Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Nerd Tours Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Just Myrto (Laurie Gray)

Displaying just_Myrto_front final.jpgPaperback, 210 pages
Published May 2014 by Luminis Books

As a young woman in Ancient Greece, Myrto is doubly cursed to have been born both a mortal and a female.
When her father dies, leaving no dowry for her to marry, she wonders whether her brother will find her a husband or sell her into slavery. Although she'd rather have a kind master than a cruel husband, her brother decides to give Myrto to his form teacher Socrates as a second wife.
Being a second wife is not easy for Myrto, and while her new husband treats her kindly, his first wife Xanthippe is nothing but cruel. Myrto spends much of her time away from home in an attempt to avoid being alone with the terrifying Xanthippe, and soon strikes up an intellectual friendship with her husband's student, Plato. Although she wants nothing more than a friend, he has designs on more.
Now Myrto must discover where she belongs in this quickly changing world. Will she accept the lot she has been given by her family, succumb to romantic love, or pave the way for women of the future to live better lives?
As her personal journey through Ancient Greek Metaphysics unfolds, will she always be defined by her relationships with men? Or will she discover the joy of being Just Myrto? 
Purchase Links

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Laurie Gray has worked as a high school teacher, a deputy prosecuting attorney, and the founder of Socratic Parenting LLC ( In addition to writing, speaking and consulting, Laurie currently works as a bilingual child forensic interviewer at her local Child Advocacy Center and as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences at Indiana Tech. She has served on the faculty of the National Symposium for Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama, annually since 2009. Her debut novel Summer Sanctuary (Luminis Books/2010) received a Moonbeam Gold Medal for excellence in young adult fiction and was named a 2011 Indiana Best Book Finalist. Her second novel, MAYBE I WILL (Luminis Books/ 2013) received a Moonbeam Bronze Medal.

Booknerd Blog Tour


· What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

In September 2007, the Remnant Trust had a collection of books on display at the Allen County Courthouse, where I was working as the deputy prosecutor assigned to our local drug court. The collection included the first English translation of Plato's Apology, published in 1675. We were allowed to pick up the books and look through them, and I was enjoying the challenge of reading medieval English when I read something in the translator’s introduction about Socrates having a second wife named Myrto. I had read a great deal about Socrates including The Complete Works of Plato, the writings of Xenophon, and the plays of Aristophanes, and none of them mentioned Myrto. The idea that Socrates had a second, much younger wife who was the mother of his infant and toddler when he drank the poison hemlock back in 399 B.C.E. intrigued me so much that I began researching Myrto and developing the premise for Just Myrto.

· Who is your favorite character in the book?

I end up loving all of my characters, but I would have to say Aspasia is my favorite. I wish there were more reliable information on her life. What we have is really HIStory, not HERstory. My version of Aspasia incorporates many of Socrates’ best traits with those of Pythagoras’s wife Theano and the potential I see in Myrto.

· Which came first, the title or the novel?

The title came very early in the process. I like the multiple meanings of “just” as an adjective and as an adverb, especially since Myrto is the granddaughter of Aristides the Just and the wife of Socrates who was always asking “What is justice?” The men in her life really define her at the beginning of the book, but by the end she has redefined herself and is happy being just Myrto. 

· What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

The scene where Socrates, Myrto, Xanthippe, Lamprocles and Sophroniscus visit Aspasia. I pulled so much of what they talk about from the writings of Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes, but wove it together into my own fiction. That’s also where I introduce the mind’s eye symbol which I ended up trademarking as my logo for Socratic Parenting LLC because copyright would protect the text I wrote, but not the symbol I created. 

· Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Three P’s: Passion, Patience and Perseverance. Writing and publishing can be a grueling process. It’s the passion that inspires you to hone your craft, keep at it, and deal with the rejections and occasional harsh criticism that are bound to come along the way.

· What do you like most about the cover of the book?

When I first showed the cover to my writer’s critique group, they thought it was a picture of my daughter. I don’t have any idea whose picture it is or to what extent it was enhanced for the cover art, but I do love the cover as if it were a picture of my own child. 

· What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?

Kekla Magoon’s How It Went Down which just happens to be set for release on my birthday, Oct. 21. Kekla always weaves a compelling story with fresh insights. I’m especially interested in this book because I think many of the issues will parallel those I’ve been discussing with my criminal justice students at Indiana Tech after George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting Treyvon Martin. And Kekla always writes with such clarity of language and empowers her characters (and her readers) to find their own way. 

· What was your favorite book in 2013?

This is such a hard question! I read so many good books last year in multiple genres. But my favorite was probably the Divergent trilogy. I waited until Allegiant came out in 2013 to read all three books. I know a lot of people who read each book as it was released over time were disappointed with the ending in Allegiant. I read all three of them—bam, bam, bam—without that kind of anticipation and expectation, so there was no disappointment whatsoever on my part. I really love the psychology behind the strengths and corresponding weaknesses of each faction and the idea that we need to balance these aspects of our humanity individually, not just as a society, if we want to become more humane. 

· What’s up next for you?

I started my 4th YA book, but it’s been kind of sitting on a back burner. I’ve been doing this thing called RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) in April, which is actually a crash course in poetry and has required me to write a poem every day for 35 consecutive days, read lots of great picture books and write a rhyming picture book. So maybe a picture book, but who knows.

Luminis Books released my parenting book A Simple Guide to Socratic Parenting at the same time as Just Myrto so I’ve been busy with that as well. I’m also doing more motivational speaking using the affirmation poem and coin I developed called Token of Change™.

In 2012-2013 I did a lot of workshops on Bullying. This year I’ve been focusing on resilience and would like to continue researching and doing workshops on cultivating resilience and how books can help us become more resilient.

· Is there anything that you would like to add?

Just a big thank you for sharing Just Myrto with your readers. I really appreciate your thoughtful questions and have had fun answering them! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the interview and sharing it with your readers!