Hello and welcome to this week’s blog which is kinda special as it is an interview hosted by Rom-Com author Anne John-Ligali in celebration of my newly released quick-read short story Unlocked on 3rd December 2019.
What Anne said:
Today I am beyond delighted to show you the new cover for my friend Soulla Christodoulou’s short story. I have been anticipating this release as I knew she would bring India to life through her words. It’s definitely one to read as you won’t be disappointed. Thank you Soulla for once more being a guest on my blog today and for answering these questions.
So thanks for joining us and I hope you enjoy the interview!
What is the story about?
My short story, Unlocked, is about Helen, a woman, who shuts herself away after her life falls apart on discovering her husband’s infidelity. She struggles with reality and locks herself away until one day, just by chance, she is inspired to move forward, through the words of Rumi. The story unfolds after this point in India, where she discovers a new-found spirit, self-love and trust.
What inspired the idea behind Unlocked and why did you set the story in India?
The answer to both these questions is my trip to India in February 2018. The country’s colours, sights and sounds awakened deep feelings of belonging while I was there which not only surprised me but also brought me comfort and joy. For me, it was a country of possibilities, of something new, something exciting.
A few months after my trip I entered a short story competition with Spread The Word and Unlocked was in the top 14% of entries marked for a second read by the judges. For me, it was too good a story to leave sitting on my laptop and, after reworking it, decided to release it as an e-book on Amazon and as a miniature paperback. I commissioned the book cover design with Drop Dead designs and I commissioned Falcon Oast Graphic Design to typeset, format and print the little books for me – perfect stocking filler size and just in time for Christmas!
What did you enjoy most about writing Unlocked?
For me, the most wonderful thing about writing this story was how it took me back to my trip there. I browsed the hundreds of photos I took while on my trip, I read through countless journal entries I’d made while there and my mind’s eye seemed to push my fingertips across the keyboard effortlessly. In some ways, I think I wrote the story in a kind of trance; it had been in me all along, waiting to come out at the right time.
What fascinated you most about your visit to India?
The trip to India was different to any other trip I had ever taken before. I’ve done my fair bit of travelling over the years including Canada, the US, Thailand and many countries across Europe including Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. India was on a different level to any country I’d been to before. Part of that may have been because of where I am in my life now and where my life’s journey has taken me, the experiences I’ve had and the opportunities I have been able to take and to direct my life in a way I want.
If you could choose 3 other destinations to write stories what other locations would you choose and why?
Well, I visited Paris this year and I fell in love with it all over again so perhaps a story set in Paris because of the beautiful architecture, the street names, the meandering Seine and the romance of the city which no one can deny. It screams sweet romance to me, maybe a YA novel.
Secondly, I’d write a story set in Athens, again a city I visited this year. It’s a city of contrasts; modern architecture and the ancient ruins, poverty and multi-millionaires, forward-thinking youths and the old artisans, the modern libraries and the traditional art galleries. Maybe a story of contrasts, of pulling and pushing, between the youth of today and the older traditional generation.
And finally, I would choose the island of Crete. I have visited so many times, as a child with my family, as a teenager with my sisters and friends, and as an adult with my own children and every single time I fall in love with the people and their warm hospitality and the rich history of the island and for that reason I think I would write a family saga written against the backdrop of the island’s rich history.
What is your favourite Indian food and what did you eat most while in India?
Well, the Indian food across India was markedly different to what we are used to eating at an Indian restaurant here in the UK. While travelling, my partner and I went Vegan for the most part and so ate many fresh vegetable dishes and breads. One of my favourite meals was at an Indian wedding we were invited to while in Khajuraho where the men of the wedding party cooked pakora in huge vats of oil on a an open fire by the side of the hotel. We ate the crispy vegetable fritters with our hands, tossing them from one hand to the next to avoid our fingers burning, and they were heaven on our tongues. We ate cauliflower, peppers, onion and aubergine all coated in the lightest, fluffiest chickpea flour batter.
What four words would best describe your story to someone who has never read it?
Huge thanks to Anne for the interview and the cover reveal for Unlocked and if you haven’t
downloaded it yet, then you can do so here; it’s the perfect quick-read, short story to fill a leisurely,
luxurious half hour curled up by the fire or snuggled under the duvet over Christmas.
Anne’s books which are fun and full of joyous mischief, book cover reveals and a wonderful depth and understanding of life can also be found here. So I guess that’s your holiday reads sorted. Enjoy!
Lots of love and Christmas kisses, Soulla xxx