I’d like to introduce my first guest author – Loretta Proctor. I’ve recently finished reading Dying Phoenix and look forward to reading The Long Shadow. Learning about Loretta’s dual cultural heritage led me to think about the story behind the story; I wondered to what extent Loretta’s background had inspired her to write the books.
Hi, Loretta and welcome to my blog. Can you tell us a little about your background and how it has influenced your writing?
Hi, Maria. Thank you for inviting me. Some time way back in the 1970’s, I began to write a story called ‘In Search of Roots’ – not exactly a title for a best seller; it sounded more like a gardening book! But it was a time when I was trying to get to grips with my inner dichotomy. My heritage is half Greek, through my mother who was born in what was then Constantinople, Turkey. Many Greeks still lived there in the 1920’s, but she and her mother eventually moved to Athens. Mum was doing well as a young actress and singer when she met my English father who arrived with the British Forces in 1941. They escaped from Greece together when the Nazis invaded and I eventually turned up in Cairo, Egypt. Interesting beginnings!
Yes, very much! I can see why you were in search of your roots and identity.
My roots and identity puzzled me for a long time and I began to write the book which many years later became The Long Shadow, followed by Dying Phoenix.
Can you tell us a little about The Long Shadow and Dying Phoenix, and the research you carried out?
Both books are set mainly in Greece, but also in England. The dual heritage gives a unique and special insight into both nations and a sense of detachment that means one can see the good and bad sides.
The Long Shadow begins during the First World War and follows the fortunes of both the Greeks, who were in a turmoil of their own, and the Allied Campaign sent there to help defend the country from the invading Bulgarians and other enemy powers. While I was researching this fascinating and little known period of history, I became absorbed by the Salonika Campaign sent over from Britain. They never gained the recognition of the forces that fought on the Western front and yet their suffering and bravery was just as great.
On the whole, this story is about a young man, half Greek, half English who takes his own Odyssey to find his Greek roots. Writing about Andrew Cassimatis laid my own complexities to rest. I, like him, am now ‘at home’ with my dualities.
Dying Phoenix follows on with some important characters from the first book and begins in 1966 just before the Colonels, a group of right wing soldiers, seized power in an amazing and bloodless coup. However, their regime of seven years was a very painful and unhappy one for many. We trace the lives of different characters and watch our protagonists struggle to find love and harmony amidst the conflicts and terror that ensued. The journey to Greece where I interviewed many people and thus gained insights into all walks of life and ideologies was fascinating.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the books?
The Long Shadow is currently being translated into Greek and will be published in November by Oceanida.gr
I hope you will find these stories give some interesting insights for those interested in Greece and its history, but who also enjoy a dramatic love story.
Thank you, Loretta, for being a guest on my blog. Please leave a list of your websites and links to your books?
Thank you, Maria, for inviting me and asking me to tell your readers a little about myself and my books. These are my links: