I recently interviewed author Chrissie Parker about writing and the release of her new book, “Among the Olive Groves”. Welcome Chrissie!
NEW RELEASE “Among The Olive Groves”
Elena Petrakis adores living on the Greek island of Zakynthos. When World War Two looms her way of life is threatened. Left with no choice she joins the island’s resistance to fight for what she believes in; her family, her home, and her freedom.
Decades later, thousands of miles away in the Cornish town of Newquay, Kate Fisher prepares to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, but her joy is fleeting when she learns she is adopted. Abandoning life in England, Kate flees to Zakynthos, where she is forced to acknowledge a life she has struggled to come to terms with, one that will change her future.
From the beautiful crystal turquoise seas of the Ionian Islands to the rugged shores of the Cornish coast, ‘Among the Olive Groves’ is a story of love, bravery and sacrifice.
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I live with my husband in London (UK). I love to listen to music and read books. I make spiral bead bracelets and am very passionate about history, and archaeology.
I have had a varied life in regards to work. When I was at school I wanted to be either an actress or an archaeologist, two very different career paths. Things weren’t easy and after much investigation and thought, I eventually settled upon actress. Partway through training, I decided I didn’t really want to be an actress after all, as I much preferred the technical side of theatre, so I re-trained, whilst working at the Bristol hippodrome Theatre. I then became a Freelance Production Assistant and later a Production Coordinator, I worked at my local TV station as studio crew, toured with cover bands and worked as a freelancer on feature films, documentaries and a variety of TV programmes.
Over the years I enjoyed re-discovering my love of ancient History and Archaeology. Recently I completed a six-month course in Archeological Techniques, and a six-month course in Ancient Egyptian History with Exeter University. I hope to undertake another course with them next year, but not sure which one yet!
Writing is something that has always been with me. I was always writing short stories at school, and in my teens I also wrote a lot of poetry. Over the years I tried unsuccessfully to write numerous novels, but could never find my niche. Despite that, I never gave up, and kept trying. It is something I love doing and am glad that I have finally succeeded in releasing my first novella. In 2013 I was very lucky to have one of my poems ‘Maisie’ read at the Bath Literary Festival as part of the ‘100 poems by 100 Women’ event. I have also guest written for two Epilepsy charities in the UK and Canada.
You published “Integrate” last fall and you just released “Among the Olive Groves”; with one under your belt, was the writing process different this time around? Did you prefer writing one more than the other and if so, why?
I liked writing both books; Integrate was completely fictional and didn’t need any research so I was free to let my mind wander. Among the Olives Groves was different, even though I could let my mind wander, I also had to do a lot of research to get the story right. In a way it was more fun as I was able to learn about a genre of history I didn’t know much about. A lot of time and energy went into Among the Olive Groves and it became a complete labour of love, and I am so happy with the final story. I hope people love reading it as much as I loved writing it.
What is the most important thing for you when writing your novels? Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?
When writing my thrillers I tend to write by the seat of my pants, and do some, but little planning. My historical fiction is very different; there is a lot of research that needs doing, so I tend to plan a lot more. This was definitely the case for Among the Olive Groves. As parts of the book was set out in sequential years I needed to fully research and plan the story around facts for each of those years. It’s a lot more work, but I don’t love it any less, as I get to research history, which is something I love!
What does your writing routine look like? How has this routine changed from when you first started?
My writing routine has changed a bit. I no longer work full time, so have more free time. I now write when I don’t have any freelance/temp work. Sometimes I have days or even weeks at a time to sit and work, it’s great as I actually get more achieved in those few days/weeks and I have managed to increase my daily writing word count to 7000 words on a good day!
What is the most memorable response you have had about your writing?
I got a great review for Integrate, it said:
“A good read, Ms Parker keeps you on a knife edge ’til the end, she pulls you in, gives your mind a bit of a pounding and leaves you feeling guilty for intruding on her thoughts.”
It is one of the best reviews that I have ever read for a book. Reading it made the whole process worthwhile. I want people to enjoy my work, but I also want them to be left feeling like they had been taken on an unpredictable or enjoyable journey too.
Which one of your characters (if any) would you want to travel with?
Oh definitely Elena Petrakis. She is a feisty little thing who loves life and in her own words “doesn’t like to let the grass grow under her feet”. I think she would be a lot of fun, I imagine that if you went on a road trip with her she would be enthralled by everything she saw and would want to delve into the areas she visited soaking up all of the local colour and atmosphere. I think she would be a lot of fun, and maybe get into a bit of trouble too!
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
Most books! I love reading, and collect books. My favourite is my collection of Agatha Christie novels, I am a huge fan of her work. And then there were none and Death on the Nile are my favourites. She had an incredible talent, and was also very interested in archaeology and history like myself.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I’m currently writing two sequels to Integrate that will be released next year. They will be called Temperance and Retribution. I am also revising two historical fiction novels set in Egypt and Jordan.
Twitter – @Chrissie_author
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChrissieAuthor/
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