Monday, 2 May 2016

Propehcy, Book 1, Antigone: The True Story by Coreena McBurnie

My name is Coreena McBurnie and, ever since grade 5 when I had to do a report on Theseus and the Minotaur, I have had a soft spot for Greek mythology. When I hit university, I was drawn to the Classical Studies department (earning both a BA & MA), where I explored the archaeology and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds — and also where I managed to read Homer’s Odyssey, one of my absolute favourite books, in the original Greek, something which was thrilling for me (I know, sounds crazy, but the poetry and scope of the original text is amazing). After a lifetime of “what is that?”, “why did you study that?”, and “what can you do with a degree in Classical Studies?” I have decided to write novels based in ancient myth and to bring so many of the stories I love to life for a modern audience, with my own spin, of course. 

Prophecy, Book 1 in the Antigone Series, is my first published novel. Currently I am working on Book 2 in the Antigone Series, called Fate. I am also in the middle of another novel about Clytemnestra who is notorious in Greek myth for killing her husband, Agamemnon, when he returned home from the Trojan War. I love exploring the motives of strong women in ancient myth. 

I live in BC, Canada with my husband, our three kids, and our cat, in a beautiful part of the country, on two rivers, surrounded by ranches, near ski hills, and only a couple of hours drive to the ocean.

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About the Book

An ancient princess, hidden prophecies, impossible choices… 

Sixteen year old Princess Antigone, daughter of the infamous ancient Greek King Oedipus, wants to lead a normal life and fulfill her duty to the gods, her city, and her family, but fate has other plans. The Olympian gods bless her, the snakes talk to her, her parents want her to marry a foreign prince, her embroidery looks like burial shrouds for dogs, and she has fallen in love with the wrong boy. 

When the mysterious and devastating prophecies surrounding her family are revealed, Antigone must choose where her allegiance lies: With the gods who have betrayed her family but who she is obliged to serve? With her plague ridden city? With her family which lay in ruins? Or even with herself? 

In Prophecy, Book One of the Antigone: The True Story series, Antigone steps out of the shadows of the past to tell her own story, a story where truth of history is stranger than the fiction of myth.

Get it today on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Barnes & Noble!

Keep reading for an interview with Antigone of Prophecy, Book 1 of the Antigone Series:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in Thebes in ancient Greece, approximately 1400 BC. Thebes is a walled city, surrounded by olive groves and hills where shepherds keep sheep. I love my city. We get lots of travelers coming through because we are close to the Oracle of Delphi, which is a very important place to get the advice of the gods on tricky matters. However, recently, my city has been cursed with a plague that is making people sick and killing them. No one seems to know how to stop it and our once prosperous city is suffering hard times.

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes, my family is everything to me. My parents, King Oedipus and Queen Jocasta, are often busy with running the kingdom, but I know that they are always there for me. My brothers are older, and thought I love them dearly, they don't have much time for their little sister. My best friend in the world is my younger sister, Ismene. I would do anything for her. We spend most of our days together and she covers for me when I'm late for my lessons.

Who do you most admire in your world? Why?

That would be my father. He was the savior of Thebes when he bested the Sphinx by answering her riddle (what walks on 4 legs in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 3 in the evening -- the answer is man). When he gave the correct answer, the Sphinx was devastated and killed herself, thereby freeing Thebes from her. My father has such an amazing sense of duty to his city and to his family -- he would do anything for them. I only hope I can be half as loyal as him. 

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

I am a princess, so grew up in the palace and had a wonderful childhood, playing on the grounds with the other children. I even had a personal servant named Sandrine, who was like a mother to me in many ways, to help me. I had to take lessons in sewing, embroidery, and running a household with my sister, Ismene, but they bored me to tears, so I would try to escape to the gardens as much as I could -- which also meant I was in trouble all the time.

What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?

I want to live my own life. As much as I love palace life, I don't want to get married off to a foreign prince and never see my family again. I want to be able to study at the temple and serve the gods instead. But, this isn't my choice to make. As a princess, I have to do what my parents say and what is best for the city. I have to do my duty.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

That life isn't fair. You can be loyal and honour the gods and do everything they say and still get cursed. I know we have a duty to serve the gods, but they can be so arbitrary and fickle sometimes.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

When I found out I could talk to snakes! It was terrifying. I thought people would think I was a witch or would be so scared of me that they'd hurt me. Especially with the plague, people were already on edge. If they found out their princess could speak with snakes, I had no idea what they'd do.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

I don't know if you could call it a hobby, but I loved learning at the temple. The gods came to me in a dream and asked me to serve, so my parents allowed it. It was amazing to be a part of something bigger than myself. I even enjoyed cleaning up the gore of a sacrifice more than learning to sew!

Have you ever been in love? 

I'm in love with my cousin, Haemon -- which is OK in ancient Greece. He's strong and kind and cares for me too, but our parents say all of that doesn't matter because I have to marry a foreign prince and make an advantageous political connection for Thebes, especially now that the plague is devastating us.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

I prefer a simple peplos, which is like a long dress. Some of them are made of fine material and have embroidery on them, but I like to keep it simple. I also wear sandals and hold my hair up with combs.

What is your favorite food?

I absolutely love the roasted meat from a successful sacrifice. It's always exciting to honour the gods and have a priest read the entrails to find out if we are on the right path. If everything goes well, we roast the animal after and have a feast. We actually don't eat a lot of meat, even at the palace, so it is quite a treat.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? Why?

I wish I could be more like my sister, Ismene. She is so pretty and good at doing what she is told. She seems content with everyone's expectations of her and even seems to enjoy embroidery. I'm always getting into trouble and letting people down.

What is your greatest virtue? 

I am fiercely loyal and I always protect those I love. 

Why do you think this is so?

I'm not sure why, exactly. Maybe it's from watching my parents and all of the sacrifices they've made for Thebes. I am living in a time of heroes, where honour and duty are a big part of our values. I just take this all a little more seriously than most others.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would spend it with my family, my whole family -- mother, father, brothers, and Ismene. We would be together at the palace. Maybe my brothers would wrestle and we could watch. I just want us all to be together, be carefree, and to enjoy each other's company. There would be no plague or curses or prophecies from the gods to worry about.


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