Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chrystalla Thoma in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Chrystalla Thoma. Will you please share a short bio with us?
Chrystalla: I like to say that I’m a permanent resident of fantasy land, living among angels and demons, elves, vampires and werewolves. But my body at least lives in Cyprus with (I am Greek Cypriot) with my wonderful husband and mountains of books. When not reading or writing, I work as a freelance translator.

Cate: Greece is on my travel bucket list! Tell us about your YA Urban Fantasy novella, published in March, and where it's available.
Chrystalla: Dioscuri is a retelling of the ancient myth of the twin brothers Kastor and Polydeukes, Zeus’ sons, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal. The story is set in a alternative history, modern-day Athens where the ancient gods have woken again, and they are at war with mortals. The two brothers fight against the monsters sent by the gods. When the mortal brother, Kastor, dies in battle, his immortal sibling Polydeukes takes things in his own hands and makes a dark deal with the Underworld. A deal Zeus will sooner or later discover and all hell will break loose.

In this war against the monsters crawling out of the underground passages and the construction sites, and the complicated games of the higher gods of Olympus, certain lesser immortals take the mortals’ side: nature sprites, the satyrs, silenes, nymphs and the griffins, aid Kastor and Polydeukes not only in hand to hand battle, but also in figuring out the mystery of Kastor’s return to life and the deal his brother made with Hades.

Cate: Very cool. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Chrystalla: This is an excerpt from the point of view of Polydeukes (the immortal twin).

A cry left his lips when a strong hand clamped on his shoulder.  “Damn it; give a guy a warning first!”

“Come with me.”


“Someone’s here to talk to you.”

The Satyr dragged him into one of the smaller temples.  Nobody was there.

Pol grinned.  “A long distance call?”

“Sort of.”

His grin died.  That meant someone from down below or from high above.  A higher immortal.

Colors shimmered in the air like a rainbow.  A woman appeared, willowy and translucent.  Iris, messenger of the gods.  This couldn’t be good.

“Hey.”  The words stuck in his throat.  “How’s Dad?”

She nodded, acknowledging him.  “Polydeukes.  Mighty Zeus is busy battling Ares over Asia and remains as yet ignorant of this situation.  Persephone sends me with a message.”

“Oh.”  Pol rubbed the back of his neck, feeling something bad coming.  “And that is?”

“Desist from this foolish game.  Hades won’t find it cute.”

He blinked.  “Persephone said that?  The great queen of the dead?”

“Not in these exact words.”

“Ah.”  He shook his head.  “Look.  It may look like a game to the high ones, but to me this is serious.  It’s about my brother’s life.  I’m not giving up on him.”

“Great Persephone says Kastor is meant to be in the hall of the dead.  Your brother is starting to remember, and to investigate.  Soon he will figure this out, and call attention to himself.”

Damn!  “Remember what?”

“His own death.”

Pol folded his arms across his chest as a trembling started low in his body.  “Is that right?”

“Yes.  What will you do?”

“Please.”  He clenched his jaw.  “I need time to think of something, a way to keep him alive.  Please ask the great queen of the dead for understanding.  Ask her for more time.”

Iris turned away, glancing over her shimmering white shoulder.  “Farewell, Zeus’ son.  I have delivered my message.”


“Do not wait until the father of the immortals discovers what you have done.  There will be no escape from his wrath.  Do you really want to sacrifice the world for your brother?”

The trembling spread to every limb.  Pol collapsed to his knees, despair a lump of ice in his belly.  “You can’t ask me to choose!”  But she was gone already.  “Zeus won’t do that.  He won’t destroy the world because I kept one of his sons alive!”

A deep voice said, “You never know.”

Cate: Wonderful. Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Chrystalla: Kastor and Polydeukes are very different from each other, and yet courage and their brotherly love for each other binds them in a way that goes beyond death. Kastor is the quiet one, and yet he takes the ultimate risk to find and save his brother, while Polydeukes, the loud outspoken one will discover what makes one human and loved.

Cate: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Chrystalla: This is Athens as you may (or may not) have imagined it: gritty and full of graffiti (as it really is today) but also full of ancient magic and mythological creatures. In this timeline, the mortals have by mistake woken up the ancient gods. A Resistance group is barricaded in the secret passages inside the Acropolis Hill, and squadrons are sent out to battle monsters as they emerge from the underground and the construction sites where the mortals have unwittingly tapped into the sleeping chambers of chimeras, lamias, echidnas – the stuff of nightmares. The ancient monsters can only be defeated through the use of ancient swords and ruses. On the side of the mortals are the griffins, the satyrs, the silenes and the nymphs. Meanwhile, the higher gods wage battle in the sky.

Cate: Love this premise. What's next for you?
Chrystalla: Thanks for asking this! I am very excited because by August I will have a YA novel out, called “Rex Rising” which is the story balancing on the line between science fiction and paranormal, where Elei, the young protagonist, is on the run with a bullet in his side, hunted for a secret he doesn’t know. I am also writing the sequel right now, and about to start working on a paranormal steampunk novel with vampires… I just need to finally find the time to write more!

Cate: I hear you... :)  What inspired you to draft your first story?
Chrystalla: I never tire of saying this: The novel “The Neverending Story” by the German author Michael Ende – surrealistic, beautiful, heart-wrenching. I discovered it when I was nine and is still one of my favorite books.

Cate: Loved the movie, now I'll have to check out the book. Do you have a writing routine?
Chrystalla: Not really. I write whenever I find the time – on the break at work, jotting down notes whenever an idea strikes me, in the evenings at home, in the weekends. I like having music, though, preferably something rock or goth.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Chrystalla: Here is my blog:

On my author page of MuseItUp publishing:

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Chrystalla: Don’t you also find twins fascinating? Because as you can see, I do!

Cate: Readers, Chrystalla is giving away a book to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner next weekend and announce the winner here.

Thanks so much for being my guest Chrystalla! Best of luck to you.


Chrystalla Thoma said...

Thanks so much for having me, Cate! :-)

Viviane Brentanos said...

Always a pleasure to read more of your work, Chrys. I didn't read the book of Never Ending but I loved the movie and the Limall song is one of my all-time favorites.

Chrystalla Thoma said...

Thank you, Viviane! :-) I loved the book "The Neverending Story" as a child and later on as well!

Cate Masters said...

Welcome Chrystalla! Congrats again on your release. Sounds like a fascinating read.

Arlene said...

There's something special about siblings as close as twins are. And then Dioscuri takes it one step further by bringing to life a pair that has the added complication of one being mortal. Their story is one unforgetable read. I'm looking forward to Rex Rising releasing in August.
As yet another writer who lives for those minutes we can grab to fill a blank page, I hope there's unlimited moments to come for you, Chrys.
Lovely interview.

Chrystalla Thoma said...

Thank you so much, Cate and Arlene!