08:00:00 am on July 26, 2012 |
What inspired you to have an extended (Currently 3 years) vacation in Crete?
I had spent 20 years living in large, chaotic cities in Asia and decided it was time for a change. I’ve always been fascinated by the Greek islands, and Crete is an excellent island for living on year-round. It’s not solely dependent on tourism and it doesn’t go into hibernation during the winter like most of the smaller islands do.
Have you heard the Eagles’ song “Hotel California”? There is a line in it that goes, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” That’s how I feel about Crete now. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
What spurred the book “Change of Pace”?
Crete! The reality of living in Crete on a permanent basis is quite different from the tourist experience. I’ve watched fellow expats tirade against the seemingly endless amount of bureaucratic red tape to comical results. What some people who come here don’t understand is that things don’t work here the same way they do back home, wherever that might be. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to tell a highly strung foreigner to relax and take a deep breath. If you want to live here and enjoy it, you have to learn to adjust to the pace of the island… I thought there was a story in there somewhere, and then I wrote it.
How long did it take you to finish your book from first draft to revisions?
It took me almost exactly 12 months to write my book. I rewrote it three times during those twelve months. After “Change of Pace” was accepted for publication, it took two editors and seven months of intermittent editing until it became what it is today. The first editor disappeared and the second editor was apparently working on many projects simultaneously. A snail could easily have kept up with the speed of the editing process.
If you could choose an actor for your male lead of your story who would it be?
Do you have a funny or frustrating story regarding the process of creating your book?
I spent 18 months querying agents and publishers, and I received a rejection letter practically once a week. The funniest and simultaneously most frustrating rejection I received was rejection letter number 96. It came from a Greek literary agent, and he said, “I don’t know how to represent the book of a Swedish woman who has spent two decades in Asia prior to moving to Crete and writing a novel in English.”
So what made you decide to go with a small independent publisher?
I didn’t think I had any other choice. When my publisher sent a formal request to publish my novel, I said yes without thinking it over for a nanosecond.18 months of rejection made me throw caution to the wind and sign my name on the dotted line of the publishing agreement faster than a speeding bullet. Ironically, I received two more offers from larger publishing companies two weeks after I signed. C’est la vie.
Is there any advice you would give to the rest of the struggling artists out there?
Learn the art of patience. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Develop thick skin. Don’t sign the first publishing agreement you receive without thinking it through. Above all, remember there is more to life than writing about it.
FIRST SENTENCEs HOOK TIME!
“It’s another beautiful day in paradise. Okay, so the weather might not be exactly beautiful. In fact, it’s abysmal. It’s October and the winter rains have arrived. Crete is well-soaked. I haven’t seen the sun for three days straight, and the wind that never seems to die down is bone-chilling. Somehow none of that matters much. No amount of falling water from the sky could dampen my spirit. “
So the weather may not be perfect but in Crete that doesn’t matter much. So our main character is optimistic and something obviously has happened to make it so. What exactly is it about Crete that has this character enamored despite the circumstances?
What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week? You book the last available ticket on the next plane to Greece. Or at least that’s what the normally unadventurous Anna Cox does in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity. When she panics as she belatedly realizes that not booking a hotel room in a country she knows nothing about might not have been the best or smartest idea, the charming and easy on the eyes Englishman in the seat next to her comes to her rescue – he takes her to the rural island village in Crete that he calls home.
As Anna settles into village life, she learns that change, even the unwanted and …