15 September, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - A book of two locations; Zakynthos or Cornwall? by Chrissie Parker

*** Special Feature - September 2017 ***

About the Author:

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published five books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post, The Zakynthos Informer, Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation.
Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013. In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won an historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.

Contact the Author:

A book of two locations; Zakynthos or Cornwall?

I grew up in Bristol, in the west of the UK, it was where I spent my childhood and first started work. Many of our family holidays were spent going up and down the motorway to Cornwall, where we visited and stayed in lots of seaside towns. I remember those times fondly, and have been left with some incredible memories. Cornwall is beautiful, and filled with large sweeping beaches, turquoise waters and thriving attractions. There are so many exciting places for visitors to explore, such as the Eden Project, Jamaica Inn or the fantastic Minack thetare, and it’s a place that is close to my heart.

Travelling became a big part of my life once I had left school and started working, I backpacked through Europe to Germany, I’ve spent time in the USA and Canada, and visited the Middle East and Egypt. One of my favourite trips was in 2005 to a small Greek Island called Zakynthos, a part of the string of Ionian Islands to the west of the Greek mainland, for a friends wedding and to visit family.
Zakynthos was my first visit to Greece, and it exposed me to a country that I instantly fell in love with and still love very much. 
Like Cornwall, Zakynthos also has beautiful sweeping beaches, and is definitely blessed with turquoise sea, sometimes so bright that it looks unnatural. There are also lots of things to see and do so visitors are never bored, such as the famous shipwreck, a Venetian castle and a multitude of churches and monasteries.

When I wrote Among the Olive Groves I knew the book would be set in Zakynthos, as the inspiration for the story came to me during my visit there, but when I finally worked out that the story would be set across two time periods I needed to find another location that complemented Zakynthos. After a lot of thought I just knew that place had to be Cornwall, and I chose Newquay on the north Cornwall coast as the final setting.

Many readers ask me where I love the most, Zakynthos or Cornwall? 
It’s such a hard question to answer, a bit like asking someone if they love strawberry or chocolate ice-cream, both are just as nice, but equally different. 
The same applies to Zakynthos and Cornwall. They are two very special places that are thousands of miles apart and culturally very different, but that both hold their own appeal. 

Zakynthos is full of Greek charm and hospitality, it’s hot and sunny, the scenery is absolutely stunning and there’s so much to see and do. Cornwall is stunning, truly picturesque, the weather can be typically British at times, with rain in the summer and chillier nights, but it’s a welcoming place and full of history that will keep you more than occupied. 
So I find myself back at the original question;
Zakynthos or Cornwall?

Well in all honesty, for me it has to be both. I could never choose one over the other, despite their differences, as I have fond memories of both, and love so much about them. And it’s okay that I can’t choose between them because having the option of two amazing places to visit, is definitely better than just one!

About the Book:
It is 1938, and a young Elena Petrakis lives on the small Greek Island of Zakynthos. Life for Elena is quite, traditional and typically Greek. One day she meets a local young man, Angelos Sarkis and they strike up a friendship. Soon their friendship turns to love, but when Elena falls pregnant Angelos's father is furious and he bans Angelos from seeing Elena again, and forces Angelos to marry another woman. 
World War Two breaks out and Zakynthos is unable to escape invasion. Islanders are pitted against each other under the watchful eye of the Italian D'Aqui division. Elena hates the war and everything it stands for. She joins the resistance to fight for what she believes in, her freedom, and her daughters right to live in a peaceful world, but Elena finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In the end Elena realises that the only way through the madness of war is to makes the greatest of sacrifices. 
Decade’s later, in 1991, a young Cornish woman Kate Fisher is celebrating her 21st birthday. Her happiness is short-lived however when she finds out that she is adopted. The news shakes her and her world falls apart. She argues with her best friend Fletch, and they stop talking, which makes things worse for her. Kate tries her best to carry on, but finds it impossible. 
Ten years later Kate has moved from her home in Cornwall to Bristol, having tried her best to re-start her life, but she is stuck in a rut and unable to move on, her adoption and loss of her friendship with Fletch still haunting her. In the end Kate flees to Zakynthos, in Greece where she is finally forced to face the harsh reality of her past. What she discovers completely changes her life. 

Buy Links:

Signed Paperback Copy +  a Greek Eye necklace to an UK Winner.
E-copy (all versions available) of the book for an international winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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