I grew up in Bristol, in the UK. It was where I spent my childhood and first started work. Lots of our family holidays were spent in Cornwall. We stayed in many seaside towns and I remember those times fondly and have some incredible memories. Cornwall is beautiful and filled with large sweeping beaches, turquoise waters, and thriving attractions. There are so many exciting places for visitors to explore, such as the Eden Project, Jamaica Inn, or the fantastic Minack theatre.
Travelling became a big part of my life once I had left school and started working. I backpacked through Europe to Germany. I spent time in the USA and Canada and I visited the Middle East and Egypt. One of my favourite trips was in 2005 to a small Greek Island called Zakynthos, a part of the string of Ionian Islands to the west of the Greek mainland, for a friend’s wedding and to visit family. Zakynthos was my first visit to Greece, and it exposed me to a country that I instantly fell in love with and still love very much.
Like Cornwall, Zakynthos also has beautiful sweeping beaches and is blessed with turquoise sea, sometimes so bright that it looks unnatural. There are lots of things to see and do so visitors are never bored, such as the famous shipwreck, a Venetian castle, and a multitude of churches and monasteries.
When I wrote Among the Olive Groves, I knew the book would be set in Zakynthos, as the inspiration for the story came to me during my visit there. When I finally worked out the story would be set across two time periods, I needed to find another location that complemented Zakynthos. After a lot of thought, I just knew that place had to be Cornwall, and I chose Newquay on the north Cornwall coast as the final setting. Zakynthos is full of Greek charm and hospitality. It’s hot and sunny. The scenery is stunning. There’s so much to see and do.
Among the Olive Groves inspired the short story, An Ionian Dream Wedding, where the fans of the original books can discover more about the two characters Kate and Fletch and what happens to them after the book ends. Among the Olive Groves is also responsible for another two books that are currently being written. Readers of the original book messaged me all wanting to know the same things “What happened to Athena?”
I finally decided to write a follow-up book about Athena and her life. The story I planned has grown so much, that I’m now splitting it into two books. So, this will become a three-book series called the Zakynthian Family Series, with Among the Olive Groves being book one, A Night of Thunder being book two, and Hope under blue Skies being book three.
It's been great fun revisiting old characters as well as creating new ones, and seeing where they take me this time. It's also been great exploring locations new and old, I love the research involved. I'm really enjoying the journey so far and I’m looking forward to this challenge and it's something I never expected to do, ut so pleased that I did!
This is the final blog in this series. Thanks for reading!
Chrissie Parker is an English author of 8 published works, including novels, shorts stories and poetry.
To learn more, explore her website and learn more about her love of writing, the inspiration for her books and the country's she's visited on her travels! https://www.chrissieparker.com
The Zakynthian Family Series
Since Among the Olive Groves was published I have been asked by many readers, "What happened to the character Athena from Among the Olive Groves? I want to know more about her life."
The last readers saw of Athena was her leaving the island in a boat. Many readers wanted to know more about her life and why she gave Kate up for adoption.
After a lot of thought I agreed to write a follow up, to explain more about her life, which is now being written and called A Night of Thunder. I planned the whole book out and hoped to write approximately 80,000 words. The almost finished first draft is now at 75,000 words.
Unfortunately, I've not only been unwell, which has slowed progress, but the story has turned out to be much larger than I ever intended! So, because of this, there will now be a third and final book in what will now be known as The Zakynthian Family Series.
Book 1 of the Zakynthian Family Series ~ Among the Olive Groves
Book 2 of the Zakynthian Family Series ~ A Night of Thunder
Book 3 of the Zakynthian Family Series ~ Hope Under Blue Skies
We hope that Book 2, A Night of Thunder will be out sometime between October 2021 and Spring 2022, and Book 3, Hope Under Blue Skies sometime between Spring and Autumn 2022.
To follow the progress of the books, you can follow me on my Facebook page or join the Among the Olive Groves group dedicated to the book.
Thanks for your continued support, it means so much.
A Night of Thunder
A Night of Thunder Book Description
After escaping the clutches of the Germans on the Greek island of Zakynthos during World War Two, Richard Edwards finds himself adrift at sea looking after the daughter of a resistance fighter who saved his life. Unexpectedly landing in enemy territory Richard has to deal with threats at every turn as he tries to flee the enemy, protect a child that isn’t his own, and return home to England.
In the dusty bombed ruins of the city of Bristol, in England, Alice Morgan tries her best to carry on with her life as World War Two continues to ravage the country. Not knowing if her fiancé is alive or dead, Alice does what she can to get through each day and survive living a life that she did not choose, nor want and that she isn’t proud of.
The loss of Elena Petrakis, the mother of his missing daughter Athena, haunts Angelos Sarkis daily. His will to survive diminishes as the months pass. Only the love for his remaining daughter Sophia keeps him alive, when all else has been lost.
From the chaos of war torn Bristol and Zakynthos, to the horrors of the Greek mainland plunged into Civil War, A Night of Thunder is a haunting story of finding faith, having trust and living with the fragility of humanity.
Genre: Historical Fiction/triple timeline
Locations: Bristol UK, Mainland Greece, Zakynthos
Follow-up to Among the Olive Groves, book 2 in a 3 book series
Hope Under Blue Skies
Hope Under Blue Skies Book Description
The book description hasn't been confirmed for this book yet, but I can tell you that it follows Athena's life and the story takes readers through lots of great destination in Europe, including Athens, Crete and Zakynthos. We will also meet some old characters from Among the Old Groves as well as some new ones!
Genre: Historical Fiction/dual timeline
Locations: Bristol UK, Europe, Zakynthos
Follow-up to Among the Olive Groves/A Night of Thunder, book 3 in a 3 book series
Welcome to my blog, My occasional ramblings will take you on a journey through many subjects, from my books, to history, as well as what it's like to be a writer and my love of travelling! Enjoy the updates!