Hopefully everyone has caught up on the news that after hundreds of reader requests I’ve now agreed to write a follow up to Among the Olive Groves. The book will pick up where Athena left the island in the boat with Richard and we will learn all about her life. The book is called A Night of Thunder and will feature some old characters from Among the Olive Groves as well as new ones!
When and where is the book set?
The book starts in WW2 where Among the Olive Groves left off and spans a number of decades right up to the 1980’s. The book is set in a number of different locations including Zakynthos, mainland Greece, a few other Greek islands and Bristol, UK.
Meet the Characters!
Daughter of Elena and Angelos, rescued by Richard.
Zakynthos resident who lived through WW2. Father of Athena.
British airman, crash landed on Zakynthos in WW2. Is given baby Athena to look after.
Fiancée of Richard. Lives in Bristol UK. Works for the war effort in a factory.
Police Constable. Lives in Bristol UK. Friend of Alice’s.
Lives in mainland Greece. Is in the resistance. Becomes an ally of Richard and Athena.
More about the book
The first draft of the book is just over halfway completed, there’s still some research to do so the rest can be written, but so far I’ve visited a number of museums relating to WW2, as well as an old UK airbase that operated during the war. I’ve also been doing lots of reading of history books and watched quite a lot of old war/propaganda videos to get an insight into how things worked, and happened. It’s going really well, I’m enjoying writing about new characters and it’s great discovering what Athena got up to and how life treated her. I’ve been greatly surprised so far! The book description explains a little more and gives readers an idea of the story thats to come!
A Night of Thunder book description
War still rages on the Greek island of Zakynthos and a young, heroic mother is dead. Stranded British airman Richard Hobbs is forced to try and find his way home to Bristol with help from the Greek resistance, but lans go awry and Richard ends up all but abandoned on the Greek mainland, his only companion is three year old Athena Petrakis who he pledged to protect. In Bristol bombs rain down on the city changing its landscape making life difficult and chaotic. Alice Cook anxiously waits for news of her fiancé who’s missing in action. Forced to put her life on hold she occupies her time working for the war effort as air raids continuously disrupt daily life causing chaos to everyone around her. When World War Two finally ends life slowly returns to normal but the conflict has altered everything. Relationships have become strained and fragile and promises that were made at the height of war cannot be broken. From the beautiful landscape of Greece to the damaged homes and streets of Bristol, A Night of Thunder is a story of devotion, hardship and compromise.
There will be more news on a publication date very soon, until then I’m heading back to the keyboard to add a few thousand more words. Thanks for the continued support and wish me luck!
I’m lucky to have so much support as a writer. My readers are amazing and I appreciate every single one of them. My family and friends are wonderful too and always have my back, they understand how much I love writing, and I’m so grateful for their support. One regret I do have, is that the one person I wish could see and support me in all I do, is now no longer here.
My Aunt Gerry was an incredible woman. She had a heart of gold, was funny and worked as a model. I was in complete awe of her as a child. Gerry taught me to cook pasta with tomato sauce (and helped me cover up stains on a plush white carpet, after I spilt it, so that her boyfriend Pete didn’t see them). She snuck me into the cinema to watch films that weren’t of my age limit, meaning that she and Pete would have to sit with their hands over my ears or eyes dependant on what was happening on screen. She even bought me tortoise for my birthday once! She was so much fun, and I loved spending time with her, she was glamorous and lead an incredible life.
But then suddenly one day, she was gone.
I was only eleven years old when Gerry died. She was only twenty-seven years old. The loss was a huge shock, and completely unexepected and quite honestly I didn’t believe she was actually gone. Being so young I was unable to go to the funeral, so for many years I didn’t really understand what had happened. I thought she’d just gone away on one of her trips and hadn’t been able to contact us. I truly thought that she'd walk back though the door one day and everything would be the same as it always was, but it never happened. Gerry never came home.
The loss of my Aunt was the most traumatic event of my life and it affected me deeply. It took decades for me to finally come to terms with what had happened, but even today, it’s a loss that’s still hard to bear, and one that I’ll never quite get over.
I wish Gerry was still here. I miss her greatly., sometimes so much that it hurts and I still can't believe she's no longer here.
I wish she was here though so that I could show her what I’ve achieved, to show her that I did believe in myself, and to show her that I’ve stayed true to myself and done what I wanted to do; write my stories. But sadly, Gerry isn’t here, she’s a mere memory, and I’ll never be able to make her proud, or show her how hard I worked to make it happen. For me, this is the hardest thing about writing. To know that I can’t ever share my joy, hard work and success with her, and I wish I could. I know she would have loved every minute of my writing journey, and would have been so very proud of me and all that I’ve achieved.
I’m also grateful that I do have wonderful memories of my time with Gerry, and I treasure them. Despite her no longer being here with us, I’d like to think that she’s somehow looking down on me from wherever she may now be, giving me a big thumbs up, and pushing me to carry on, and because of that I keep writing and will always continue to do so.
In memory of Geraldine Betts, Aug 1957 to February 1985.
Gone but never forgotten.
January is now fully upon us, the Christmas tree, decorations and tinsel have been packed away for another year, a new year has been welcomed in and ahead of us is another twelve months full of exciting possibilities. We have another spring and summer to look forward to, when the world brightens with flowers, green grass and blue skies. When the sun shines and life starts anew and days lengthen. I do love winter and all it brings, there's still so much to see and do, but I’m also every excited about the year ahead.
I’m excited about all the work I have before me, and the projects I’m currently involved in. If all goes according to plan, I hope to release at least one more short story and another full length novel, A Night of Thunder which is the follow up to Among the Olive Groves, in 2020. I'm really enjoying writing the book and looking forward to releasing it.
I'm also working hard with my co-author Louise on our history book Zakynthos Flower of the East. The book is all about the Greek island of Zakynthos and it's been a lot of fun to write and we've really enjoyed the research process too. If you want to know more about the book then you can find more information on our Facebook Group.
I hope you enjoy January, it can be a hard month to get through after all the fun and festivities of December, but spring isn't far away. Have a great year, I hope that 2020 makes all your wishes and dreams come true!
Yesterday I joined Bobby Gee on Zakynthos' English speaking radio station, Island FM to talk about an exciting announcement relating to my books. For this who missed it, click the link below where you can hear more about Among the Olive Groves, my follow-up book A Night of Thunder which I'm currently writing, and the exciting announcement itself!
To hear the interview, click 'Listen now!' below, which will take you to my soundcloud account and press play!
***Spoilers ahead for those who may not have read Among the Olive Groves yet!***
Late last year, after many requests from readers, I made the decision to write a follow-up to Among the Olive Groves.
When I originally wrote Among the Olive Groves it was never meant to be part of a series, but so many readers desperately want to know what happened to the character Athena that I made the decision to write her story and show readers what actually happened to her after she left Zakynthos as a young child.
So, I’m now researching and writing the highly anticipated follow-up to Among the Olive Groves which will be called A Night of Thunder. The book is already planned and I've written about 20,000 so far, but there’s still a lot of research and writing to do.
A Night of Thunder will be set in a number of different locations including Bristol (UK), the island of Zakynthos and mainland Greece. Readers will not only learn more about Athena, but also the brave British Airman Richard, as well as some exciting new characters. Angelos Sarkis will also feature as his story isn’t yet finished and there's lots more that he has to say.
Readers will join the story of A Night of Thunder from the moment that the British Airman Richard leaves Zakynthos with Athena, escaping from the Germans. Readers will travel through Athena’s life, learning where she went, who she met and what she did. This will include the remainder of World War two, the Greek Civil war and then life post wars.
I’m really enjoying writing this book and the research it involves, and it’s nice to revisit some of my favourite characters. The publication date has not yet been set, but more news will be added to my Facebook group Among the Olive Groves - Book one of the Zakynthian Family Series when I have it.