Recently, the wonderful and talented Chrissie Parker, a familiar face on my blogs, took a moment out of her busy schedule to share and answer a few questions about writing as well as her new release “Wind Across the Nile”.
I understand you have a new book, WIND ACROSS THE NILE, a historical suspense. Please tell us a bit about it?
Yes, as you say Wind Across the Nile is a historical suspense predominantly set in Egypt, as well as London and Scotland. The book centres on Cora, a young woman who tragically loses her entire family and has to learn to live with the aftermath. Whilst sorting out her family’s belongings she comes across some items she’s never seen before that takes her to Egypt where she learns about a family heritage she never knew existed. The readers will learn more about Egypt, its culture and incredible sites, as well as discovering a story that covers a family tragedy, its history and life on an archaeological excavation.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
The inspiration for the book is my love of Ancient Egyptian history. I’ve not only visited the country, but I’ve also completed two Egyptology courses with Exeter University. The concept for the story was devised from a number of things; my love of ancient Egypt, the history of the people who used to treasure hunt in the country in the 18/1900’s and continuing issues regarding thefts of archaeological artefacts. I merged them all together to come up with a story that focuses on Cora our main character and her experiences in the country and how it related to what she was going through.
Tell us a bit about your approach to writing a novel? What are the biggest challenges and what do you enjoy the most?
My approach to writing, that’s always a difficult question as I seem to treat each book a bit differently. With most of my historical books, there’s lots of research involved so I can’t just write the book in one go. I have to take research breaks, so it means that I have to plan the work a lot more than I do for my thrillers, which are normally straight writes.
I do really enjoy the research side of things though, and I’m always learning something new. The only downside to research is knowing when to stop, sometimes you can start researching something, and then discover something else in a document, that then leads you to something else, and before you know it the entire day has gone!
My biggest challenge is that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on my books as I have a part-time job, and also do a lot of volunteering, so I have to fit my writing in around it. When I do get to write though I can write anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 words a day, as long as there aren’t too many interruptions. When I work on my books, it’s either in my office or at a portable table in another room (for a change of scenery) or on a picnic table in the garden if it’s nice sunny weather. I will always have a pot of tea on the go, some chocolate to snack on, and often one of the cats asleep on my lap! For me, writing is a lot of fun, and even though I do plan my books, my characters have a tendency to take over sometimes and things end up happening in the story that I never expected! The hardest thing though is when you finally publish a book, all that work is over, and I have become to know my characters so well, it’s almost like they are real people so I feel like I’m saying goodbye to people I know and I’ll never see again. It’s one of the strangest feelings.
What are some of the biggest challenges you authors encounter in general?
There are many challenges authors face. I think the most common one is wanting to be successful and measuring that success. Writers write because they want to, because they love to entertain and they have a passion to do so, but many authors worry about not being good enough or think that because they aren’t making enough money (to live off) or haven’t received enough reviews they aren’t successful. It’s a huge challenge and one that can cause many authors concern and detract them from what they’re doing. I think success isn’t about money as such, it’s about your readership, interaction and engagement with readers as well as sales. It’s also about achievements connected with your writing. One of my biggest is learning that one of my books is a textbook in Greece for TIE International ESOL exams, which is incredible! I’m lucky that I have some amazing and loyally supportive readers, who want to know what’s coming next and stand by me rooting for both the current and next books. That to me is success.
Whilst it would be great to be able to earn enough money to write full time (and not have another job), I’m so happy with how my writing journey is going and I’m grateful for all the support I have.
What message do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading this book?
I hope to be able to show readers what an incredibly interesting place Egypt is and inspire them to visit and see the sights for themselves. I also hope to be able to highlight the difficult past and present that Egypt’s had in regards to its culture and theft of artefacts for monetary gain. Sadly, black market artefact theft is an ongoing problem across the world and it’s sad when ancient items are looted and sold off for financial gain, instead of ending up in a museum for everyone to see and learn from. Protecting heritage is so important.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I have a lot coming up in the future. I’m currently co-writing a factual history book about the Greek island of Zakynthos, called Zakynthos Flower of the East, with a writer colleague of mine, Louise. We’re doing a lot of research, which is great fun and hope to release it in 2019. I’ve also recently announced that there will be a follow-up to Among the Olive Groves, this was a request by many readers as they wanted to know more about the character of Athena. So, I’ve started my research and I’ve written about 17,000 words so far, I hope to finish it by next summer (unfortunately it’s going to require a lot of research!), and then it can go to my editor.
I’m also in the process of finishing a thriller Retribution, it’s the third and last book in the Moon series. There are also a number of other books planned, so I have plenty to keep me occupied!
I have a big presence online and can be found on my website http://www.chrissieparker.com as well as all the usual places on social media. My fan base is on Chrissie Parker Book Group on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/chrissieparkersbookgroup/, and that’s where I make most of my announcements before rolling them out across other streams.
Thank you for hosting me today Belinda.
My pleasure Chrissie, thanks for sharing with us!
Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published six books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Wind Across the Nile is her sixth book.
Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post and The Artist Unleashed. Chrissie also writes regularly for the Zakynthos Informer. Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.
In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won a historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.
Social Media links
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ChrissieParkerAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Chrissie_author
Blog – https://chrissieparkerauthor.wordpress.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/chrissieparkerauthor
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChrissieAuthor/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27035030-chrissie-parker
Previous mentions and visits from Author, Chrissie Parker: https://bit.ly/2BpMnX5