22 September, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - A complex book of two parts 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 complex book of two parts

Writing a book is one of the most challenging things someone can do. I do believe that everyone has a book in them, everyone has their own story to tell and I would never discourage anyone who wanted to write a book to do so, but there is so much more to it than just writing. There’s planning, researching, characterisation, spelling, grammar, punctuation, plot and scene development, as well as copious amounts of editing. Ultimately writing a book is more than just writing a story, it’s about all the many elements that all go together to finally form the end product and it can be a lot of hard work.

The final version of Among the Olive Groves is actually the third version of the book that was written, after a lot of trial, error and frustration.

When I first began writing the book the story was set in World War Two only, and told from Elena’s point of view, with Kate’s side of the story not being revealed until the very end of the book. Even though the story made sense I didn’t like it, something about it felt wrong. It was as though the book needed more too it, as though Kate’s story needed to be bigger and more prominent throughout it somehow, so I changed it. 

I went back and started to re-write the whole story, which was incredible difficult, as it meant pulling the first version to pieces and reassembling it like a big word filled jigsaw. This second version of Among the Olive Groves changed dramatically. It became s story told from two points of view Angelos’ and Kate’s, in the modern era, with Elena’s story and the war years appearing as Angelos’ thoughts and retellings to Kate. 
This also didn’t feel right, the story had gone from one extreme to another with Elena being sidelined for the other two characters. It was as though all three characters were fighting to have their say in the story as lead characters.

I sat there with no idea of what to do. I had two very different books, both good, but both not quite good enough. All three characters wanted to be in the book in equal part and have their say, so in the end after much thought I pulled the books to pieces in order to create a new and third one, choosing to set the story in two different time periods, with Kate and Elena having their own stories, with Angelos appearing in both stories. Thankfully, this time it worked and the end I was very happy with the end result.

Many authors say that even though they have story ideas and plans, the books they write often take on a life of their own with characters dictating what happens. This is very true of Among the Olives, but I’m glad that the characters of Elena, Kate and Angelos fought so hard to be heard, as I think the final version works well, and the story is all the better for it.

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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