A LITERARY WORLD: GREECE. An Interview with Luke Christodoulou.
A Literary World: Greece.
An Interview with Luke Christodoulou.
My guest today is the multi-talented Cypriot author, Luke Christodoulou, an English teacher (MA Applied Linguistics – University of Birmingham), a poet and an author. His first book, THE OLYMPUS KILLER (#1 BESTSELLER – Thrillers), was released in April, 2014 and was voted Book Of The Month for May on Goodreads (Psychological Thrillers). The book continued to be a fan favourite on Goodreads and was voted BOTM for June in the group Nothing Better Than Reading. In October, it was BOTM in the group Ebook MIner, proving it was one of the most talked-about thrillers of 2014. Since then he has gone on to write more Greek Island Mysteries and has also ventured into children’s book land and released 24 MODERNIZED AESOP FABLES, retelling old stories with new elements and settings. The book also features sections for parents which include discussions, questions, games and activities.
Welcome to A Literary World: Greece, Luke,
1. Where do you live?
I live in Limassol, a beautiful coastline town in Cyprus. I could not imagine myself living anywhere else.
2. Can you tell us what your novels are about and what inspired you to write them?
My Greek Island Mysteries series are set upon the majestic Greek Isles. All books are stand-alone thrillers and are set upon a variety of islands. My two main characters remain the same, yet the books can be read in any order. I was inspired by my love for Greece and my passion of creating mysteries. I enjoy nothing more than setting an intriguing murder case and creating events and characters that all intertwine.
3. Where in Greece are your novels set?
The Olympus Killer takes place upon the islands of Crete, Mykonos, Cyprus and a few lesser known ones. The Church Murders is set upon Salamina, Santorini and the Seven Islands. Death of a Bride takes place mostly on the remote island of Gadvos while my fourth novel will mostly be set on the exotic, wild island of Folegandros. Though it, also, features a cruise ship so other islands will surely come into play.
4. Why did you choose to set your novels in this particular place?
I have travelled to many places, but nowhere makes my heart beat as wildly as upon a Greek island. The sea, the air, the people, the food… Heaven on Earth!
5. How did you come up with the titles and the design of the covers?
I was going to name my first book, Greek Island Mystery. Then, as I decided to write more novels set in Greece I made that the title of the series and the first book was titled The Olympus Killer as our serial killer placed his victims according to the twelve Olympian Gods. The Church Murders is a lovely word play. Could be murders in the church or murders committed by the church. The third is more straight forward. It all begins with the murder of the bride the night before the wedding. As for my covers, they are all designed by the talented Maria Nicolaou with whom I discuss how I would love it to look like and she takes my simple wishes to new heights and creates amazing covers. I love my covers to have the color blue in them, for obvious reasons.
6. How long did it take you to write your book?
I write a book a year and hope that my body and mind will cope to keep this up till the day I die.
7. It’s often said that when an author writes, he puts something of himself in his book. Is this true with you?
Hmm, sort of. I don’t have a particular character like me, but certain traits and ideas of mine can be spread around multiple characters. In terms of putting my heart and soul (or sweat and blood) into my novels, then, yes, I guess it’s true.
8. Of all your characters, do you have a favourite?
Can I admit that I do? Ioli. I am so proud of the way she was created and how she has grown throughout the book. It gives me great joy to read reviews highlighting my female lead and how strong and complex she is.
9. The Greeks believed that ‘inspiration’ came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Where do you believe inspiration comes from?
I see you have done your research! Apollo has been kind to me –laughs. Personally, as a murder/mystery author I would say that my inspiration is born somewhere in the deepest, darkest corners of my twisted mind.
10. The ancient Greeks created masterpieces in literature of such brilliance – poetry, tragedy, comedy and history – that have inspired, influenced and challenged writers and readers to the present day. Do you agree with this and if so, why do you think they remain an inspiration for later writers?
Ancient Greece was the birthplace of great writers who created many styles used today. It is a great responsibility for me as a Greek to serve my art as best as I can and to improve myself as an author daily. Whatever your genre, all authors should read great Greek tragedies and comedies and inspiration will surely be provided.
11. The author, Simon Worrall, states that historian, Adam Nicholson suggests in his book, “Why Homer matter’s” that ‘a whole culture- not a single Homer created the Iliad and the Odyssey and that it is a mistake to think of Homer as a person’. He describes these great works as a metaphor for all our lives – struggles with storms. Do you agree with this theory?
The Iliad and The Odyssey are among the greatest works ever written. As they are thousands of years old it is logical that various theories exist about them. Up until the discovery of the city of Troy, many even doubted that the story really took place. As with many stories and fables, in ancient Greece stories travelled and survives due to word of mouth. This was, also, the case with The Iliad. However, it was Homer who gathered all these tales and creating his epic poem. It is Homer’s style that made the story great. Thus, I disagree with Simon Worrall. Homer is a person that gathered many people’s version not a group of people.
12. Visitors to Greece and Greeks themselves make mention of its physical beauty – the light, the wine-dark sea of Homer, and a diverse landscape. Would you agree with this?
100 percent. Beauty beyond compare. To all readers out there, I say, google Greece’s natural beauties.
13. Apart from the world of the gods, the Christian Orthodox religion played a significant role in shaping Greece’s culture. Do you believe that religion still plays an important role in Greek life?
Yes, it played a significant role in shaping the culture and helped Greece survive during years of oppression. Though, nowadays, its role has been minimized just as most religions around the globe. I, myself, am not religious. I believe in a greater idea of a God, but not the God and the saints created in the minds of men during the centuries mostly to satisfy their lust for power and money.
14. What would you say are the elements of the Greek spirit?
Water, of course. Greece without its sea is a body without a heart. The color blue. The sea and the sky. The scorching sun above its proud people.
14. What part of the research process do you enjoy the most?
The finding an ideal location and –now people are going to thing I am a freak- ways people can be murdered.
15. What are you working on now?
My fourth Greek Island Mystery. It currently stands at 15000 words and is growing by the day.
16. What are your typical working conditions? Do you have a special place to write and can you describe it for us?
My office is my refuge and peace and quiet are my friends. With two young kids and a day job, things aren’t always easy. I write mainly in the evenings or early weekend mornings.
And a few quick questions:
17. Who are your favourite Greek authors or foreigners who have written about Greece?
Nikos Kazantzakis, Lena Manta and Aesop. Very different, but highly enjoyable!
18. What are your favourite books set in Greece by Greek or foreign authors?
Zorba the Greek is a must as a starting point for anyone looking for novels set in Greece. I enjoyed, The King Must Die by Mary Renault and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and would recommend them.
19. Favourite type of Greek music?
None. I mostly listen to English and American music.
20. Favourite Greek film?
21. Favourite Greek monument, sculpture or painting?
Cliche but true. The Parthenon.
22. Favourite Greek food?
ALL! Hmm, Octopus with wine as a fancy choice. Chicken gyro kebab as a guilty pleasure.
23. Favourite Greek drink?
Rose milk. Haha, you wasn’t expecting that. I am a whiskey kind of guy. Anything Scottish!
24. Favourite holiday destination?
The island of Santorini and the view from its caldera.
Where can we buy the books?
Links: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pdt_bl_sr?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=Luke+Christodoulou
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00JMYGN38/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Luke+Christodoulou&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Luke+Christodoulou&sort=relevancerank
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Luke. It’s been a pleasure to have you on A Literary World: Greece. And you’re right, I wasn’t expecting you to say rose milk was your favourite drink, but I have to say that with the addition of a few ice cubes, it does sound refreshing.
1822: During one of the bloodiest massacres of The Greek War of Independence, a child is born to a woman of legendary beauty in the Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni on the Greek island of Chios. The subsequent decades of bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks simmer to a head when the Greek army invades Turkey in 1919. During this time, Dimitra Lamartine arrives in Smyrna and gains fame and fortune as an embroiderer to the elite of Ottoman society. However it is her grand-daughter Sophia, who takes the business to great heights only to see their world come crashing down with the outbreak of The Balkan Wars, 1912-13. In 1922, Sophia begins a new life in Athens but the memory of a dire prophecy once told to her grandmother about a girl with flaming red hair begins to haunt her with devastating consequences.
1972: Eleni Stephenson is called to the bedside of her dying aunt in Athens. In a story that rips her world apart, Eleni discovers the chilling truth behind her family’s dark past plunging her into the shadowy world of political intrigue, secret societies and espionage where families and friends are torn apart and where a belief in superstition simmers just below the surface.
Set against the mosques and minarets of Asia Minor and the ruins of ancient Athens, The Embroiderer is a gripping saga of love and loss, hope and despair, and of the extraordinary courage of women in the face of adversity.