I’m often asked in interviews; did you always know that you wanted to be a writer, or have you always written? The answer is, yes. I did always want to write and I’ve been writing in some capacity for a long time. When I was at school, I wrote lots of short stories and poems. My school report cards repeatedly talked about how creative I was and how I never lacked imagination (although most of my teachers thought I should actually pay more attention to my academic subjects and put the stories away!). Despite that, I can’t remember a lot of what I wrote at the time. Recently I reorganised my office. I was unpacking some old boxes from a house move a few years ago, and came across something I haven’t seen for about twenty years. The French Mystery by Christina Curtis.
I’d completely forgotten that around the age of Eleven/Twelve years old, I sat down and wrote my first “book” called the The French Mystery.
Finding it was funny for several reasons. I had handwritten it; 70 pages of A4. I’d also given it a title. Created a cover from cardboard, neatly drawn with felt tip pen, and even drawn pictures to go inside.
I read some of the story and it instantly came flooding back. The story is about myself and a handful of my school friends. It describes us going camping on an old Roman hill fort in the village we grew up in. Whilst camping we discover a group of French thieves are illegally digging on the historical site and hunting for artefacts. Imagine an archaeological version of the Famous Five if you will.
Having re-read The French Mystery over thirty years later, I’m surprised at the well thought out storyline. I realise now that after spending decades searching for my niche/genre, it had been there all along and I’d just forgotten about it. Historical suspense was my love, and the very first book I wrote as a child.
I eventually found my way back to my niche – historical suspense – and I’m still writing, and have now published eight works, a mix of books and short stories. It’s been so interesting finding The French Mystery buried at the bottom of a box and seeing where it all started; the place where my writing journey began. At such a young age too! I’m also glad that it survived over three decades of being carted around in boxes and being moved across the country. I’m so glad it was never thrown out.
It would have been a shame if I had lost it. Not only has finding The French Mystery reaffirmed that I’m doing what I was meant to do, but it was also fun reading all about my old village, the old Roman Hill fort and my old school friends. Dreams can stay with us a long time, sometimes decades, never give up! You never know what may happen in the future!
• Have you ever discovered something years later, that reaffirmed that you were on the right path in life?
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
When Among the Olive Groves was first published in 2014, I was so happy with everything to do with the book, including the cover, which was great. It’s been seen all over the world and is so recognisable.
Among the Olive Groves is now becoming book one of the Zakynthian Family series. A decision was made to refresh and rebrand the book with a new cover. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it is one that I’m glad has been made.
The new cover
The new Among the Olive Groves cover is very different from the old one. It has a bright, fresh, new look with colours that scream Zakynthos (Zante). It was decided that a unique look, with a connection to Zakynthos, was needed, so a talented artist who lives on Zakynthos, called Aimee Curry, was commissioned to paint the book image.
To say I was happy with her final painting was an understatement! The image she came up with was incredible, and it’s just perfect for the book. Aimee will now also be painting the book images for the next two books too.
Lawston Designs worked wonders on the final book cover, making Aimee's image really wonderful. I’m happy to reveal the new cover for Among the Olive Groves! I hope it will be loved by readers just as much as the old was, maybe even a bit more. I’m even more proud of this version of Among the Olive Groves than I was of the first one. It’s a perfect start to what will eventually be the Zakynthian Family Series.
Buy Among the Olive Groves
The new version of Among the Olive Groves is available to buy in both paperback and eBook, across multiple platforms.
You can also order from bookshops or libraries. The ISBN is:
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!