Q&A with beta readers _ RachelD. (published with reader’s permission)
1.How many characters were based on real people in your life?
Mrs. A. was an actual person, and besides my own experiences, I drew a lot of my inspiration from the real-life person, to shape her character. She was a ravishing woman, with a royal and elegant essence surrounding her, who could win and charm anyone she put her mind into, just by entering the room.
Growing up, I was both afraid and looking up to her. She was a real force, and nobody would want to cross and yet very nurturing. Her life split into two parts: before and after a tragic incident. She was a neighbor; my family took care while I was growing up in Corfu, and she was the closest thing I ever experienced to a grandmother figure. The image of her standing beside the window, expecting an absolution, was something I have always carried with me.
Magda is also a real-life inspiration and is meant to describe the dynamics of women’s friendship. Last but not least, my book would not be complete without a real-life anti-hero, Stephanos, Mrs. A., better half.
2.Were there any moments where you wanted to give up, and what advice would you give to an aspiring author? I have been trying to get published for many years. Self- publishing, is a way to have more control as well as freedom on your creativity.
Do not give up – things are not meant to be comfortable or happen within a day, a month, or a year. I can honestly say i do not regret taking my time and making most of the process.
3.With all the places and locations in the book, are they all real places that you have visited or grown up in ?
Most of the places are fictional, but some real places inspired me, such as Siora Angiolina’s neighborhood.While an actual Inn under her name does not exist, I was mesmerized by the beauty of a precise location on the island of Corfu, where I could picture Angiolina running her Inn, giving orders to her husband. When it comes to Theotokio, where a significant part of the story takes place, it is not an actual spot on the map. Last but not least, the enormous backyard where Big Mama used to collect her fruit and turn into her famous jams, was inspired by an abandoned castle-like house, that belonged to a famous family, which is said to bring tragedies and misfortune to whoever lived in it.