I can actually say it: My novel will launch next month! The edits are finalized, the marketing details are being solidified, we’re scoping out a venue for the book launch party for friends and family, and bit by bit, the Booktrope team and I are preparing the world to receive Moonlight and Oranges.
This book was a product of much love, sweat, and tears. The inspiration to write it struck me four years ago, and I’ve learned and grown as a person and as a writer since then. As a special teaser in honor of my book’s launch, I’m going to share with you my current draft of my Author’s Note page, which will appear at the back of the book.
I was about thirteen when I discovered a small volume of Greek myths retold in easy language. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and from that moment on, the seed was planted. For some reason that I still can’t explain, I love Greek myths and retelling them with new spins. Myths inspire me to write stories that are completely different, and find a lot of fun in underpinning my new stories with hints from their originals. Greek myths are still floating around our culture for a reason. They endured because they have something important so important to say that generation after generation has passed the stories on to their children.
Moonlight and Oranges is a modern-day tale based on the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. In the myth, Psyche marries Cupid (also known as Eros) and is very much in love with him, but she’s forbidden to ever see his face. He comes to her under the shadow of night and he’s both a fantastic lover and attentive husband who stocks their mansion with everything she could possibly need, but the new bride may never ever see what her groom looks like. Not long after the wedding, Psyche is eating lunch with her sisters, who are jealous of her gorgeous house and material wealth.
Her sisters wickedly poison her mind with doubt: Did Psyche marry a hideous, evil monster who hides his identity so that he can consume his innocent pretty wife under the cover of darkness? Unable to control herself, Psyche steals a look at Cupid that night while he sleeps, trusting and oblivious, beside her. She would have gotten away with it, but a drop of oil from her lamp falls onto his cheek, burning and waking him. Cupid realizes that their trust is broken and flees in anguish, abandoning Psyche to loneliness and regret.
For years, that was all I had known of the story. You might imagine that it wasn’t an entirely uplifting thought to consider writing just that part of the story as a novel. But when I discovered that there was a second half to Psyche’s journey, I could hardly contain myself. Psyche doesn’t just sit there, moping and penitent. She bravely seeks her husband because she wants to restore their love. She wants to try for a second chance. But she’ll have to face severe obstacles. Aphrodite, Cupid’s mother, tries to stop Psyche with a string of impossible tasks, which are actually just thinly veiled attempts to kill Psyche. I was enamored by the challenge of writing a woman’s quest to regain the love of her wronged beloved and her simultaneous wrestling for peace and harmony with her mother-in-law.
Cupid and Psyche’s story is timeless. Psyche must survive the rage of her dangerous mother-in-law and prove that she truly loves the man whose trust she has broken in order to save her love story.
At last, this was a story I wanted to tell in greater detail.
So I did.
Every story has a moment where inspiration strikes like wildfire. What was your sparking moment?