Interview with mythological novelist Coreena McBurnie

Welcome to Friday,
readers. My special guest today is Coreena McBurnie. She’s chatting with me
about her novel, Prophecy, Book 1 of the
Antigone: The True Story Series
Coreena loves Greek myths
and ancient cultures and is in a unique position to tell these tales, having
earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Classical Studies. Prophecy,
Book 1 in Antigone: The True Story series, is her first published novel — it
combines historical fiction, fantasy, and mythology into a young adult novel
with a great heroine. She’s got three more novels in various stages of draft
form that she’s still playing with. Coreena lives in BC, Canada with her
husband, three kids, and their cat.
Please tell us about your current release.
My book is called Prophecy and takes place in ancient Greece.
It’s about sixteen-year-old Princess Antigone, daughter of the infamous Oedipus
(who killed his father and married his mother) and how she is blessed in a
cursed family. As a result, she gets pulled in different directions — the
Olympian gods want her to serve them, her family wants her to get married and
form a political alliance, the city is suffering from a plague and Antigone
wants to help them, but she also wants to live her life on her own terms and do
what she enjoys. Antigone has to choose where her duty lies and what path she
will follow.
What inspired you to write this book?
I absolutely love ancient
cultures, to the point of studying Classical Studies in university. I have
always been taken by Antigone because even in ancient literature she’s held up
as a strong heroine who is torn between what is right and wrong, who is brave
yet fallible. A few years ago I decided to make Antigone the focus for a young
adult novel even though I didn’t know where to begin. As soon as I started
writing, however, she took on a life of her own, talking with snakes and
struggling with all of the different expectations of her.
Here’s an excerpt from Prophecy that addresses some of these duties:
            “You are tied up in the destiny of Thebes, young
Antigone,” announced Teiresias, startling me. “I’m not sure how yet.
The gods are not happy, which is obvious from the sickness and hunger that pervades
our land. you, however, are blessed. The gods look up on you with favour.
Perhaps it is your devotion to them.”
            “I do my best,” I said.
            “I’m sure you do. And I’m also sure you are a pretty
young girl. That and your royal lineage is enough to attract the attention of
the gods, especially Apollo.” My cheeks flushed red and hot at his words.
He continued, “The gods are known to favour people from time to time. It’s
the snakes that interest me, however, as they do not often concern themselves
with human matters, let alone with a single person. Why do the snakes call you
Princess? Why do the snakes even care?”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on Book 2 in
the Antigone series, called Fate,
which is mostly written and needs some serious editing. I am also in the
editing stages of an adult book about Clytemnestra (Helen of Troy’s sister).
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is a question I have
struggled with. For a long time I thought I’d consider myself a writer when I
actually published something, but a few years ago, I realized that I write, so
I am a writer. I found that my confidence and determination increased when I
took the idea of actually selling books out of the equation.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I would love to say that
I’m one of those organized people who write consistently, but I’m not. I don’t
write full time, but I’m working towards that. I have some health issues that
often get in the way of me writing, but I do try to write every day — I work
in baby steps — even if it is only for fifteen minutes at a time. That is
often enough to get the flow of writing going and let me feel that I have
accomplished something towards my goal.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Writing quirk… I get
cozy with a cup and tea and set small goals for myself so that they are easily
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lawyer.
Anything additional you want to share with the
If you are interested in
writing, set aside your inner editor and write terrible first drafts. Drafts
can be edited. Blank pages cannot.

Thanks for being here today, Coreena! Happy writing.

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