Author Interview- Karolina Simos

 

Author PhotoBeverly and Tamara: Welcome to SSLY. Thanks so much for joining us today. So first why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for having me! My name is Karolina, and I’ve recently published the final installment of a YA/NA fantasy e-trilogy I’ve written called “Ambrosia Chronicles”. I was born and raised in Greece, something that plays a large role in my story. I currently live in Munich, Germany, a place that I would describe as an actual fairy tale city (inclusive of castles and the like!). It’s the most canine-friendly place I’ve ever seen, which is a plus because I love dogs and they’re everywhere here. I work in film & TV production, I cringe and try to evade any lens pointed in my direction, and I LOVE to read and cook.

Tamara: What do you HAVE to have when you are writing?

Solitude. I get frustrated when I’m constantly interrupted and my stream of thought lost.
Also, lots of naughty treats. Each time I finish a particularly challenging section, I allow myself to indulge, so my “naughty cupboard” is always stocked with a supply of chocolate, cookies & crisps for those (many) occasions.

Beverly: When did you start to write and who influenced you?

I started to toy with the idea of writing while at film school. My screenwriting tutor told me my writing was too descriptive for a screenplay and suggested I try my hand at writing my story as a book instead. (At roughly the same time, there was a HUGE hype about a certain series of books for teens that were adapted to the screen. The first time I read the books had been a couple of years before this incident, after completing my dissertation for my postgrad – I had been starving for some YA fantasy and I relished the books at the time. Due to the hype caused by the movies, I decided to revisit the series of books and was appalled by how badly they were written. I decided that if a book like that succeeded in getting so much attention, then maybe I could try my hand at writing something that I felt would be better. This gave me the push to follow my screenwriting tutor’s suggestion.)

Tamara: What do you think are the qualities that make up a “hero”?

Someone who others can relate to, even if only a little, but it should be enough for you to be engaged with the story and curious about the outcome. My main character, Alex, is the hero of “Ambrosia Chronicles” and I’ve based the majority of her character on myself and my own behavior and reactions. I believe that makes her more realistic and hopefully complex enough to intrigue readers.

Beverly: Can you describe your favorite character? And which of your books is he/she in? How do you come up with your characters?

My favourite character is actually Emma, Alex’s best friend. She’s also in the entire trilogy, but her own arc is introduced more in Book 2, “The Initiation”. Despite their close friendship, Emma is as different from Alex as black is from white. She’s confident, knows what she wants and isn’t embarrassed to be direct or sometimes confrontational about it. Alex looks up to Emma’s confidence with the hopes that some day she won’t be as self-conscious as she currently is. While the two have such opposing outward behavior, inside they are very alike which is the reason for their close friendship.
I come up with my characters mostly through noteworthy interaction with people. The bond between Alex and Emma is largely based on my bond with one of my best friends – in school, people kept mentioning they couldn’t believe we were friends because we appeared so different from one another, and yet neither of us felt those differences to matter in the least.

Tamara: What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why?

Ooh… I’m not sure about this one. Definitely not sex – my series is YA/NA and so I don’t think it’s appropriate to write a scene that could belong in a bodice ripper book. That said, I allowed myself to read an adult fantasy book once while writing, out of sheer curiosity to see how much it differs from YA. After reading it, I sat down to continue writing. The next day as I read what I had written the previous night, I choked on my coffee – I’d written a sex scene without realizing! And it was pretty raunchy! Needless to say I slammed my fingers on the “Delete” button in outraged panic. It did give me a glimpse into the possibility of writing a different kind of book altogether one day.
I’d say the hardest scenes for me to write are action scenes – I visualize things so much that as I’m writing the scene it plays out in front of me like a film. I’m always left with the feeling that I didn’t quite capture things as intensely as I saw them in my imagination.

Beverly: What is your favorite scene in your favorite book?

I have a whole shelf of favourite books. But at the top is the “Night World” series by L. J. Smith. It’s not a favourite scene so much as a favourite story in the series: “Daughters of Darkness” where Ash meets Mary-Lynette. I love how the two characters collide, and how Ash learns about feelings he’s only ever scoffed at.

Tamara: What is your dream vacation?

Ooh – one that I indulge in as often as I can. Going to a Greek Island, relaxing on the beach with a nice cool drink, eating delicious food in the evening, and going on a night out after that. With the right company, nothing beats this vacation. I’ve even gone alone before with a book as a companion and that was super relaxing, though it is definitely more fun with a group of friends.

Beverly: What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done? Or would like to? What? We are all about the love! Fine! If you don’t like that question what was your worst date ever?

Hahahaha. It’s not that I dislike the question, it’s more my concern that my parents might read this. So I’ll answer the alternate: Even though it was one of the first dates of my life, it felt like such an abysmal failure to me that I still remember it vividly. I was seventeen. He was the older friend of one of my classmates, I think about 3 years older than me. He was physically fit and attractive, but not the brightest tool in the box… At seventeen though, I wasn’t really going to pay attention to his IQ when a hot guy asked me out. He took me to the movies to watch (wait for it) “Kill Bill”. I’m cringing with the memory of it. His choice in film aside, we sat in our seats relatively early and so I tried to strike up some conversation, get to know him better… He interrupted me with a complaint about a mud stain on his jeans which I couldn’t see despite him pointing at what looked like brand new pants to me, and then proceeded to tell about the motorcyclist who drove through a puddle, a fleck of which was the said (supposed!) stain. Ok… He continued to talk about the stain until the movie starting interrupted him… The movie seemed to comprise mostly of limbs flying around for about 1-1.5 hours… And as the end credits came on and we stood up to exit, what does he say straight off the bat? He continues where he’d left off after the film interrupted his 10th recounting of the stain incident… I feigned an immediate emergency, apologized as sincerely as I could, and ran all the way home.
From that moment on, intelligence and the ability to have a conversation were at the top of my list when dating.

Tamara: What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?
Someone in between I guess. I like damsel in distress situations, but not when the heroine needs saving because she’s weak and needs the powerful man to rescue her. I can’t relate to that because I’m not the type to wait around for my rescue. Part of me would want to be rescued, but then I’d be terrified of the power my rescuer would have over me afterwards. My favourite heroine is one who finds a way of rescuing herself even though she didn’t think she was the type to try or even succeed. Some kick-ass energy is needed, yes, but I’d like to find a balance between the two extremes. She’s stronger than she thinks.

Beverly: How many books have you published? What genres? What drew you to that genre?

I’ve published an e-trilogy called “Ambrosia Chronicles”, so 3 ebooks, all part of one series. It’s a YA/NA fantasy, with romance and action. The fantasy elements are mostly taken from Greek and Norse mythology. I admit I got a little fed up with Hollywood adapting all those amazing myths of Ancient Greece, and yet always getting so much wrong or just changing it because the studios want there to be a love story; it doesn’t matter that there wasn’t one… I thought I’d try my hand at creating a world influenced by tales I had heard about since my childhood.

Tamara: If you could spend the day with any person from history, real or fictional. Who would you choose and why?

Oooh… Part of me wants to say Aragorn from “The Lord of the Rings” so I could jump him, but we all know he’s pretty unbreakably to Arwen… So I’m picking Hermione Granger from the “Harry Potter” books. I bet as an adult she would be even brainier than as an adolescent and might be able to come up with a way for me to join her world as a fellow wizard. Now THAT would be awesome. I’d definitely try join Potter’s team as an Auror 😉

Beverly: What is your “guilty pleasure”?

Watching anime series, most commonly fantasy for teens. Can’t get enough.
Also, really rich delicious milk or white chocolate, or soft chocolate chip cookies with almonds or pistachios. I have no self control when it comes to an undeniably delicious dessert.

Tamara: What dream or goal have you yet to realize?

I’d say the dream/goal I have is to build a better life for myself, one where I’m completely independent, have time to write, read & cook, own my own apartment and have a dog, and work somewhere that I love. It’s a slow process, but I’m looking forward to all of it becoming my reality.

Beverly: What was your most embarrassing moment or the craziest thing you’ve done? C’mon dish!

I do embarrassing things all the time. Not so much crazy – that’s usually the result of other people meddling, but embarrassing moments are no strangers to me. Here’s one that happened a couple of weeks ago:
Lindt now do a pistachio nougat that I was offered a sample of at their shop. It practically melted in my mouth and I involuntarily made some rather inappropriate noises of pleasure… The shop-worker stared at me, as did the older gentleman customer. Mortified, I choked. I think if the guy had said, “I’ll have what she’s having,” that might have saved the situation, but no luck. I tried to pretend nothing happened and adopted a blasé attitude as the shop worker wrapped me a slab somewhat larger than the one I paid for. But both just sat there grinning knowingly at me in such a way that I thought my body heat at that moment might melt all the chocolate in that tempting shop. I ran out with my pistachio delight and since then I do not accept samples in public.

Tamara: What song are you?

I’m a different song depending on my mood. But if the Black Keys, Florence & the Machine and John Legend got together and wrote a song that tingles you no matter what mood you’re in, I’d be that song.

Beverly: How do you know you’re in love? Is it a physical reaction, an emotional reaction or both?

Both. It’s physical because your chest actually aches the way you’ve read about when you’re apart. By apart I don’t mean he’s just left you to go buy popcorn for the movie you’re about to watch. I mean you’re in different cities or countries. And it may sound cheesy, but you do feel like you’re suddenly whole when you’re reunited.
It’s emotional because you can show who you are 100% to your other half without the need for hiding behind make-up or protective walls. You can show your flaws and you’ll still be accepted. That kind of support and understanding is very powerful on an emotional level.

Tamara and Beverly: Okay. We are SSLY so I have to ask. Who loves you?

Not many people. Just a handful really, and that’s more than enough! I know they really love me and I really love them back. 

Now for some quick fun questions:
Boxers or briefs?
Boxers all the way.
Coffee or Tea?
Caramel Macchiato is a favourite, both hot & cold. I don’t make it at home because I’d drink it all the time! When I have a cold though my tea mug is practically glued to my hand.
Tall, dark and handsome or Blond and buff?
Which one promises not to talk about stains? Tall, dark and handsome sounds much more mysterious and interesting.
Hairy chest or smooth?
I’d like to say smooth, but I assume then he’d be shaving his chest and I’m not into that. Manly all the way please.

Bk1 cover small
Bk1 – “Ambrosia Chronicles: The Discovery”
When Alex is reunited with her high school crush, Ian, she discovers that he is part of a suspicious organisation that she herself becomes involved with. Suddenly entrusted with a heavily sought-after little pouch, she must go on the run. Alex must let go of the frustrations of ignorance at her new circumstances with the knowledge that the less she knows the safer she’ll be, while she relies on the protection of her arrogant and mysterious rescuer in order to reach the organisation’s headquarters in one piece.
 
Bk2 cover smallBk2 – “Ambrosia Chronicles: The Initiation”
Now that Alex is officially the Protector, she embarks on a road trip through Europe together with Ian. But will Ian ever be able to get past Alex’s assent up the Muse ladder? What will happen when the two of them run into mysterious Lucas again? And what role does Emma’s Sight have in all of this?
Join Alex and Emma as they start to untangle the web of secrets that revolve around Muse…
 
Bk3 cover smallBk3 – “Ambrosia Chronicles: The Curse”
The thrilling conclusion of the Ambrosia Chronicles trilogy. Alex and Emma prepare for the inevitable face-off with the Rogue Queen Regina, after uncovering some truly shocking secrets…
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