The lovely Maria Messini from MM Jaye Writes recently featured me in one of her WIP Interviews, and is herself a writer and author. I can’t thank the people who take the time to interview me enough – (it’s all me me me!) – and I hope that these insights into how I became inspired to get cracking with my writing career will inspire others to do the same. You can read the original post here.
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EKATERINA BOTZIOU – WIP INTERVIEW
With a degree in Law and a passion for the Arts, Ekaterina has worked on a whole host of different projects ranging from film to fashion, and has even been cast in Hollywood movies. Born to a proud Greek father and a ballerina mother with roots as mixed as a tequila sunrise, Ekaterina spent her formative years learning that every word comes from the Greek language and that no other nation compares to the might of the Hellenic realm. Published last year, her debut book “Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing” has enjoyed great success. Part memoir and part rant, the book provides a comedic insight into the trials and tribulations of being a modern woman faced with the demands of age-old Greek traditions and how to survive growing up with and marrying into a Big, Not-so-fat, Greek family.
Make sure you head over to my MM Jaye’s friends write blog where you can read The Last Moussaka’s appetizing blurb as well as get a sneak peak of Ekaterina’s upcoming book.
Ekaterina, thank you for coming. I’ve got to say, your debut book sounds as rich and savoury as the Greek dish that inspired its title. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?
Thank you! Where to start?
I loved writing from a young age, as well as drama and dance but disappointed my father when I decided I wanted to play the violin instead of the bouzouki. Initially I decided to pursue a career as a criminal barrister and completed my Law Degree at University College London, while continuing to act in small time theatre productions and contributing articles for student magazines. I was then signed by an acting agency and was cast in various film and television roles while moonlighting as a PA in the legal field.
Did I mention the Greek bit? Good lord how could I miss that out?! Well, I’m half Greek (my father is from Igoumenitsa, Greece), but according to my Greek relations the other half doesn’t count, so I’m basically GREEK, although my Greek language skills are very poor (aside from knowing all the swear words).
A couple of years ago at the tender age of 25 (and despite all that I had learned about Greek life growing up), I did the one thing that my mother had always warned me not do. I married a Greek man; a Greek-Cypriot in fact. Scandalous.
I now live in Wimbledon with my Greek and Cypriot family and continue to dabble in showbiz while working full time in the finance sector, alongside my passion for writing. I write for British and Greek/European publications covering fashion, lifestyle and travel, as well as my blog www.ekaterinabotziou.com and I am the founder of the The Greek Wives Club; a place for all the wives / girlfriends / partners / friends of Greek men, to come together and share their experiences of life with a Spartan ape.
Even though I am 100% Greek and living in Greece, my life’s Greekness pales compared to yours! What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing various pieces for different media publications, including a couple of essays on feminist issues, as well as hoping to write and direct a comedy play. I’m also now developing my second book, which will continue with my Greek theme although it will be fiction and will involve a re-working of some of the old Greek myths and legends, with a unique twist.
Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?
As writing is not my full time job (although sometimes it feels like it is!) I can’t set myself a specific word count each day as I have other work priorities. I make ‘To Do’ lists every week so sometimes I’ll aim to write a page or two but I don’t force myself. I go with the flow.
Plotter, pantser or both?
I’d say a bit of both – I’m very much a planner in my daily life but sometimes, particularly when writing, the original plan goes awry and I get inspired by random sources.
What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?
Chocolate cake – I find it so distracting.
I second that! And thinking about having seconds from the one I made only today. Agh! Change of subject… Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?
Yes I think most writers get that from time to time. I’ll be on a roll one minute then stuck in a rut the next – it all depends on mood and circumstance and whether I feel my work is going in the right direction. Obviously if I’m writing a magazine or newspaper piece with a deadline I just have to get on with it – the best thing to do is just put pen to paper and write your heart out, then edit edit edit. When I’m writing for myself I can go at an easier pace – if I need some time, whether it be a day, a week or a month to become inspired again, I take it.
Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?
My usual work space is very boring, but when I travel I bring my work with me. The picture was taken on the balcony of my hotel room in Mykonos.
That’s the furthest from boring you could show us! 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?
My family provide me with all the tools I need! Greeks are a minefield of information!
You can say that again! How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?
With a large bottle of ouzo. Only joking, I can’t take more than a sip! A large piece of chocolate cake will do nicely though.
I’d go for the cake without even blinking. Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?
As a promotional tool, you can’t beat having your own blog – it’s a great way to network and meet like-minded people and share your work. I regularly re-blog, re-tweet and share stories on facebook from my fellow bloggers and they in turn do the same for me.
Is humourous fiction the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?
Funnily enough I used to love crime thrillers and always chose that genre when writing short stories. Yet one of my favourite books is “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole” by Sue Townsend, and my intention when I began writing my first book was to create an Adrian Mole style narrative. Perhaps sub-consciously that book has made more of an impact on me than I realised! My blog and current project also fit into the humorous genre, but combine both fact and fiction.
At the moment, humour seems to work for me so I would agree that for now my brand lies in comedy. However, the articles I write for other publications do not fall into the comedy genre and cover opinion pieces, fashion, lifestyle and travel. I like to explore a range of themes and issues, particularly those surrounding women, so maybe one day I’ll branch out. Never say never.
Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?
Facebook: Artist Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ekaterina-Botziou/195992653784893
Facebook Greek Wives Club:
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7337342.Ekaterina_Botziou
Thank you, Ekaterina, and best of luck with your next project! Can’t wait to learn the truth about mythology at last!