The Transmigration of Cora Riley (Forgotten Relics #1) by Ellie Di Julio
Published: 4th March 2014
Average family. Average job. Average existential crisis.
After thirty boring years, nothing about Cora Riley’s life has measured up to her childhood dreams of being truly extraordinary. It’s too bad that the night she decides to seek out her specialness she crashes on a rural highway.
Cora wakes in the clutches of the Mistress of the underworld who sets her a seemingly impossible quest. If she wants a second chance at life, Cora must find her way through the dozen heavens and return to the castle in three days.
With the help of an unusual guardian angel named Jack and a little boy named Xavier, Cora navigates the afterlife doorfield and quickly learns that gods and monsters are very real indeed. Terrifying and tempting obstacles litter her path; only the power of belief – in the Otherworld, in her companions, and in herself – will return her to the land of the living.
Interview with Ellie Di Julio
Describe The Transmigration of Cora Riley in your own words.
At its heart, Cora Riley is the story of a small-town girl taking charge of her life. She wants to be special (who doesn’t?) and goes through some fantastical and dangerous trials to find out she’s got something extraordinary already inside her. There’s a little romance, a little humor, and a lot of magic involved. Sort of a “Persephone meets Labyrinth” type story.
Where did you get the inspiration for The Transmigration of Cora Riley?
It started with realizing I could mine any of my personal experiences for story fodder, then gained momentum from reading Francesca Lia Block’s The Elementals, added some meat with classical mythology from different cultures, and finally consolidated itself into a real book when I reached back into Inkchanger for a character (hinthint!).
I also love the idea that our human belief in the supernatural forges the magical world; putting a “mundane” person into that environment and seeing what happened was loads of fun. The crazy thing was seeing how it went from “I could use this car wreck in a book” to a story about a woman’s quest to find herself to a five-book epic series about the nature of reality.
Which of your characters, from any of your books so far, has been your favourite to write?
Agent 97 from Inkchanger, hands down. He’s such a caricature of an emotionless secret agent that I could be funny with him at the same time he’s an unstoppable machine. I’d love to write an entire serial based on his investigations.
Sister Helga in Cora Riley is a close second, though. She’s a tertiary character at best, but who wouldn’t get a kick out of writing a valkyrie who talks IN ALL CAPS?
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
For sure! Nearly every primary character I’ve written has something of me in them – how could they not? But the biggest one is Cora. She’s definitely my literary avatar. Jack also reflects me in a lot of ways, just the flip side of Cora. Together, they’re basically me.
What has been your favourite book so far this year?
Ooh, dang. This question is tough because I (sadly) haven’t done much reading yet this year. But I just finished The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – back to back – and feel like a different person afterward. FLB’s work is always magical and inspiring (see above!) and getting Goldberg’s classic writing text under my belt makes me feel like I’m on the right track. Like a double-shot of good writing vibes.
What do you love most about being an author?
The hours. And the travel. And the freedom. And the people. And the satisfaction when a project is finally done-done. It’s all pretty great, actually. I wouldn’t do it if the awesome stuff didn’t outweigh the nights I spend stress-eating mac ‘n’ cheese by the potful and watching Numb3rs until I pass out. Writing’s always been with me; to do it as a Real Writer is freaking amazing.
If you could have written any previously published book, which one would you like to claim as yours?
That’s a tricksy one. If I’d written a previously-published book, it wouldn’t be the same and then it may not have even been published. Talk about a classic time-travel paradox…
Assuming non-standard paradox rules, though, I’d have to go with The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett so I could go on to write the rest of the Discworld books. His combo of humor, insight, and relatability is one of the big goalposts I shoot for in my own work. I’d also take The Hobbit by Tolkien as long as I’m dreaming big (small?).
What book/s do you have planned for the future?
Cora Riley is the first book of an entire series, so there’ll be another five or so books in that vein. Then who knows? There’s potential for an open world scenario when Forgotten Relics resolves, and I’ve also been toying with a YA serial about troublemaking teens in the 70s. But you never know what’ll come down the inspiration pipeline, so it could be anything!
Thank you Ellie. I love myself a good time-travel paradox, especially if it helps me become an author! ;) Good luck with the rest of your writings!
Author Bio - Ellie Di Julio
Ellie Di Julio is a nomadic writer currently living in Hamilton, Ontario with her Robert Downey, Jr. lookalike husband and their three cats. Between nerd activities like playing Dungeons & Dragons or watching Top Gear, she enthusiastically destroys the kitchen and tries to figure out what it's all about, when you really get down to it. She also writes urban fantasy novels riddled with pop culture references and sexy secret agents.
Her first novel, Inkchanger, could easily be considered Forgotten Relics #0, and as such, rewards readers of the rest of the series, sort of like watching Thor before The Avengers. Her second novel, Time & Again with Kyeli Smith, has nothing to do with super powers or secret agents but is very cool nonetheless.
-Ends 22nd March 2014
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