A chat with Song in the Dark author Jessica White




Thank you, Jessica, for coming on the blog today, congratulations on your upcoming novel, Song in the Dark, which releases March 3rd. 

Thanks, happy to visit.

Song in the Dark has a unique twist in that it’s based on Greek mythology. What made you decide to attempt working the Greek myths into Christian fiction?

I love a good challenge and studying classic myths and how stories parallel through cultures has always intrigued me. So when I started reading the Percy Jackson series to my girls, I played with the idea of creating romantic suspense where the characters had the flaws, wounds, temperaments of their mythical counterparts but were stripped of the deity and powers. 


How did you create the characters for Song in the Dark?

I wanted to take the iconic figures of Hades and Persephone and make them human contemporaries—people you might meet on the street.  Then see what happened when they encountered the Living God.
Jenna Fields’s name means “little bird of the field.” This is how Persephone is depicted in works of literature and art—the maiden kidnapped and plundered by a greedy Hades.  But in all my readings, I always noticed how easily she adapted to being queen of the underworld. And it made me ask why? How could someone so innocent accept and succeed at being Hades’s co-equal?
Likewise, Dean Blackburn means “leader of the dark and scorched places.” I’ve always felt he was the black sheep of the Olympians. He drew the short stick and became god of the underworld and made the best of what he was given. He took his job seriously and sought justice for the dead, making sure those who deserved torment stayed in Tartarus and rewarding those who died noble deaths with passage to the Elysian Fields.  I also admired the fact he was the only one of his brothers not to cheat on his wife. That loyalty was foundational to Dean’s character.


While the story centers on Jenna and Dean, Jenna’s mother plays a big role. But she isn’t as virtuous as she is made out to be in Greek mythology.  How did you come up with her character?

The Greek myth of Hades and Persephone is actually told from Demeter’s point of view as she roams the earth in search of her missing daughter.  In my story, Elizabeth Fields, CEO of Fields Enterprises is the overprotective mother.

In the age of helicopter parents, there is a glorification of the ever-present mom, especially inside the church.  But the more I prayed over Jenna’s backstory, the more I realized Liza was a complex character. To those who don’t know her, she’s the ideal mother and successful CEO. But to Jenna, she’s overbearing and emotionally abusive. I wanted to show how hard it is to spot the difference between someone with good versus selfish intentions.  And how much they believe they are doing the right thing even though they cause harm.
 

What was the most difficult aspect of turning Greek myths into modern stories?

The biggest obstacle was eliminating the incest, rape, and murder in the familial lines without losing the causes for why certain characters are the way they are. I had to take some author liberties. For example, Dean has two brothers in the story that alludes to Zeus and Poseidon, but there is another character who is Zeus personified who isn’t related to Dean at all.  I also decided that God intervened in the story before Hades resorted to kidnapping and claiming his wife without consent. Dean wrestles with his attraction to her but realizes his world would defile her innocence and goodness.

What do you hope readers will say when they finish Song in the Dark?

I hope they find it thought-provoking even though it’s a fast-paced romantic suspense. I love reading and writing fiction because it allows me to explore hard subjects and difficult situations without having to experience it.  For a few hours I can live vicariously from the safety of my home.

What’s next for you Jessica?

I have several projects in the works, including the release of the third book in my historical Healing Seasons series.  But currently, I’m plotting out another standalone based on Hera and Zeus.

When his daughter, Kesara, attempts to commit suicide after being raped on her college campus, Terrell Oswell, the CEO of Zephyr Air, must face his philandering past that binds his hands from seeking prosecution of the young man who hurt her.
His wife, Maeve Oswell, the premier wedding planner in New York City, blames herself for sweeping all her husband’s affairs under the rug and creating a false image of the perfect family. Faced with almost losing her daughter and the reality her marriage has been in name only for a while, she takes Kesara to a place where they both can heal and decide what the future holds.
When the story hits the new, a #MeToo backlash comes from the women employed by Zephyr Air. Caught in the middle, Zeus must choose whether to save his company and reputation or his family, although it may be too late to save either.

I've had the pleasure to read it. I enjoyed it immensely. It's an emotionally-gripping novel with intricate characters and, what a storyline. Thank you again, Jessica, for stopping to visit with us.







About Song in the Dark

After graduating from Juilliard, harpist Jenna Fields returns home to Albany to escape her manipulative ex and prove to her controlling mother that she can orchestrate her own life.
Homicide detective Dean Blackburn spends his days seeking justice for the dead. But darkness taints everything, including him.
When his three Dobermans lead him to Jenna playing in the park, he tries to resist the beautiful musician and focus on his cases. At least until he witnesses Jenna’s ex attempt to blackmail her and learns she’s being stalked, just like one of his homicide victims.  
When her world crumbles beneath her feet, and Dean learns she has her own dark secrets, he helps Jenna see that the key to escaping her mother's gilded cage is already in her hands.

Bio
Jessica is a prayer warrior who loves to encourage and create safe spaces for the hurting and lost. She's committed to living out God's love and standing for equality, diversity, and justice in her community and publishing.

She has a B.A. in Educational Studies and published her first book, Surviving the Stillness, in 2014. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She also is a founding member of 10 Minute Novelists LLC, an international group of time-crunched writers.

For more info visit her website: AuthorJessicaWhite.com   

Comments

  1. Hi Stacy, Hi Jessica, this story sounds absolutely riveting. I just pre ordered and can't wait to read it! I love the connection to Greek Mythology, Jessica. It's a connection many Christians might avoid. I'm excited to read what you did with your characters. Thanks for this interview, Stacy.

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  2. Hi Barbara! Appreciate your sweet words. Jessica's novel is wonderful, and emotional. You can see the love she has fir her characters. Happy reading♡

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  3. Thanks Barbara. Mythology has always been an area of interest. I hope you love all the little easter eggs I've added to the story for those who are fellow geeks like me, as well as God's amazing love that leads us to freedom through the darkness.

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