From Mortal to Greek God: A Jen Calonita Book Review

When author Jen Calonita began the discussion for her latest Twisted Tales novel, Go The Distance, she immediately knew which moment of the Hercules tale that she wanted to twist.

“Zeus, as you know, is the guy in charge when it comes to Mount Olympus,” she said. “I always imagined if Hercules asked him whether he could stay on Earth with Megara, he would say no. Hercules spends the whole movie trying to prove he's a God and then when he does, he stays on Earth for love. Immediately I thought, what if Zeus said no to that request? What if Hercules had to stay on Mount Olympus and Meg, if she wanted to be with Wonder Boy, had to prove herself and become a God in order to stay with him.”

When creating the storyline, Calonita had a few questions she wanted to address throughout the plot. Can Meg put her past behind her and use her quick wit to defeat monsters and gods alike, including the nefarious Hades? Will she finally figure out her place and contribution to the world? Or will her fear of commitment have her running away from an eternity of godhood with Hercules?

She also wanted to include as many nods to Greek mythology as she could as well as expand upon some of the stories already known.

“I tried to pull from some of the classic The Twelves Labors of Hercules and have Meg tackle them,” she said. “It was so much fun to plot, but also difficult to figure out exactly how it would all work.”

Calonita’s characterization is a mix of the characters Disney fans have fallen in love with and her honest portrayal of how she believes they would behave should this have been how the story went. It gives the reader the chance to dive more into Meg’s past, understand her frustrations and see an imperfect side to her that isn’t shown in the original film.

“I have always been a huge Disney fan so to have the chance to tackle putting a twist on my favorite Disney tales is a dream come true,” she said. “It's always fun to imagine your favorite characters from the films living on and tackling new stories and I love having the chance to do that… This is [Meg’s] journey to rediscover her past, to find peace with her past love and show the world - and the Gods - how strong she really is.”

Go The Distance: A Twisted Tale gives Meg a heroine story full of courage, strength and resilience that not only makes the reader want to turn the page at a rapid rate but allows them to love or hate what these characters may have become had their fates been different.