Mirror Mirror… YA Fiction Based on Classical Myth
Mirror Mirror is a lovely YA trilogy based on the myths of Narcissus and Nemesis. We check out the stories and chat with the author.
In her Mirror Mirror short story collection Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of the award-winning YA series Amor and Summer Secrets, takes a modern slant on the classical myths of Narcissus and Nemesis in a contemporary teen setting. Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business – trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It’s what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy’s latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected. Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her ex-boyfriend, Luke, can no longer stand her selfish actions – much to Emmy’s relief, since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she’s expecting…
Get the whole Mirror, Mirror Trilogy on Amazon UK for £1.88, or flick to Amazon.com and buy it there!
Hey, Diana. What draws you to writing YA?
I love YA. I vividly remember waiting for the release of every Christopher Pike book when I was a teen. I was obsessed. And I definitely credit his novels (Chain Letter, Fall Into Darkness, Remember Me, etc.) for drawing me into the genre. That said, I began writing YA many many years later after I had a dream that I was a young adult author. I dreamt the concept for an entire series of books, and when I told my husband about it, he reminded me of a Salem, MA psychic who had once predicted I would write children’s books. I had never considered writing a book before that dream, or before remembering that silly psychic visit, but I took it as a “sign” and wrote my first novel. I went on to publish three YA novels with Kensington Books, before writing my new short-story collection with Buzz. You can read a much more in-depth account of this story on my website.
What draws you to mythology? Why did you the Narcissus myth for Mythology High?
When I first learned about Buzz’ Mythology High collection, my mind instantly flicked to Narcissus. I’m not sure why, but within a few seconds, I came up with the idea of a paranormal secret agent who infiltrates high schools to rid the world of Narcissistic people using a silver compact mirror. I wrote the entire first story, Reflecting Emmy, within two hours while sitting in a coffee shop in Philly. I only wish all writing could be that easy.
Beyond that, the rest of the series – Nara Gazing, Shattering Gigi, and Emmy’s First Glimpse – include the myths of Echo, Nyx, and Dionysus. I really wanted to reimagine myths that most people, and teens, would know very well, so that they could clearly recognize major elements – like changing Narcissus’ pool of water into a mystical mirror. I didn’t delve into the minutiae of these myths too much, and instead aimed to create fun, modern stories that hint at Mythology without requiring a Ph.D. I hope it worked.
If you could be any mythological character, who would you be?
This is a tough one. Most of these myths don’t end very well. But given that my name is Diana, I’ll go with my namesake. Diana is the Roman version of the Greek Goddess Artemis, who is the goddess of the hunt. I have a photo of me posing next to her statue in Athens. See the photo above!
What’s your favourite time and place to read?
These days I usually read on my Kindle whenever my two-year-old daughter, Juliet, is sleeping. She sets the schedule in our house when it comes to downtime. 😉
About the Author
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror, a short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, that includes Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books).
In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.