Watch Video Pitch for GODDESS:
Get to know writer Callista Hunter:
1. What is your story about?
My story is about the journey of a young girl who finds out that the goddess she’s been worshiping all her life isn’t real. Once she finds out that her goddess Vesta is a hoax, she starts looking for the truth and experimenting with her own divine power, along with her friends.
The main character in the book is a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of Vesta. The Vestal Virgins were a real religious society in ancient Rome. My book is a YA fantasy that draws from elements of the ancient Roman religion, but it’s also lighthearted in tone.
2. Why should people know about yourself and your story?
I had so much fun writing my first novel that I know I’m going to be doing it for the rest of my life. And I’m so excited to be releasing my first book out into the wild. I write lighthearted, humorous stories, and if I can entertain and amuse someone for an afternoon, I’m happy!
3. How long have you been writing stories?
This is my first creative writing project, although I’ve done a lot of nonfiction writing. I started this book in January of 2014.
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
The 1995 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I must have seen it 50 times and could watch it 50 more. The chemistry between Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (as people getting to know each other, not just romantic co-stars) is incredible.
5. Who would you like to collaborate with on a creative project?
I have a wonderful critique partner who would be my first choice for collaboration. Unfortunately she’s busy writing her own stories and I wouldn’t want to take her away from that.
6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?
Just this one.
7. What motivated you to write this story?
I was on a plane and had just finished the book I was reading, and was just feeling sorry for myself because I was between YA series (and I do love them so). I started thinking about how authors come up with the plots for their books, and I started making notes and diagramming things. I think it’s really important that a book has a theme and an underlying point – not a preachy one, but something to tie the story arc together. For example, the Harry Potter series is so obviously about racism and World War II and the historical parallel.
I had actually just finished the classic book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, and the underlying plot for Goddess was really stolen from it. Betty Friedan writes about how post-WWII advertising very craftily and intentionally promoted the idea that women belong in the home, and are most fulfilled when their lives revolve around their homes. I started thinking about historical parallels, and I thought of the Vestal Virgins, an ancient Roman priesthood where women tended to the “hearth of the nation.” There seemed like a connection there, plus the added ick factor of the concept that virgin women are somehow more special or holier than others.
I really liked the idea of a main character who at first fully believed in those ideals, and then discovered that they were a complete hoax to keep women in line. My main character Olivia has to confront and ultimately undermine those expectations in order to reach her full potential. At the beginning of the book, Olivia puts her faith in authority figures who are telling her exactly who she should be, a subservient “good girl.” But the story really leads her down a path where she has to gain more independence and confidence in herself. (Down with the patriarchy! Ha-ha.)
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
I write whenever I get a few minutes to myself. I’m so busy otherwise that nothing would ever progress. I write in public and at home, and at the library – pretty much anywhere! I don’t listen to music, but I may have to try that in the future.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the environment. I do volunteering and invasive species management when I can get a free weekend.
10. What influenced you to have your story made into a video pitch?
I just thought it sounded really fun.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
No advice. I’m too new at this to give advice. I guess I’d just say thanks to everyone for writing and putting great stories out there for me to read!