Interview: Athena Matthews

Honored to introduce author Athena Matthews! I admire her work for its originality, its believable characters and its attention to its characters’ emotional lives. In this interview, she talks about her writing career, her books, and her plans for future work!

Please tell us about your books!

I currently have two stories published, one is called Rightful Place’s and the other Death Sails Among Shadows. I tend to write adult high fantasy, focusing on characters and their emotional and physical struggles throughout my books. Common themes in both stories are that you aren’t your circumstance, you don’t have to let your trauma, or your past define you. Another common trope is it’s alright to ask for help if you need it, requiring help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

Please tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, which will hopefully be ready for publication in July of 2021, is tentatively called In Fate’s Hands, it is about a group of strangers who come together to fight against their tyrant queen. They all have different motivations that drive them, that force them into this fight, but together they hope to make a difference, even as they fight against their internal urges to fight alone.

What inspired In Fate’s Hands?

 I’m not entirely sure what inspired this story exactly, it was probably a weird dream of a magical plague destroying a town, I started with creating these characters and then the story fully came together after that.

Who are your favorite characters in In Fate’s Hands, and why?

Favorite characters would be Kegan and Tatianna, Kegan is the first protagonist you meet in the story, and he is just hopeful yet really dumb at times. His motivations in the story is this powerful urge to be a hero, to be able to make a difference for the people of his home town, but he doesn’t care if he dies completing that goal.

What topics will In Fate’s Hands get readers talking about?

Mainly I am hoping to get the readers focusing on everyone’s different motivations, what drives everyone to do what they feel is necessary. I hope they get the importance of trusting those around you, and relying on your allies when in need, but most of all I hope they talk about Tatianna. 

We’ve been talking on Twitter about Tatianna, the villain of In Fate’s Hands. She does some pretty awful stuff. What was the pivotal event that turned her toward evil?

Tatianna has probably been the most enjoyable character I’ve ever written, and she not physically in many scenes throughout the story, you just see the destruction and terror she causes. Tatianna was born with magic abilities in a part of my world that had forsaken it, and her father let her know very early on that it made her a monster. Being the first born she was the crowned princess, until her abilities showed, having her title stripped and given to her younger sister, slowly caused Tatianna to go resentful. She tried to learn how to use her abilities for good, but her father pushed into darker forms of magic. The beginning of her downfall to evil was her attempted assassination of her sister, after that fail, she knew what she had to do.

What is your writing process like?

How I usually write a new idea is I write a few just rushed chapters, get a feeling for the characters and build the plot, but mostly it’s just me trying to get an idea on paper. If I still like it within the first few chapters I stop, plot it out, make notes how to correct and fix things, then I rewrite and continue on. I sometimes jump around a lot with chapters, for one story I’m almost finished the first draft I had the ending written before I even reached the half way mark. Sometimes I just get scenes in my head and I can’t focus on anything else until I get that scene on paper.

What was it like to work with editors, designers and other members of your team?

Stressful to say the least, I’m still building my perfect team, I’ve struggled with both books to find adequate editors, and beta readers who can actually give me helpful feedback, but even so I’m very grateful for who do help me throughout my process.

What are your plans for future books?

I have so many books in the works right now its been difficult to keep track of them all. I have at least three more stories based around the same world as Rightful Place’s, Death Sails Among Shadows and In Fate’s Hands, and I am finishing up the first draft of the first book in a trilogy right now. Also, I have many side projects that are plotted out and waiting for me to actually have the time to focus on them, hopefully keeping me busy for a quite a few years.

Who are you? Please tell us a little about your background.

I’m Athena Matthews, born and raised on Vancouver Island Canada, the youngest of four siblings, I’ve always been an introvert, struggling to make friends, or speak my mind in general, I just liked to keep to myself and my small group. If you asked my parents, I was an angel growing up, my sister being loud and difficult made it very easy for me to get away with a lot of terrible habits that no kids my age should have been getting into. I met my now husband in carpentry school at sixteen, and we’ve been stuck together ever since. Now happily married with a sassy, ambitious three-year-old and just living the dream.

What are some interesting places you’ve traveled to? Do any of them appear in your novels?

I haven’t gotten to travel much in my life yet, but I did travel to England for a month when I was fourteen with girl guides, we traveled all over. It was an amazing experience, without my parents and with two of my best friends who we’ve literally been friends for twenty-two years now.
None of my few world adventures will show up in any of my work, I like building my own world and mapping out strange places.

Where can we get updates on your work?

Mostly your best bet to catch me will be Twitter, I’ve been neglecting all my other media trying to get back into it, but my links for my Twitter and Facebook are here.