Q&A with Jordanna Max Brodsky


Get to know 2018 Festival speaker Jordanna Max Brodsky, author of Olympus Bound

If you could make everyone in the world read one book, which would it be?

Honestly, making everyone in the world read the same book sounds a bit totalitarian! However, if I must pick, I’d say Free to Be You and Me by Marlo Thomas (and friends). Thirty-five years after it was first released as a book and album (I grew up listening to the LP), the world could use another visit to a world where little William loves his doll and fierce Atalanta beats all the boys in a foot race.

What is your favorite aspect of participating in book festivals?

Answering questions from aspiring writers. I spent far too many years believing that writing a book was a far-fetched dream, the process too mysterious—or torturous—for normal mortals to manage. Now I know better. I love offering encouragement to those struggling with their own authorial insecurities. Even more, I relish the opportunity to give practical advice to those with specific questions. Writing novels is a unique job—but it’s still a job. And like any occupation, there are techniques, resources, and tools that can make it easier.

Which other speakers are you excited to see or hoping to meet at the Festival?

Cate Lineberry. I just read Be Free or Die, which introduced me to the true story of escaped slave and Union naval hero Robert Smalls. He’s just one of many American heroes—people of color, women, indigenous folk, and more—who have too long been overlooked in our history books. Right now, I feel like most of us have only the barest understanding of our nation’s past. Authors like Cate are helping change that.

Which part of your book are you most proud of?

Strange for a fantasy author to say, but I’m most proud of the true parts. I try to always steep my fantasy in actual history, and I do a lot of research to make the entire story as accurate as possible (except, of course, the whole “Greek gods alive in the modern day” part). My readers, I hope, are learning something while they’re being entertained, whether it be ancient Roman astronomy, Manhattan history, or Greek mythology.

What are you working on next?

A historical-fantasy epic about the collision of the Inuit and Norse—and their gods—a thousand years ago in the Canadian Arctic.

In the 2018 Virginia Festival of the Book, Jordanna Max Brodsky will participate in Science Fiction, from Greek Gods to Nanotechnology on Friday, March 23.