The Story Behind Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess by A.L. Hawke

11 May 2021

By A.L. Hawke

So why am I debuting a mythical fantasy and what’s this all about? I’ve published a paranormal romance trilogy, a science fiction series, and an urban fantasy. Why mythical fantasy?

The launch of this novel meant a lot to me personally. It’s the culmination of years of dreaming, and the subject of two creations I love: Azure Blue and Cora.

Many years ago, I wrote five unpublished books in a setting called Azure Blue. Originally inspired by Enya, my muse thought up an ancient blue world with a green sun in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Music, even lyric-less, is always ripe for adding imagery and weaving a story. This was particularly true with the ethereal music of Enya. Enya inspired me to create a dreamscape full of amazon nymphs, Greek gods & goddesses, and flying unicorns—a land literally blue, like the backdrop in the cover. And I enjoyed escaping into Azure Blue and the labyrinths below. Describing what lies above and beneath my fantasy world was a blast to visit and a challenge to write. So when I recently embarked on Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess, I dusted off all of this worldbuilding.

But a book is more than a setting. Two hundred pages into “pantsing” one of my original Azure Blue manuscripts, Cora was born. By the way, I don’t outline, which I’d never recommend to budding writers out there unless you’re like me, willing to exchange fun and the unexpected for heavy editing and re-writes. Anyway, I “pantse” and my characters appear. Many come and go, but the goddess Persephone, my Cora, was unforgettable. She’s a sneaky goddess; hard, arrogant, and, yet, vulnerable. She made for a super fun heroine in my contemporary urban fantasy, CORA (yes, she’s the same character in both books), but in this novel, taking place four thousand years before, I got to delve into a young Cora and look into the origin of how a dark goddess developed any heart at all.

In Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess, Cora is sent away to Azure Blue by her mother, Demeter, to live with the Amazon nymphs under Queen Nephrea (better known as Nefertiti in Ancient Egyptian). There she’s taught the Amazon code of honor, bravery, and righteousness. But Cora is not an Amazon nymph. And prophecy holds quite a different fate for the goddess as she grows into adulthood—Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Upon Cora’s fall, Demeter rages and threatens to freeze the entire world under ice and snow forever. Her foster mother, Nephrea, must offer a sacrifice to quell Demeter’s rage.

This is classic epic fantasy with maps, swords, battle scenes and the whole lot, but it’s also a strongly character-driven coming of age story. It’s about Cora growing up. It’s a book about the shackles of life and the hope we hold in freeing them through love. And released just in time for mother’s day, it’s a story about a mother and daughter’s love. I invite you to take a journey with Cora and her mother.

A.L. Hawke is the author of the new book Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess.

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