I’m delighted to be joining in with Soulla Christodoulou’s The Summer Will Come blog tour 🙂
Interview with Soulla Christodoulou…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m a former Business Studies Teacher and have vast experience in marketing and business prior to teaching. I have three almost grown up boys and live in Finchley in North London, very close to where I grew up.
I gave up teaching to work part-time in marketing again and to set up my own English tutoring business and creative writing classes in January 2015. Since then I have written two novels and a collection of poetry. My novels are Broken Pieces of Tomorrow (women’s fiction, semi-biographical) and The Summer Will Come (historical fiction, 1950s Cyprus and London) ) and Sunshine after Rain is a collection of poetry created around old phrases and sayings.
I also hand write personal letters of love and support to women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I send these to a charity called Girls Love Mail who distribute the letters to patients across California and last year one of my letters was selected for inclusion in the Dear Friend book – a collection of these letters – which raises awareness and funds.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
All my ideas come from real life experiences, either personal or shared by friends, family or in the case of my WIP, a chance connection on Twitter.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
My first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow has a number of characters based on people I know and their experiences, although these have been embellished for the development or pace of the story. This second release The Summer Will Come was inspired by a number of stories my own parents shared with me about their move to from Cyprus to London in the 1950s. These tales prompted me to look at the history of the island at that time and hence this dictated the historical context of the book.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Gosh, you know what Kerry I’d say they just come to me and if they feel right I use them. I have, on occasion, changed the name of a character mid-way either because I’ve received a comment about a name or because the character’s journey takes them on a different journey which somehow doesn’t resonate with the original name I chose for them.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I tend to write when I’m in the mood which is most days. If I’m not in the mood I rarely force myself…I go out, do something different, away from my writing space, and come back refreshed and ready to work again. I tend to write in the mornings, straight after breakfast and often work all day through to dinner time.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I enjoy some of the classic writers like Jane Austen and Louise May Alcott but as an adult I’ve really enjoyed the writing of Maeve Binchy, Joanna Trollope and Victoria Hislop and Maya Angelou…I know that’s more than five and I could go on and on!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
It would be Maeve Binchy and I would ask her about her story and inspirational processes and how she brings out story after engaging story and how she captures the essence of a place; does she visit the places her books are set in? How much time does she spend there? Are the characters based on real people she’s met? I find her books totally immersive and I have read many of them more than once.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I read all the time Kerry…and even read the dictionary! I was way ahead at primary school with reading sets for my age and used to be sent to the library to read independently.
When did you start to write?
I’ve always written…I’ve got notebooks full of ideas and little mini stories and scenarios. But I began to write more seriously when my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I found that life began to get on top of me and I vowed in December 2014 that in the new year I would find something to take me away from all the stress at home and at work. I found a fabulous creative writing course, joined the classes and the rest, as they say, is history!
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I would cure Beth in Little Women and let her live. Her presence would be stronger and she’d change the views and lives of her sisters in such a way that she finds her place; be accepted for who she is. Her sisters would help her come out of herself and she would become a wonderfully creative scholar and musician; a quiet ‘butterfly’. Her death really upset me and as one of three sisters I can’t imagine how I would cope losing one of them at such a young age. I still cry every time I read the story or watch the film.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I would love to write a ghost story…I have a chapter written from many years ago…but I’ve never re-visited it. But the idea is still there. I love the idea that someone who has passed can still have an impact on your life and the outcome of the way you live.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Finding me…partly because, looking back at my life, I’ve ‘fitted in’ in the way that was expected of me by others or the role I played out…my parents, my colleagues, my husband, my employer, my teaching job, my marketing job…and admittedly, I put a lot of pressure on myself to conform and to be perfect. In my late forties, something in me changed and I am living life on my terms, the way I want. I’ve since talked to many different people about this and it’s not uncommon to reach a point in your life where something tells you to find your purpose and live it. I’ve found me!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Oh wow Kerry, this is a great question. I would invite Beth from Little Women. I would take her to Hampstead Heath in late Spring, early Summer, and we would sit on one of the benches overlooking the huge lake and we would talk about feeling different; feeling never quite pretty enough or good enough. I would ask her why her love of music didn’t save her from death and why it didn’t heal her soul when I know that it can. I’d tell her that everyone has a role in the family and being a home-maker is a huge and important role and that one day, we all find ourselves, and realise we are enough.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on an online relationship story that develops between two people…I’m 43,000 words into the first draft of the story and have very recently presented one of the chapters to my writing critique group. I’m also exploring the impact of Cerebral Palsy on the development and quality of life for a grown man in it and I have connected with a wonderful man on Twitter who has kindly shared his experiences with me. His insight has given me far more in terms of material and understanding than any website I’ve used.
Do you have a new release due?
I don’t have a new release pending after The Summer Will Come but hopefully the next book will be available within the next 18 months.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
With my first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow I celebrated at home with my family. This time around I am celebrating with my family and friends in a lovely little coffee shop in my local area and I have the Book Blog Tour booked as you know.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I tweet, post and share lots of information and tit-bits about my writing life and my life, in general. I’m quite open with my ideas and like to share my inspiration with other writers and readers.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I write a weekly blog post which features A Cup of Conversation, my author interview series as well as other writing related blog posts. I would love to welcome your readers and hope that they will join me and if anyone would like to contribute in any way please contact me.
Thank you so much for your wonderful interview questions Kerry. I wish you all the best and hope to connect with you again soon.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Soulla 🙂
The Summer Will Come
Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time. Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture. Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost? A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined.
Purchase from Amazon UK –
Author Bio –
Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.
Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys.
She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services.
Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.
When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!
She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.
Catch up with the rest of the blog tour for reviews, and more, with these awesome book bloggers…..