Followers of my site will know I also wear a different hat: that of an author of fiction. In May 2015 I released my debut novel Girl Gone Greek on Amazon. I self-published it through Createspace (for the print version) and Kindle Direct Publishing for the Kindle version. I wrote a post here about the process of getting it written, but I wanted to share with you my experiences of the launch of Girl Gone Greek.
The Athens Centre – a beautiful place in Central Athens that offers Greek language classes to visitors, offered up their lecture space for a presentation, book reading and wine and nibbles in the courtyard. How could I refuse? And Xpat Athens, the leading resource for expat information in Athens offered to promote the event and sponsor it, along with Livin’Lovin’ in Greece. With so much support, how could I turn them down? That didn’t mean that I didn’t feel nervous though! For weeks beforehand, I was going through my book and asking my friends’ advice:
What bit of my book would you like to hear read at a launch?
We’d had a lot of rain the preceding few days. As food would be served in the courtyard afterwards, I was concerned it would rain on the night. I also had the dream several times that I’d be left standing in an empty room, ie: no-one would turn up. That mixed with the dream of standing naked in front of a crowd all added to my nerves!
The Introductions were given by the Director of the Athens Centre and then the Managing Director of Xpat Athens. They were both positive and upbeat, praising people who are able to sit in front of a computer and put their thoughts into words for all to enjoy, and praise for the book itself – that it helps promote Greece in a positive light. This helped my fears ebb away. And then it was my turn.
The audience was a mixture of Greeks and expats (many of whom are friends of mine – which really helped to see supportive faces in the crowd) and also students of the Athens Centre, from the U.S.
As I stood up in front of the crowd, I felt my fears disappear completely (oddly enough). I wanted them to hear about my Greece, my experiences of the hospitality and beauty, not what is so often portrayed by international media these days. And so I spoke from my heart. I abandoned most of my notes and just told people as it is: Girl Gone Greek is a story loosely based on my experiences living in a village and teaching English when I first came to Greece. The characters I met, the eccentricities I fell in love with, the frustrations of the bureaucracy.
Greece is a dichotomy
I told my audience.
You love and hate her in equal measures. She sucks you in – in a good way.
Afterwards we had a book signing and then mingled over the food and wine.
NOTE: If you ever find yourself doing an event with food, ask someone to put a plate aside for you. You’ll be so busy chatting to people, by the time you get to the food and wine, it’s gone!
Here, in pictures, you can see how the event went, and also a video of the event:
Buy your copy of Girl Gone Greek on Amazon:
Photos © Isabella Stavroula Frangouli
Program & Media Coordinator
Assistant Director of The Athens Centre