Monday, September 15, 2014

Seven Seeds of Summer by Chantal Gadoury

The Story Setting: 

I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be sharing these wonderful and great details about Seven Seeds of Summer that I couldn’t in the published version of my book. Setting is such a vital part of writing, whether it’s just setting up the story, or actually finding visuals to help you - the writer or reader - be IN the story.

When writing “Seven Seeds of Summer,” I took it upon myself to really do the research about the locations. I often spent hours on Google Maps, zooming in on places, hotels, and roads, whether it was in the United States, researching airports, or finding a remote locations in Greece: even if it meant seeing some of the ruins from a zoomed-outer space-view point.

I’m so excited to present some of the photos I’ve been collecting since I began the journey with Summer and Hades, and hopefully, when you read the book - whether it’s your first time, second time or more - it helps you visualize where they are, and just how beautiful Greece really is.

Let’s Start Here - In the United States: Point Judith, Rhode Island

Summer lives in a small town called Point Judith, RI. As you can see, it’s a very small location in Rhode Island, consisting of mainly fishermen, ferries and three main beaches. It has a famous lighthouse called, “The Point Judith Light,” which you find very often when you google “Point Judith, Rhode Island.” It would be something that Summer would have seen or painted at least a dozen times as she either was learning how to paint, or as she grew up. Why would her par- ents choose such a place to live? Well, we’ll leave it at - Her mother wanted to keep her tucked away in a remote part of the world, that no one would ever think of finding her.

I can see Summer living in a home, much styled like this, with the back porch meeting the ocean, with a few large stones making the “path-way” to the rest of the beach. Summer would have, often, found herself out in the sand, taking comfort away from her mother, and away from the outside world that she rarely wanted to be a part of. She wasn’t

the type of person who made friends easily - and often wanted to just be with herself, her paints and her imaginary version of who she thought Hades was. With this photo, it makes the way Hades came into her room (which would be the room on the second floor) a little more plausible, though, in the novel, she doesn’t have a balcony at her disposal. All in all, the house would be a little bigger, but remain modest. She wouldn’t live in a multi-million dollar beach home, nor would you find such a home in Point Judith.

Athens, Greece:

This was some of the most funnest parts of writing this novel; discovering the many locations in Greece. I approached this project wanting to be fairly accurate, if not completely. I know that I don’t know everything there is to know about Greece - first that I’ve never been there myself, but I did try my best to get as many things right as I could.

I spent a lot of my time, much like this, searching and researching streets, hospitals, hotels and tourist locations, all thanks to the fantastic “Google Maps.” Where would we be with no technol- ogy?!

These could have easily been some of the first things that Summer could have seen on that fateful trip to Athens, Greece to come and stay, while her father worked on some historical sites. When you see the traffic, the car accident seems to be something that could have easily hap- pened - and obviously, quite devastating.

Let’s flash to the first night with Hades. He takes Summer to a place in which she asks, “Are we in art heaven?” Hopefully now, her question seems to make sense. This hotel is called the “Fresh Hotel.” Here’s a screen shot of the hotel on “Google Maps: Zoom. The hotel is on the left hand side - and as you can see, is in the very heart of Athens.

Sight Seeing: Athens, Greece

Hades and Summer would have gone to see many ruins, much like these - all in which he would have recognized as much grander temples in the past. The photo on the right is actually what is left of the Temple of Zeus. As he did in the book, Hades took great pleasure in knowing that there wasn’t much left of his brother’s temple - reflecting some of the family animosity that is very well known in Greek Mythology.

An Extra: During my research, I was desperately trying to find either ruins of a “Hades” Temple or some sort of location that could show me how Greeks would have worshiped him. I came across a persons’ blog, speaking of how they went to Israel, and visited a location there a Tem- ple to Hades was once believed to have stood. Like in the novel, the entrance is a cave with a

body of water. While no one would actually jump to enter this place, imagining that Hades would take Summer to a location like this one seemed ideal.

Gythion, Greece:

From Athens, Greece, Hades takes Summer to a small location called Gythion - where they be- gin to get closer and closer towards the entrance of Hades. They stay at the “Hotel Gythion” which you can see on your right hand side of the street. This is where Summer tries to run from Hades, and none-the-less, is returned to him within a few minutes.

The Journey to the Entrance of Hades:

As you can see, at this point, Hades has brought us to a small peninsula, where the population is scarce, and the chance of being caught would be slim to none. (As you can see I’m actively

 trying to find pictures and locations in my search engines.) When you zoom in to a part of the pennsulia, you can actually see this - the “slab of rock” that Hades opens.

These are actual scenes that Summer and Hades would have seen around them - Hades would have left the car in this location, and they would have set off onto the left, to find the slab on the ground.

From this point, The Underworld becomes what you imagine it to be. Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures that I can share that I could use without asking permission, to give shape to the Underworld as I saw it, but I’d love to hear or see how you, the reader, have made it to be!

I hope that this is helpful and allows you to see just how rich the story really is - how I truly tried to give the most realistic setting for Hades and Summer to explore.

Happy Exploring! :)

Seven Seeds of Summer
Chantal Gadoury

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher:  Waldorf  Press

Date of Publication:  March 15, 2014

ISBN: 1630684775
ISBN-13: 978-1630684778

Number of pages:  332
Word Count: 66,420

Cover Artist: Karen Davis and Terri Cooper

Book Description:

Seven Seeds of Summer follows the story of Summer, a college art student who has grown up in a house full of Greek mythology and legends. Summer grew up with a love for the darkest of all Gods: Hades, which caused tension between her and her mother. Summer comes home to Point Judith, Rhode Island, to find a mysterious figure on their family beach. The figure comes to her with questions about a familiar myth of her childhood: of Persephone and Hades. He proceeds to tell her of a new version of the story with a different ending that Summer never knew; an ending that includes herself.

A trip to Greece leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of the strange figure whom she had met before. He takes her on a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, to the lowest point of Greece where his lair awaits: The Underworld. Determined to find out the secret of herself and her piece in the story, Summer goes with him, and tries to make herself at home in his world.

Summer has to decide to follow her heart or follow the same footsteps of the mysterious woman in her past life.

Available at Amazon   LuLu   BN  iTunes

Excerpt Chapter One

I could hear my friend, Maggie shouting my name across campus. There wasnt one person who hadnt heard my name. My cheeks heated with my embarrassment and I slowly turned to see Maggie running toward me. Her brown hair billowing in her face as her loose ponytail fell apart. I caught myself grinning at seeing her dressed in her paint-splotched overalls again. She was always adamant that they were her lucky painting clothes. It was all I ever saw Maggie wear to classes. She advertised artist.
Hey Maggie, I murmured, giving her a small smile. I clung to my over sized sketchbook and waited for her to catch her breath.
Are you going home now? she asked me, pushing her hands on her waist, looking as if it was all she could do to hold herself up, either from the all-nighter that she more than likely had in finishing her project, or the fatigue in wrapping up the semester and packing to go home. I gave her a curt nod and turned my head in the direction of my mother, seeing her stuffing in one of the last boxes from my dorm room into her car. Spring semester was finally over, and I was officially considered a sophomore in college. Thank God. No more annoying freshman classification.
Aw, thats too bad. A bunch of us from Sketch class were going to head over to Rusty's Grill for a goodbye lunch, she said as she pushed her bangs from her face. I noticed her hands were still dirty from painting. I wondered how long she had been in the studio overnight working on the last project of the year  the one due this morning. I let out a sigh and shrugged.
Im sorry, Maggie. My mom and I have a long drive, I glanced over in my mothers direction again. She was standing by the car with her arms folded over her chest, expectantly looking at Maggie and me. I better get going. Im sorry for leaving in such a rush. Ill keep in touch with you over the summer. I lied as best as I could. It was hard to walk away from a person that only wanted to be my friend. I just didnt want any friends. I had spent the entire year in the studio, painting, drawing, painting, and drawing. Lunch and dinners usually consisted of me, alone; grabbing something from the Quick-Fix in the student center and taking it to my dorm room. Usually, that was the only time my roommate saw me. I must have made Rachels life very easy. 
For the next year, I applied for a single, so I could set up my easel and paint into the wee hours of the morning and not have to worry about bothering someone with the stenches of paint, or the tiny trickle of classical music escaping from my computer.
Who was that? my mother asked me as we climbed into her silver 1990 Honda Accord.
That was just Maggie, I murmured, pushing my pillow towards my feet as I reached for my seat belt.  She was in a few of my art classes with me. I clicked the seat belt into place and pulled the pillow back up into my lap.
You never mentioned a Maggie, my mother said, glancing over her shoulder as she backed out of the parking lot and started to drive toward the exit of the Institute.
I never had to mention a Maggie, I said, pushing my pillow against the window and leaning on it. I knew what was coming next. My mother was going to tell me how much she wished I had made friends at school, and if I applied myself more, I would be happier. In her mind, not so alone, but I enjoyed being alone, for the most part. 
Honey, I think friends would be something positive in your life. You need friends. You always do everything alone. Every time either your father or I would call you, you were always alone. Always in the studio. Always doing something. You never even tried to be friends with your roommate.
You dont know that! I growled and closed my eyes, wanting her to drop it.
I do know it, Summer. If you just tried hard enough, you could be so much happier. You have so much potential to do so many great things, and meet people. If you don't try hard, you'll never have those opportunities."
I dont want friends, Mom. I just want my art degree and to move on, get a job and live.
But you are living, she argued. What do you think youre doing now? This is life, honey. This is it. We didnt just fork over the money to The New England Art Institute for you to just sit in a studio…”
I thought you were paying for my education. For my future, to get a great job in something I love to do. Not make friends.
We thought this place would open you up, and give you a chance to test your social skills.
Ive been evaluated and measured, and ta-dah, I have none, I said improvising one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies.
You dont have to be so negative all the time, my mother sighed, pushing her sunglasses over her eyes.
I could tell this was going to be a long drive. The New England Art Institute was only an hour away from Point Judith, where we lived in a small house by the ocean. It was probably my favorite place in the whole world. There was nothing but ocean, and sand, and more opportunities to paint quietly.
Your father is back in Greece, my mother murmured after a few minutes of nothing but the silence and the soft hum of the air conditioner.
Again? I asked, opening my eyes to glance at her. She nodded, not looking away from the road. He was called out about three days ago. They found something more on the Hades location.
Yes, she said with a grin. Elis.
They found something more than rock and rubble?
Well, they just asked your father to come out and give his opinion on their recent findings. Im not even sure what exactly they wanted him to look at.
Rock and rubble, I finished, lowering my head back down onto my pillow. My family loved anything that had to do with Greek Mythology. Our house was filled with relics, and pictures of relics, statues, and temples. My mother was fascinated by Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. I was sure it was because my mother was in love with the idea of love. She lived for Valentines Day and stories of Cupid, and was fascinated by how love worked in strangers lives. It could have been the fact that she was a psychologist and loved studying people, but I had a feeling the reasons for her fascination delved much deeper than what surfaced.
There were pictures that littered our fridge and our hallways of my parents in their younger years, posing in front of all sorts of different temples.  I imagine this is where or why my mother began her fascination with the Greek Gods and Goddesses. It must have started out as just an admiration, until she started to pray to them. The only part of her decision to pray to them that bothered her was my growing adoration for Hades through my childhood, into my adolescent years. I had the freedom to explore and learn more about my dark friend, and even at times, prayed to him in the quietness of my mind.
I started at a very young age, after being told of the story of Hades and his love, Persephone. In my eyes, he was the perfect man. I became obsessed with him.
Do you have to be so morbid? my mother asked me when I told her of my fascination in our kitchen one morning. Cant you choose another God to like?
Why should I have to? You can't make fun of me for liking him when you decided against going to church like all the other normal families. I asked, hoping I'd make my point with her.
Normal is over-rated, honey. Dont be ashamed to be different.
Then Ill stick with Hades, I said, giving her a smile. Hes different, and I like him.
It could have been the story that I heard growing up as a child. It could have even been the Disney version of Hercules, when Hades was given blue hair that started my admiration for him. I always felt a tug toward him that I couldnt understand. There were several paintings that littered my room, filled with black oil paint and faces that longed for love and daylight. He was something that I had created in my imagination, and I desperately wanted for him to be alive and real. 
But I knew they were only stories.
Why do you like him so much? my mother asked me one evening when she came into my room and caught me painting his dark face. He was a mix of colors, all washed in water and coal dust. He was my perfect creation.
I feel like he knows me, I uttered, lost in the painting, washing his eyes with a blue paint that seemed to encase the loneliness that I knew he suffered. In those dark caverns, filled with spirits and doom, I knew that my God wanted to have more than what he already knew. He wanted to taste love and companionship.  When I looked up, I saw my mother giving me a weird look and I knew I needed to explain and find the words to describe the connection that I felt.
I dont know, Mom. I guess its like that God-human connection people get with Jesus.
Jesus and Hades are two very different people, Summer, my mother said in a stern voice.
Well, yeah. Hades is a God, I said with a smile.
I dont think your obsession is healthy.
Im not obsessed, and Im not worshipping him or anything.
What do you call that? She pointed to my painting in front of me. My hands were all black from the watercolor when I glanced at my work. Or that? she said when she pointed to the collection of other paintings leaning against the wall near my bed; my dark love.  
A creative outlet.  I said with a smile.
You need to let that go, she said, shaking her head.
Why do I have to let it go? Hes not a bad person or anything, I argued.
Hes the God of the Underworld, Summer. Dont you think that classifies him as a bad person?
I shook my head and lowered my brush onto my desk and lifted the half-painted drawing to show her. He didnt choose the Underworld, Mom. If you remember right, Zeus took the Universe, Poseidon chose the oceans, and that only left Hades with the Underworld.
I already know the story, Summer, she murmured, leaning her body against my door.
Hes not really a villain at all. Hes just the keeper of souls. Without death, there can be no life. I said, trying to defend him.
You really need to find a new hobby, Summer. Or a new God to fantasize about.
Why should I? Youre the one that worships all of them. I just love one.
I dont make my whole life about them.
I lowered the painting back down onto my desk and shook my head. Yes, you do. Have you taken a look at our house? Theyre everywhere. You and Dad have made this house into a temple of your own.
And youve made your room into a temple for Hades. How do you think that looks to us? She shouted, lifting her hands into her hair. I could tell that she was frustrated and was about to "let me have it." My mother made accusations that she was going to "Let me have it one day." Maybe today would be that day.
Dad doesnt think that, I argued back.
You dont know what youre father thinks about you. She accused as she closed the door behind her in disgust; her disgust echoed all around me.
I guess that leaves the two of us. I whispered, glancing back down at my painting.
My dad was more willing to understand. He loved all the Gods  loved learning about ancient Greek culture, and mythology. He loved Apollo and Hermes; probably more so because he could relate to what they were Gods of.
What do you think that says about me? my dad asked one evening, while we were driving back home from one of his Greek artifacts exhibits. We had all been comparing Gods and Goddesses, and I was extra careful not to ruin the conversation with any mention of Hades.
That you like order and being the middleman to everyone, my mother said with a smile. I saw my father wink at my mother under the orange glow of the highway streetlights. It was true. My dad often played the middleman in between my mother and me in fights. He was usually the only reason why we made up. There had been plenty of nights when my father came into my room and tried to apologize on my mom's behalf, or beckoned me to come to their room to talk to her. He'd sit on the edge of the bed and coax me out with stories of Greece, of his childhood, and sometimes even with stories of the Gods and Goddesses that he claimed no one knew about. I had always suspected that there was more to them then what was written in countless books, and my dad was the only clever man who knew about them.

My attention snapped back to the present, as I thought of something. Do you know when Dad will be back from Greece? I asked my mom, as she drove past the Welcome to Point Judith, sign.
Point Judith was a small town at the southern-most point of Rhode Island. It was beautiful; the kind of beauty that you find on post cards with tall, white lighthouses and lobster boats. It was a quiet place. The only sounds at night were of dinging bells on the buoys, and the silent waves that crashed onto the white, powdery beaches. I couldnt wait to pull my shoes off and walk around in the cool evening sand.
Hes going to be there for a few more days. Hell be back Wednesday night. It was only Friday. I did the math, counting down the days in my mind. That meant Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday alone with my mom. I anticipated it would be a long couple of days. Days filled with my mom trying to do things with me, while I'd try and escape; searching to do anything but what she'd plan. She liked to go into town and look at other people's gardens. She liked to go to farm festivals, if she could ever find one near the shore, and spend hours looking at their fresh produce and greens, commenting on how well or poor their harvest had been. I'd count the hours on my wristwatch, hoping for some relief in the hours to come. Just as all mothers seemed to do, from what I observed from the few tourists that trekked to Point Judith, and from the high school classmates, my mother was notorious for pulling me around, station to station, talking about my schooling, the things that I was doing, and the things that she hoped I'd do in the coming years. She wanted what was best for me - a good education and a good head on my shoulders to face the world with once I was done with school. I wanted to focus on the few more years I had before I had to face those realities. The only highlight was the promise in the coming days for me: the chance to run away after dinner to the shore, and spend the last few hours of daylight lost in the strokes of my paintbrushes, the colors of the night sky and the images of faces and scenes in my mind.
What do you want for dinner? my mother eyed the local McDonalds as we slowly drove past it. I already knew she wanted to stop there and eat, and not have to be bothered to cook anything when we got back to the house. She hated to cook. Shed much rather be out in her gardens planting and weeding, than being bothered to take the meat out of the freezer and prepare it and have to plan side dishes and desserts. Shed rather pay for someone else to do it for her. There was a joke that if my father ever died, my mother and I would most likely starve, if there was no such thing as take-out or drive-thrus.
Dad didnt leave you any TV dinners in the freezer? I asked, amused. She gave me a small smile and shook her head. Ive been eating them for the past two days. I think I could use some real grease in my system. My mother didnt hesitate to make the decision for me. She pulled into the U-Turn lane and went back to her favorite grease-filled fast food stop.

About the Author:

Chantal Gadoury is young author who currently lives in a small town in Delaware with her two cats, Theo and Harper and her boyfriend, Robert. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting, and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, this is her first book.

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1 comment:

ChantalGadoury said...

Thank you for hosting me today! It was such an amazing thing to see my book on an actual Blog! I appreciate you having me today!