Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview with Patty Apostolides

Patty Apostolides is the author of The Greek Maiden and the English Lord, which I recently had the pleasure of reviewing.

About the author:
Patty Apostolides has a biology degree from Case Western Reserve University with minors in music and theater. She has worked in the health care industry for over a decade and has co-authored medical articles. She has authored the novels Lipsi's Daughter and The Lion and the Nurse as well as the poetry book Candlelit Journey: Poetry from the Heart. She has also played viola in the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in Greece and having traveled there several times, Mrs. Apostolides is in a unique position to write about the Greek culture. She resides in Maryland with her husband and son.

How did you get the idea for The Greek Maiden and the English Lord?

We celebrate Greek Independence Day on March 25th, which marks the day when the Greeks broke away from the Ottoman rule. I began researching the topic a few years ago, which eventually led to my book. Greece had been under the Ottoman rule for hundreds of years, but after the French Revolution, in 1814, a group of students outside of Greece formed the “Filliki Etairia,” or “Friendly Society.” This underground movement formed the groundwork for the 1821 revolt. On March 23, 1821, the town of Patras was set on fire by the Ottomans and several people perished. Many Greek women and children were taken as slaves by the Ottomans. The idea for my novel resulted from the question “What happened to the women and children on that day and beyond?” Also, I am a romantic at heart, and have a soft spot for Cinderella-type stories where the virtuous and good heroine is down on her luck but is loved by a good and gentle prince or nobleman.

How long did it take you to write The Greek Maiden and the English Lord?
It took me about two and a half years to research and write it, and another six months to revise for publication. My writing averaged between 2-4 hours a day.

Please tell us a little about your previous books.

When I became a stay-at-home mother with time on my hands, I began to read any book I could get on that described the process of writing novels. Eventually, my first novel Lipsi’s Daughter was born. It was inspired by the love and admiration I feel for my husband. The story begins on the beautiful island of Lipsi, which is my parents’ birthplace and is located next to Patmos Island where St. John wrote the Book of Revelations. Lipsi’s Daughter is a Cinderella-type story about an orphaned girl who leaves the island, intent on a college education. However, when she meets and falls in love with a rich ship-owner’s son, she must choose between her education and marriage. My second novel, The Lion and the Nurse, is another sweet love story that takes place on an island in Greece, this time Kos Island. This story is about a nurse who returns to the island to take care of her ailing mother, and finds love in the process. It has been compared to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In addition, I have published an inspirational poetry book titled Candlelit Journey: Poetry from the Heart taken from selected poems written throughout the years. All my stories have happy endings.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old when I received my first journal. At first I wrote my daily experiences, and soon I was penning poems and sharing them with my sisters.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I was a voracious reader all my life. I came to the United States from Greece with my family when I was four years of age, and the Greek language was spoken at home. I had a lot of incentive to learn the American language, and that’s where books became my friends. Every chance I could get, I would read books. By the time I was in fourth grade, I won the Spelling Bee, and the school tests showed my reading ability to be that of older students. One year I even volunteered at our school library and I remember checking out dozens of books each week. By the end of the school year I must have read all the books in the library. Each time I finished a book, I would tell myself, “I wish I could write a novel one day.” Then a little voice from somewhere in my head would say, “You don’t have anything to write about.” So time passed, and in the meantime, I scribbled poems in my journals, wrote essays and scholarly papers in college, and later as a biologist, co-authored medical articles. Eventually, several of my poems became published, but I still didn’t feel ready to write a novel.  It wasn’t until I married my wonderful husband and learned what true love is, did I get the inspiration to write novel-length love stories. Now I had something to write about!

Who are some of your influences?

I would say that everybody has influenced me in some way; my family, friends, relatives, schoolteachers, college professors, churches, orchestras, etc. All the books I read, either through school coursework or
on my own, have influenced me; authors include William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, DH Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Nikos Kazantzakis, Thomas Mann, Ayn Rand, Victoria Holt, and others. I also feel that God and the Bible have been great influences in my life. The Bible is filled with inspirational stories and they have taught me valuable lessons about spiritual life and human nature.

What are your other interests and hobbies?

I have many, many interests and usually don’t have enough time to do them all! But, here are a few: reading, homeschooling, playing and writing musical compositions, cooking, gardening, traveling, poetry, and knitting.
I also research and help write articles in the cancer field with my husband.

If The Greek Maiden and the English Lord was made into a movie, who would be in your dream cast?

That’s a tough question! I particularly liked Kate Winslet in the Sense and Sensibility movie (with Emma Thompson). She is attractive and blond like Lily and has a sympathetic character. Jeremy Northam from the movie Possession would make a dark, handsome Edward.

Also, please include a few random, fun facts about yourself. Just whatever you would like.

I grew up in a family of five girls in a suburb of Cleveland. We were very active in our community and church. We had a lot of fun together and were tight-knit. Music was a very integral part of my life. I have played the viola since the third grade, and my father was a self-taught musician and could play any musical instrument by ear, such as the bouzouki, violin, clarinet, and piano. We all took after him, for every one of us played some instrument or sang. We often got together and sang or played Greek songs with my father. Now, years later, we live in different parts of the world – one sister lives in Australia, the other lives on Lipsi Island, another lives in Cleveland, there’s one in Florida, and I live in Maryland.

You can find Patty Apostolides at her website and on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous interview! So interesting to learn where she gets her ideas! I think this book sounds fabulous. :)




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