I would love to Welcome Author Chrissie Parker who will be talking about her new book Among the Olive Groves. Thank you for being here Chrissie.
Thank you for having me.
- Can you share something about yourself?
I live in London, UK, with my husband. We have two cats named after Roman Goddesses. When I’m not writing I work as a freelance Production Coordinator in the Film, TV and Documentary industry, organizing shoots, and location permissions. I have a huge passion for history and archaeology, and have taken two six-month courses with Exeter University on Egyptology and Archaeological Techniques. I love listening to music, reading, and I make spiral beaded name bracelets.
- What you can tell us about how you began your latest book Among the Olive Groves?
The idea for Among the Olive Groves came from a single sentence. I was on holiday on the island of Zakynthos with my husband and a local was telling us stories about the war. They mentioned something specific that happened (I can’t tell you what as it’s a spoiler for the book). It stayed with me and I decided to write about it. Greece has also been through a tough time recently due to the recession and I wanted to show what an amazing place it is. That’s how the book was born, writing it took a lot longer!
- How did this concept of this story begin?
The concept was hard. I knew I wanted to write about the Island (Zakynthos) during World War Two but I also wanted to set it in the present, but I just didn’t know how to go about it. I sat down and worked out the characters first, originally writing the story from Angelo’s’ point of view, with him telling the entire story, but it just didn’t work. So I started again. In the end I tried writing the book three different ways before settling on the final concept; telling the story in two time periods, with Elena Petrakis the main character of one time period and Kate Fisher the main character of the other. I think it works well, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.
- I thought all of the characters in the story were so real and relatable. Do you have a favorite?
I absolutely adore Elena Petrakis. She is gutsy and feisty and she lives life to the full and literally fights for what she believes in. She is so strong and I just love how she turned out. I also like Angelos, there are times you want to shake him, and he’s a man, who tries his best to please everyone, but has a heart of gold and suffers much heartbreak in his life.
- With the content of the book containing the two time periods. How Challenging was it to write?
A lot less challenging than I thought it would be. The 1938 to 1944 sections were the most difficult as they ran year on year, and were set during the war. I had to do a lot of research to ensure that all of the facts mentioned in the book were right and fell at the right point in the book. In the end I had to visit a few museums to fact check, and I also spent few weeks surrounded by books noting all of the pinch points of the Second World War. I had to pay specific attention to things that happened in Greece and on the island during that time too, to try and make it as realistic as possible, without making it sound like a history lesson. All my research notes were written on notecards and put in alphabetical/numerical order in a box, so that I could flip through and check the facts as I wrote/edited. It was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it in the end.
- What inspired the title of your latest book?
I found it very hard to come up with a title; I played around with many different names before settling on Among the Olive Groves. Eventually the idea came from a scene I was re-reading about Elena in the groves. Greece is well known for its Olive Groves and Olive Oil, so I though as the groves are Elena’s favorite place on the island and Angelos lives on one, Among the Olive Groves would be a perfect name for the book.
- Do you have a certain writing process you follow?
I’m a bit of a pantser when it comes to writing, but it’s harder to do when you write historical fiction. So for this book I had to split my time between researching and writing. I am quite lucky, as I tend to work freelance, so I can sometimes devote whole days/weeks to writing, meaning that I get a lot more done. Sometimes I can sit at my desk at 8am and not finish until 6pm (with a break for lunch). I find I work much better that way and can achieve a lot!
- What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
I presented a bouquet of flowers to the Queen when I was 4 years old, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations.
- 9. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
If you want to write do it. Never give up. Keep writing, keep improving, and if you want to publish something do it. If anyone ever offers you advice, listen and take it on board, and learn from people who have done what you want to do, they know what they are doing and can really help!
I love writing and I almost gave up my dream about eight years ago, I never thought I would be able to get a book published and I had faced so much rejection that it was soul destroying. Now I am doing what I love, I won’t say it was easy, it has been hard and I do put a lot of hours, but it’s worth it.
Chrissie Parker – Biography
Chrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.
Chrissie is also an Author. Her thriller Integrate was released in October 2013. Chrissie is currently working on two sequels to Integrate called Temperance and Retribution. Both will be released in 2015.
Other written work includes factual articles for the Bristolian newspaper and guest articles for the charities Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation. Chrissie has also written a book of short stories and poems, one of which was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two six-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University. She also likes to read, collect books, make bracelets and listen to music. To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com
Twitter – @Chrissie_author
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChrissieAuthor/