In this week’s WIP interview, I’m more than pleased to welcome author Effrosyni Moschoudi, as the timing is perfect to share exciting news: “The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb“, Effrosyni’s upcoming paranormal summer romance, has cleared Round 2 in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest and is now a quarter-finalist! And that’s on top of “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, her debut fantasy novel, reaching Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales! What a ride for an amazing new author!
For an excerpt of the ABNA quarter-finalist, “The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb”, click here to go to my excerpts’ blog where my writer friends’ work is displayed better.
Effrosyni, first of all, congratulations! Having read both of your novels, I must say it’s an honour well deserved. I’m sure my readers would love to know more about you. Could you tell us a few things about yourself?
My pleasure! I was born and brought up in Athens, Greece. I hold a BSc in Computer Science and have worked in various companies for 20 years, mainly providing computer support and customer service. The credit crunch cost me my career but provided me also with the unique opportunity to dedicate extensive time to my writing; a favorite pastime that I’ve enjoyed since childhood. I reside in a quaint seaside town near Athens with my husband Andy. We have our own house there and it’s idyllic. We love the serenity of our surroundings, growing our own vegetables and having the beach so close to home.
Idyllic, indeed! Could you give us an idea about what your current project involves?
The Lady of the Pier is a paranormal romance that will be published as a duology. It is set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. It is about two girls who have never met but are connected in a mysterious way. As you mentioned, the first part (The Ebb) has made it as a quarter-finalist in the 2014 ABNA contest in the category Romance. A short excerpt is currently available on Amazon for a FREE download. Readers can have their say in the ABNA contest by reading and reviewing the excerpts from all the entries. Your readers are welcome to download the excerpt from my novel here. As I can’t obviously foretell what the outcome of the contest will be, I carry on with my plans as normal for the publication of The Ebb this summer. I have received detailed and extremely helpful feedback from my beta readers and I am currently editing the novel based on their advice. At the same time I am penning the concluding part (The Flow) although this is a very slow process. If all goes well, this will be published by the end of the year too. The Ebb is very close to my heart. Although it is a work of fiction, there are many autobiographical elements as I used to spend my summers at my grandparents’ house in Corfu as a young girl, just like my heroine Sofia in the book. If your readers wish to know more and to see pictures of the locales that inspired the story, they are welcome to read this post on my blog.
I’m definitely encouraging all of you to use the above link, download and review Effrosyni’s excerpt. Let’s help a new author out! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?
No, I am afraid not. Since January, I have developed frozen shoulder and it has gradually allowed me to do less and less. As a result, to say that I am behind schedule with my writing at the moment would be a huge understatement. Luckily, I’m currently making progress with physiotherapy and hope that things will eventually go back to normal in the next few weeks. I’m determined to resume writing The Flow full time again when that happens.
That’s unfortunate. I hope physio works for you sooner than expected. Are you a plotter, a pantser or both?
A bit of both and it also depends greatly on what I am writing. If it is a short story, I usually have the whole thing crystal clear in my head before I even sit at my desk. With novels, it depends also whether it requires any research or not. Research occasionally results in changes on the storyline as to accommodate the actual facts. It has happened with the Lady of the Pier. With The Necklace of Goddess Athena, as the story didn’t portray any world events, I was free to change things as I went. There have been a lot of delightful surprises creeping up on me along the way with this novel and I think I enjoy this process better.
What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?
Distractions. I can be pretty disciplined if I decide it’s time to make progress with a book but for example, when it’s 47 degrees Celsius and the sea is shimmering in the distance, it’s hard to commit to writing indoors! Also, when my husband is at home, I find my writing goes out the window. I often make an effort to treat him with elaborate meals and cakes and we wind up watching DVDs lots too. We both love movies and British series and so, often when he is around, the day just flies by without me writing at all.
Have you experienced “writer’s block” and how do you overcome it?
Yes, of course I have but I don’t let it bother me. I choose never to chase inspiration with a bat. I accept that some days will be bad for writing so on these days I just let it go and go do something else. Usually the next day it flows effortlessly once again so I don’t get frustrated about it. It just is what it is. On the days when I can’t do any writing, I usually read a book or watch a movie or listen to music. Movies especially that are relevant to what I am writing tend to rouse feelings inside that facilitate the ‘un-blocking’ process – if such a thing indeed exists.
Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?
I always write at my desk in my tiny study. I favor crammed spaces. I find they feel cozier and safer. I can relax there and let my mind wander. I couldn’t concentrate to write outdoors anywhere or even inside by a window, as I would get distracted. Therefore, my windowless study is the best place for me. I have placed some frames there for inspiration including pictures of The West Pier in Brighton as well as the book cover of my debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena. I don’t have any children but I see my books as such. So, putting up the cover there would be the equivalent of putting up the pictures of my offspring. It reminds me who I work daily for. It keeps my mind focused and my eyes on the ball.
I’m exactly like you! The more my eyes roam, the less my mind focuses. Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?
I use only Word for writing at the moment but I do intend to look into some relevant programs in future, such as Scrivener. Also, I have recently discovered AutoCrit; a great editing tool for writers. As for research, Google is my main tool but I also read physical books relevant to the novels I write.
How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?
I intend to have the most gratifying annual holiday in Corfu ever. I have spent many summers there dreaming of writing about my beloved island one day. If all goes well, this summer I will return there feeling like I have finally fulfilled a promise of paramount importance to me. Writing The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb has felt like giving thanks for a wealth of happy childhood memories. It is also a tribute to my beloved granddad who passed away 4 years ago at the age of 97. My grandmother will turn 90 this year by the way. I visit her once or twice a year tops and to me she is as precious as all the diamonds in the world but sadly she refuses to leave her house in Corfu.
That’s so sweet! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?
Being unemployed doesn’t allow me the luxury to employ professionals as much as I’d like to. Thankfully, my sister in law is a graphics designer and she makes the covers for my books free of charge. Also, I am very grateful for the precious feedback I have received from my beta readers on The Ebb. I intend to polish the novel with a lot of dedication and care and hopefully, if I can’t afford an editor, the result will be satisfactory enough. I will probably have it formatted professionally though. I use Streetlight Graphics who are amazing. You actually feel like they care about your book as they work on it. Their prices are very sensible and their instructions for uploading the book are very detailed.
Your blog is Effosyni’s Blog.Do you blog according to a specific branding idea, or will you also write about something that might catch your fancy?
As my books are set in Greece, I see my country and anything about it as part of my branding. In this sense, among other things, I blog about my travels, Greek culture, customs and also Greek cuisine. I recently blogged for example about the unique Easter celebrations in Corfu and also showed my readers how to dye Easter eggs with organic ingredients. Other than anything Greek, I also blog about my writing, I offer tips for authors and often present other writers and their books.
Lots to entice the reader there! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?
I have lots! Let’s see: Animoto is a great free site for making 30 second book trailers. Socialoomph is the best site I’ve come across for scheduling tweets so that you can have a presence on Twitter every hour. There are numerous sites to list free books but I believe in the people behind the sites. The most helpful and professional services I have received came from Indie Author Land, EbookSoda, Choosy Bookworm and PeopleReads. To increase traffic to your blog, it makes sense to use a book tour organizer. I recommend Fabulosity Reads who commit to supporting their bloggers and offer great giveaways too. Last, if you want your marketing to work, be courteous and pay it forward. Don’t be competitive. Being part of the indie community is not a competition – think of it as a group hike. The more helpful, sincere and open you grow towards others as you go, the closer you are getting to success.
Great suggestions! Thank you for sharing! Is fantasy/paranormal the genres you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?
I believe that an emerging writer should experiment and not stick to one genre. If you don’t try several ones, how do you know which one you are best on? I intend to have a go at children’s fiction and chick lit next, maybe a thriller later on too. I think this process keeps the writer on his toes and sufficiently mystified. I love exploring the new. Sticking to one genre would bore me stiff sooner or later – I know that for sure.
Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?
FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena
FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/ladyofpier
FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi
Links for The Necklace of Goddess Athena
Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I5GXHCO
Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5GXHCO
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHJcVuAkRV4
Free excerpt download: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18718161-the-necklace-of-goddess-athena
Thank you, Effrosyni, and best of luck with the sequel of The Lady of the Pier!
Thank you very much for having me Maria. It’s been a pleasure!