Good morning, y’all!
Today, we have a very special post from debut author Elizabeth Tammi, whose first book comes out in just over a month! Her book, OUTRUN THE WIND, is a sapphic, young adult retelling of the Greek myth about the huntress Atalanta. It’s not one that is explored very often, so I’m eager to see what Tammi has to say about why she chose this particular piece of mythology to retell! Also, for a little bit of extra fun, she’s included playlists for Atalanta and Kahina, the two main characters of the novel!
But first, the blurb so you get a little taste of what Tammi has in store for us all!
The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.
To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.
She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? And now, without further ado, Elizabeth Tammi!
“Reimagining Atalanta” by Elizabeth Tammi
I get asked a lot why I chose to reimagine Atalanta specifically, out of all of Greek mythology’s fantastic female figures.
I try to articulate what it was about her that enraptured me; I try to remember how one random burst of confusion turned into a novel. The best answer I can offer is that it was spite.
Though I’m a long-time enthusiast of Greek mythology, it wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of college—a little over two years ago now—that I learned the extent of Atalanta’s story. For those familiar with her story, I’m sure we can agree that Atalanta is a beacon of unapologetic female strength trying to forge her own path in a male-dominated world that attempted to force her into submission every day of her life.
What’s not to admire? It was easy enough for me to fall head over heels for Atalanta’s ferocity and confidence, her talent and her determination. Honestly, what a power move it was for her to beat all her suitors in a footrace for her hand. I was rooting for her every step of the way, until the way most versions of her story seem to end: she’s married off to a man that used magical golden apples to trick her into losing.
I was, to put it mildly, dissatisfied and baffled. I felt she was a character who’d been wildly misunderstood and mishandled, and I half-jokingly tried to come up with explanations for what happened in her story—what was in the background that could help me make sense of everything that just went down?
Slowly, like a snowball rolled into a massive sphere, my version became Outrun the Wind. I added plenty of new characters, along with my own interpretations of canonical characters and events. I wrote it to shake off the annoyance and confusion her mythology left me with. I wrote it to show that sapphic girls have always been around. I wrote it to give Atalanta the ending I think she deserved all along.
Perhaps her original poets are rolling in their graves, and shaking their heads in dismay. Fine by me! I made Atalanta (and Kahina!) mine, and I think she’d be happy with how she turned out.
Kahina and Atalanta, my two lovely leading ladies, probably only knew music that was played on a lyre, phorminx, or otherwise. But let’s imagine that they were around in today’s world—what would they be listening to? Here’s what I think would be on their playlists.
About the Author
Elizabeth Tammi was born in California and grew up in Florida, but is currently double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism as an undergraduate at Mercer University in Georgia. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Elizabeth at rehearsal for one of her vocal ensembles, or at work for her university’s newspaper and literary magazine. Her other interests include traveling, caffeinated beverages, and mythology. Outrun the Wind is her debut novel. You can find Elizabeth online on Tumblr at (annabethisterrified), Twitter at (@ElizabethTammi), Instagram at (elizabeth_tammi), and at elizabethtammi.com.