As an undergraduate Classics major at the University of California, Santa Cruz and later as a graduate student at Cornell, Judith Starkston fell under Homer's spell. It was probably inevitable that her penchant for story telling would combine with her passion for the Iliad to produce Hand of Fire, a novel set against the legendary backdrop of the Trojan War.
Over a long career as a high school English, Latin and Humanities teacher, discussions with her students left Judith with some burning questions about the people of the Iliad, not the least, why does Briseis love Achilles? This mightiest of Greek warriors has, after all, killed her brothers, destroyed her city and taken her captive. Finding too much to like in the hero Achilles to blame this peculiarity on an ancient version of the Stockholm syndrome (he's the only one questioning the purpose of the war, after all), Judith went digging into the past. She got more than she bargained for—just as it turned out Achilles had gotten more than he'd reckoned on when he fell in love with Briseis. The world has known the location of Troy since the late 1800's but only recently have its inhabitants begun to emerge; their ethnicity, culture and interests. Most of this outstanding modern archaeology post-dates those Classics degrees Judith worked so hard on. She had a whole new world to uncover. That process included adventures in Turkey, climbing through the ruins of Troy and the Hittite capital of Hattusa.
Judith is ably assisted in her writing by her golden retriever, Socrates, a canine philosopher who sits on her feet and makes sure she gets the job done. She has two grown children and lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband.
Travel, especially if it involves Bronze Age ruins or possible settings for my books, reading and reviewing historical fiction and cooking.