Spotlight on Effie Kammenou

We've had the fortune to connect with author Effie Kammenou for this interview & a very generous giveaway contest on our Events page. Have a read about this interesting romance author and how her culture and world travels helped shape her Gift Saga series. 

When did you start writing creatively?

That is not an easy question to answer. The short answer would be 2012, about six months after my mother passed away. I wrote as an outlet to express myself and to channel my grief. But I had been writing a food blog for several years before that. In that blog, I not only shared recipes, but also the traditions and celebrations that went along with the foods. I also occasionally contributed to a regional magazine, writing restaurant and book reviews and feature articles. However, if I go back even further, I remember writing a play with a friend when we were barely in our teens. And to think I thought I was only interested in acting out the plays, not writing them!

Which author has most influenced your own writing style and how?

I can’t say that my writing style has been influence by any author. I admire many, envy their eloquence and sophisticated use of the English language, but each author has his own style and voice. Mine comes from my soul and life experience, as well as my interests and observations of the people around me.

What is your favorite reading genre?

I love to read women’s fiction and contemporary romance with deeper themes. The occasional rom-com is fun too. I also like a good paranormal fiction. And I really enjoy revisiting the classics I was exposed to growing up. That doesn’t really answer your question, does it? I can’t pin it down to just one.

How has your Greek heritage influenced the stories you write?

My Greek heritage is all over these books – the traditions, customs and religious holidays. The food and the spirit of the Greek people. The stories I’ve heard all my life and the experiences I’ve had. My observations of other Greeks and Greek-Americans and the dynamics of their families. All of these factors influenced my stories.

Tell us a bit about your latest release.

Chasing Petalouthes is the third and last book in The Gift Saga. This story focuses on the current generation in the family as they navigate their way from adolescence to adulthood. In the other two books the mains characters are women and it’s no different in this one.

Evvie has lived through the loss of her father and her most beloved yiayiá (grandmother). Because of this, she thinks that closing her heart will protect her from future pain. She’s wilful and defiant at times in respect to her mother who has her best interest at heart but sometimes tries to force her hand in a direction that doesn’t interest her.

Stella is the youngest of a family of siblings and cousins who, in her mind, are all more attractive, intelligent and talented than she is. She suffers from a lack of self-esteem and that frame of mind lands her in a relationship with the wrong man.

Throughout the story, the younger generation learn lessons from the older members of their family. Many of the chapters drift back in time as far as 1928 before any of the family had come to America.

In the end, the entire saga is tied together in a very meaningful and heartfelt manner.

How do you ‘build’ your characters?

I develop book characters in the way I would if I was playing a role in a play or a movie. It’s how I was trained as an actor—to give each character a history even if it doesn’t come into play with the storyline. But where they came from, the type of life they led and the experiences they’d gone through influences who they are, their traits and mannerisms.

What steps do you take to ensure your writing is ready for release?

I make quite a few revisions before anyone else lays eyes on it. I have a good friend, who I call my unofficial editor, and she is the first one to read through the manuscript. I take her suggestions and do another revision. With the first book, I had several beta readers and I’d made many changes after their read through. With this last book, I only had two beta readers before I handed it over to my editor. I make a few more revisions while working with her and when the manuscript is where we both want it to be, it goes out for a final proofread.

What is your favorite go-to snack when writing?

That all depends. Sometimes it’s dark chocolate and other times, chocolate licorice. But I’m really more of a savory food lover. Give me a few chunks of cheese and I’m a happy person.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

All three books take place in New York and several different locations in Greece. The last book in the series, Chasing Petalouthes, also has a section of the story set in Paris and Champagne, France. Being of Greek heritage, I’m familiar with Greece, its culture and people. But I wanted to visit and view it with a different perspective. I did a tremendous amount of research on the Champagne region and the process of champagne making. But in order to really write authentically about this corner of the world and its industry, I had to see it all for myself, speak to vintners and immerse myself in the culture.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing the first book in a new series. I have to admit, it was hard for me to say goodbye to the characters of The Gift Saga. They became my friends and family so it’s a little sad not to be writing about them anymore. But I’m very pleased how I tied up the saga and the characters storylines.

I haven’t named this series or even the first book yet. I’m still in the first draft stage. This trilogy will also revolve around a Greek-American family, particularly three sisters, but the dynamics of this family will be quite different than the family in The Gift Saga.

I also just finished a novella that will be included in a multi-author anthology called Paperback Writers. The anthology will be available for sale this June. The proceeds will be donated to The World Literacy Foundation.

Thanks for stopping by and the interview, Effie! And Page Dropper members, don't forget to RSVP to Effie's super give away on our events page for a chance to win her Gift Saga series and an Amazon gift card. 

Check out all the places where you can connect with Effie!

Twitter Instagram Facebook Bookbub Food Blog Amazon & her newsletter signup 

Fan contact e-mail: [email protected]

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