I wanted to do exactly that, and I started to! In High School, I wrote with a group of girls, using famous anime characters and our own original characters. When it was time to start looking for a college to attend, I began to toss around the idea of actually going to school for the one thing I felt I was good at.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I would have to say yes - in a way that I haven’t really realized just yet. I loved to create stories with my dolls, and I loved to read books, so I suppose it was only natural for me to want to be a part of that world with the written word. I grew up with books, discovering worlds and meeting new friends in each new page; when I began to write and create new people, it only felt natural to do so.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
My writing days really began with R. L. Stine’s Fear Street Sagas. I poured over each book, loving each new story, each new character and each new plot twist. To this day, I still have One Last Kiss which was, by far, my favorite of the series. I started to discover re-tellings of fairy tales, such as Beauty and Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley. East by Edith Pattou became a quick favorite. When Twilight by Stephenie Meyer came out, I loved the style of her writing - at least, in how she portrayed the voice of Bella Swan.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Not very often. I have a few friends who have read my book and have left me either messages on social media or reviews on Amazon, but I can’t say that I’ve heard much from any “new” readers. So far I’ve been given good reviews - but I’m ready to see what the world really thinks of Seven Seeds of Summer.
I hope this book tour brings you a bit of feedback, Chantal. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Hopefully more books. Hopefully either the fairy tale that I’d like to re-tell, or possibly something completely fresh and new. I’ve thought a lot about writing a book about certain things that have happened in my life, and I do have the start of something non-fiction from a few years ago in college. I guess the future holds surprises and what I might write about next will be among those surprises.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Chantal. Best of luck with your future projects.
No! Thank you! It was great having the chance to be here!
About the Author
Chantal Gadoury is young author who currently lives in a small town in Delaware with her two cats, Theo and Harper and her boyfriend, Robert. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting, and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, this is her first book.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one print copy or one of five ebook copies of Seven Seeds of Summer by Chantal Gadoury.