Saturday, 28 January 2017

Drenched in Greek Sunshine

This is number four in my occasional series of interviews with writers who specialise in producing work on a Greek theme. I'm rather excited, nay ever so slightly chuffed, to have had prolific best-selling author Effrosyni Moschoudi answer my fifteen questions. I'm sure you'll find her comments intriguing, enlightening and fascinating.

Effrosyni was born in Athens, as was my late mother-in-law. to date I've read one of her works, her first novel entitled "The Necklace of the Goddess Athena", which would appeal not only to lovers of all things Greek, but probably to the enthusiastic Doctor Who fan as well! I was especially enthralled because my wife's grandparents used to have a taverna in Plaka, on the slopes of the Acropolis in Athens, which is where much of the action takes place in this book. 

So, let's get down to business, here's Effrosyni's interview, along with some interesting photos plus at the end lots of links so you can check out her work.

1. Where do you live?
I live in a peaceful, small town that’s situated about half-way between Athens and Corinth. It’s on the beach and near the foothills of the picturesque Geraneia mountains with its pine tree forests. Across the water, the opposite shore of the island of Salamina is visible and offers a wonderful view from our seafront, even at night with its streetlights and passing cars. The summer is paradise here and I get to swim daily. The local marina is a delight to frequent all year round with its beautiful yachts, fishing boats and quaint tavernas. I feel blessed and privileged to have made a home here, away from the crowded city where I was raised.

Seafront near Effrosyni's home. The island in the distance is Salamina.

2. What do you write about?
I am a romance/fantasy/paranormal author and write for readers who are passionate about Greece and its people. I love to introduce a little magic into every novel. In my published stories so far, readers will find living and breathing Greek Gods, a haunting spirit seeking deliverance, and a bunch of quirky guardian angels, one of them deeply in love and not having the faintest idea how to handle it. My books are set in stunning Greek locations and I often tantalize my readers with references to Greek food in them as well. I know what they love about Greece (which are all the things I love to!) so I make sure to add all the ingredients necessary for a classic ‘Greek holiday experience’ in every novel.

3. Why Greece?
Simply put, because it runs in my veins and makes me tick more than anything else. It makes sense to me to write about what I know and love the most. This is why all my heroines so far have been Greek as well. I do plan to write British heroines in future though. I expect it will be a refreshing experience for me and hope my readers will enjoy the novelty as well.

4. How long does it take you to write a book?
It used to take me months on end, sometimes more than a year. I started as a pantser* but over time learned new skills on how to plot my novels instead. By doing this, for example, it took me only three months to write the first draft of my last novel, The Amulet
[*For the unitiated, a 'pantser' is someone who 'flies by the seat of their pants']

5. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Positive feedback from readers. For me a book is nothing until it has become alive in the hearts and minds of others. Of course, the joy and the sense of accomplishment when holding a new paperback in your hands for the first time are immense. I don’t think even a writer can express these adequately in words!

6. What, in your view, is/has been the greatest gift from Greece to the world?
The Parthenon as a whole and what it symbolizes because of the golden era of the 5th century B.C. that it came from. Therefore it embodies the gifts of democracy, philosophy, drama, geometry, architecture and many more that Greece has given to the world. This is why we Greeks have become quite annoying about claiming the Parthenon Marbles from Britain. Because they are part of The Parthenon. Therefore, they are not mere stones. Many novelists, actors and movie stars have fought the Greek corner to defend the cause across the centuries but the great Melina Merkouri once explained to the world what they really are better than anyone else ever could:
“They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are our noblest symbol of excellence. They are a tribute to the democratic philosophy. They are our aspirations and our name. They are the essence of Greekness.”

7. How do you come up with an idea for a book?
I sincerely believe I don’t come up with the ideas but that they are given to me. To say I come up with an idea would suggest I’d be actively looking for it. And yet, most of them come out of the blue during the odd phase of consciousness that exists somewhere between sleep and wakefulness and lasts very briefly early in the morning. Sometimes, it comes as a single vivid picture. Other times, it’s an obscure story that, like a distant dream, has many inconsistencies and hardly makes sense, yet it insists to be recorded. Many times I’ve jumped out of bed and hurried to jot it all down before I forget!

8. How do you go about writing, that is to say, are you organised, disciplined, do you do your research, or are you a messy sort who gets it done one way or another?
As I stated earlier, I used to be a pantser but, in time, transformed into a plotter 100%. At first, it would take me ages to find the discipline to sit and write and even when I did I had no idea what to expect. Nowadays, I don’t set out to write a book unless I have a chapter-to-chapter summary down on paper first. Of course, I always allow for many delightful last-minute surprises from my characters, but I do have a very good idea of where the story is going and what the ending will be. This makes a huge difference during the writing process. It has delivered me from the clutches of the infamous “writer’s block” which is nothing else but the writer’s own fear, anxiety, and tendency to procrastinate (procrastination itself stems from fear too). Plotting ahead rids you of all that. Now I know beforehand what every scene I am writing is going to be about and how it’s going to end. It may sound restricting to the imagination for some, but I find it liberating and also conducive to good time management. It’s the only way I intend to write books from now on.

9. Which other authors do you read?
I enjoy the books of many indie authors and they are far too many to mention them all. To name just a few of my favourite indies: MM Jaye, Nicholas Rossis, Amy Vansant, David Wind, Angel Sefer and Christian Kallias. As for traditionally published authors, I love Dan Brown, Stephen King, Katherine Webb, Rachel Hore and Rosamunde Pilcher.

10. What's your preferred kind of music?
Pop music from the 80s, British mostly, because it takes me back in time. Anything that transports me back to this era is a good thing for me! 

11. Do you like Greek music and if so, which kind?
I don’t follow pop Greek music at all. I sometimes listen to orchestral Greek music (like Spanoudakis) or old songs from the 70s and 80s. Again, for the ‘time-travel’ effect! I love Mitropanos, Poulopoulos, Chomata, but most of all, I love syrtaki music because it takes me back to Corfu summers in the 80s – a time very special in my heart. The opening chords of ‘Zorba the Greek’ brings shivers to my spine.

12. Favourite Greek dish?
I have two: Souvlaki with pitta and lahanodolmades. The latter is cabbage leaves stuffed with mince and rice in avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce). My Corfiot grandmother used to make it better than anyone else I know in her tiny kitchen in Corfu. Oh, how I miss her cooking! I’ve recorded some of her best recipes on my food blog, by the way – if any of your readers are interested to cook Greek tonight - click here! 

Effrosyni with her grandmother in her kitchen on Corfu. Check out the blog for some very tasty recipes.

13. Favourite place in Greece and the reason(s)?
The village of Moraitika in Corfu. It’s my favourite place on earth and I miss it 24/7. This is where I spent the best summers of my life with my grandparents in the 80s. I wrote The Ebb to honour their memory and to share with the world the joy I experienced back then on this earthly paradise. I don’t have a better way to describe my love for this place than to invite your readers to read the book (it’s permanently 99p on Amazon) or to check out my guide to Corfu on my website – the pictures will speak for themselves I think!


Check out Effrosyni's exhaustive guide to her favourite place, the village of Moriatika on Corfu.

14. What links would you like the readers to explore in connection with your work, including, of course, sites where your work may be purchased?
Your readers are welcome to watch book trailers on my website and to download FREE excerpts for all my novels. They can also download a FREE short story and a delightful, exclusive excerpt from The Ebb that’s available for a preview nowhere else. Both of them are included in the FREE book, Poetry from The Lady of the Pier. I also urge your readers to check out Team Effrosyni on my website. Members get to read all my new books for FREE plus to enter exclusive giveaways!
Effrosyni’s Books on the website:

15. And finally, reading device or real book?

Oh… a bit of both! I do prefer paperbacks, though. I love the feel of paper in my hands and the tantalizing silent call a half-read book emits my way when I pass it by on the coffee (or bedside) table during the day. My black tablet screen doesn’t do the same, somehow. Yet, I get eye strain a lot these days and the reading device is easier at the end of the day in this respect. 

A final note from me...
Well, if you check out some of those links you'll be occupied for hours. So if you're into a good Greek read, this post ought to go a long way to making sure you have one!
Watch out for two more author interviews already in the pipeline and coming up soon. All my interviews are permanently linked in the left hand column of this blog, under the imaginatively titled section "The Interviews".


  1. What a wonderful presentation of my work - a terrific job! Thank you so much John for this opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat :)

  2. Thanks to you both for an interesting and entertaining conversation. It's lovely to hear how other authors find their inspiration :)

  3. I loved this interview.
    I've read all of Effrosyni's books, and I've enjoyed the magic, the mystery, the descriptions, and her poetic way of writing.

  4. Thank you for your lovely comments, Stephanie :) Happy Sunday!

  5. Many thanks for your visit here and for your kind words, Angel. They mean a lot coming from you!

  6. Lovely interview. Thanks for sharing.

    Just like Angel, I'm also a fan of Effrosyni's writing for a number of reasons, the most prominent being her palpable love for Greece, her vivid imagery and her ability to create what ancient Greeks called "eudaimonia" (could be rendered as "human flourishing" in English), that is the link between a character's virtue and true happiness.

    Keep up the good work, Fros, and thanks for the mention!

    1. Thank you for the kind comments, Maria. I am astounded you found a way to translate "eudaimonia" into English - I never could! Such a beautiful Greek word, and what a compliment to associate it with my novels - thank you so much :)

  7. Wow, that's a great interview by one of my favorite authors! Many thanks for sharing, John, and many thanks for the kind mention, Fros :)

    As one lucky enough to have tasted Fros's cooking first-hand, I can't recommend her food blog highly enough.

    Fros, I wonder why you say you've only included Greek heroines so far. What about the Lady of the Pier trilogy?

  8. Great interview Effrosyni. Finding out what inspires you to write and the insight into your writing process was so interesting. 'Human flourishing' What a great way to describe your work.

  9. LOL - Nicholas! For some reason I've always thought of the Greek girl, Sofia, as the main heroine in the trilogy because that's the character that inspired everything else, but of course, you're right! Hey, I've already done it then! Thank you for the lovely comments, my friend!

  10. Thank you for your kind comments, Dougie!