Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way. Now, before we carry on, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, just in case they don’t know you already …
Hello, my name is Kathryn Gauci, I was born in Leicestershire, England, and studied textile design at Loughborough College of Art and later at Kidderminster College of Art and Design where I specialised in carpet design and technology. After graduating, I spent a year in Vienna, Austria before moving to Greece where I worked as a carpet designer in Athens for six years. There followed another brief period in New Zealand before eventually settling in Melbourne, Australia. Before turning to writing full-time, I ran my own textile design studio in Melbourne for over fifteen years, work which I enjoyed tremendously as it allowed me the luxury of travelling worldwide, often taking me off the beaten track and exploring other cultures. The Embroiderer is my first novel; a culmination of those wonderful years of design and travel, and especially of those glorious years of my youth living and working in Greece. It was also picked up by a traditional publisher in Greece and has been translated into Greek. I have now released a second novel, Conspiracy of Lies which is set in France during WWII.
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
The Embroiderer is inspired by the events of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the burning of Smyrna 1922. It resulted in the population exchange between the Christians of Turkey being expelled, (except for Istanbul) mainly to Greece and the Muslims of Greece being expelled to Turkey, (except for Western Thrace). Over 1,500,000 refugees were affected and many more on both sides killed or disappeared. I worked with the older generation of these refugees and their descendants in Athens in 1972-78, and heard their stories. Travelling to Turkey also made me see that it was something that affected both sides deeply. The story tells of the rise of a Greek family and the good times in Turkey and what they lost and how they had to reinvent their lives again as refugees in Greece. It is told through embroidery and couture, which is my background, and also superstition. It is war and peace and based on actual events.
What does the award mean to you?
It means a lot to be recognised in the literary world when there are so many good novels. It makes it all worthwhile.
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them …
I have just published Conspiracy of Lies. This is a WWII part historical, part thriller and part romance, and is set in for the most part in France. The protagonist is recruited by the Special Operations Executive and sent back to France to work undercover with the Resistance. In doing this, she is involved in a love affair which she knows will ultimately end in tragedy, in order to retrieve vital information for the Allies.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that …
I am working on the first of a trilogy of novellas set in Greece and Turkey. The first is set in Piraeus in 1932 and is about a bouzouki player who falls in love with a singer and writes a song for her which will be their downfall.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Cooking, baking and gardening give me a daily dose of light relief. I would love to get back into more glass jewellery making again but no time. And of course I love to read and am a film addict.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
Nikos Kazantzakis, Louis de Bernieres, and D.H.Lawrence.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I love history, especially the 19th and 20th century era. I can really lose myself in those times.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
A difficult one. Maybe crime or spy thrillers.
Quick fire questions …
Twitter or Facebook?
Both but prefer Facebook.
Tea or coffee?
Marmite – yes or no?
Early riser or sleep in?
Pj’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing?
Normal clothes. I have to be dressed and smart – as if I was going out to work.
Planner or pantster?
Mainly a planner.
Book or kindle?
Preferably book but use both.
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no?
No (only occasionally)
And finally, … What is your favourite book of all time?
Birds Without Wings Louis de Berniers. (Difficult to pick though)
Thank you for joining me today and many congratulations again on your Chill with A Book Award!
Thank you for awarding me the honour.
Fancy a look at Kathryn’s book? Thought so, here’s the blurb …
Set against the mosques and minarets of Asia Minor and the ruins of ancient Athens, The Embroiderer is a gripping saga of love and loss, hope and despair, and of the extraordinary courage of women in the face of adversity.
1822: During one of the bloodiest massacres of The Greek War of Independence, a child is born to a woman of legendary beauty in the Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni on the Greek island of Chios. The subsequent decades of bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks simmer to a head when the Greek army invades Turkey in 1919. During this time, Dimitra Lamartine arrives in Smyrna and gains fame and fortune as an embroiderer to the elite of Ottoman society. However it is her granddaughter, Sophia, who takes the business to great heights only to see their world come crashing down with the outbreak of The Balkan Wars, 1912–13. In 1922, Sophia begins a new life in Athens but the memory of a dire prophecy once told to her grandmother about a girl with flaming red hair begins to haunt her with devastating consequences.
1972: Eleni Stephenson is called to the bedside of her dying aunt in Athens. In a story that rips her world apart, Eleni discovers the chilling truth behind her family’s dark past plunging her into the shadowy world of political intrigue, secret societies and espionage where families and friends are torn apart and where a belief in superstition simmers just below the surface.
You can keep up with Kathryn and all her news by following her at:
Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/KGauciAuthor/