Readers, I’m delighted to introduce you to an amazing talent today – Diana Rodriguez Wallach – who I was so fortunate to meet when she submitted a fantastic trilogy of short stories for the Mythology High series at Buzz Books USA. The very definition of creativity is coming up with new twists and she has definitely done that with her Mirror/Mirror stories about modern takes on classic myths of Narcissus and more. She had already published young adult novels and totally gets the “voice.” I asked her to share her inspiration with us today. Welcome, Diana!
It’s the number one question that writers get: where do you find your inspiration? At this point in my career, I’ve drawn inspiration from my family background, Greek Mythology, and a former BU professor who previously worked as a communist spy. So I guess the answer is, anywhere.
But my current short-story collection, Mirror, Mirror, is rooted in the myths of Narcissus, Nemesis, Echo, and Nyx. It’s part of Buzz Books’ Mythology High collection. A lot of people have asked how or why I zeroed in on Narcissus, but to be honest, the idea just came to me. I don’t know if I consciously made the decision, which is weird for me to admit because I’m not one of those authors who believes she’s a vessel for some mystical muse. I think good writing is derived from hard work, not divine inspiration. You need to put your butt in the chair, write everyday, and be willing to make massive, painful revisions.
That said, when I learned about Mythology High, my mind instantly flicked to Narcissus. A few seconds after that, I came up with the idea of 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, in two hours while sitting in a coffee shop in Philly. So I can’t deny that there was definitely some serious inspiration flowing through me that day. I only wish all writing could be that easy.
The rest of the series—Nara Gazing, Shattering Gigi, and Emmy’s First Glimpse—include the myths of Echo, Nyx, and Dionysus. All of this came from research. It was fun to twist these classic tales, especially those that many readers know well, into something entirely new. My goal was for readers to clearly recognize major elements—like changing Narcissus’ pool of water into a mystical silver mirror—so they’d feel an immediate connection to the stories and the myths. I didn’t aim for re-imaginings that were too obscure, or that would require readers to have a deep understanding of the minutia in these myths. Instead, I strove to create fun, modern stories that hint at Mythology without requiring a Ph.D. I hope it worked. -DRW
Get to know Diana better with the links below and check out the Mythology High series here.