I am pleased to welcome another fabulous author to my site today. Please help me celebrate and support Author Soulla Christodoulou, as she shares some inspiring and beautiful thoughts.
Tell me something about yourself and how you started writing?
My life’s experiences have been broad and varied! I have worked in the marketing sector of the hotel industry, run my own giftware business, had a career in teaching spanning ten years and had a short stint in marketing for a British fashion brand. I am now where I was always meant to be, writing and offering private tuition in English Language, as well as Children’s Creative Writing Classes.
My writing began seriously when I joined a Creative Writing Class in January 2015. I say seriously because up until this point although I wrote the odd story or story idea down I never took my writing to the next level in terms of developing my style. The classes gave me the confidence and the tools to build my writing, ignite the passion I have always had for language and storytelling and to bring it to a level where I felt I had something to say that others wanted to hear which resonates with the quote by Maya Angelou, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’.
What’s your writing habit? How often do you write?
When I am in the throes of ‘writing’ I write every day, even weekends, for six or even eight hours a day. I immerse myself totally and utterly in the story, its characters and the next chapter. I sleep, eat and live the story. I become obsessed with it and nothing gets in my way. I am a highly organised person, with schedules and a determined, resilient work ethic. When I am writing I am focused, driven and blinkered…my whole focus is on what I am writing. I count my words, I count my chapters and I count my blessings!
How do you find writing as a self-published author?
I’ve really enjoyed publishing my books and have learnt a lot along the way not only about the process but about me as a person. I’m certainly a lot more tenacious and patient than I have always given myself credit for. I have published on KDP/Amazon and so far it’s been going well…probably better than I expected.
How many books you have written so far and which one is of your favorite, if any?
I have written two novels and a collection of poetry. The first novel is Broken Pieces of Tomorrow and the poetry collection is called Sunshine after Rain. My second novel is due to be released on Amazon in March 2018.
I suppose Broken Pieces of Tomorrow will always hold something special for me as it is a semi-biographical novel based around personal incidences. Writing the book was therapeutic and brought me to a place of accepting and completely owning everything that has happened to bring me to where I am today.
My second novel The Summer Will Come is a novel I felt compelled to write but for different reasons and so again is a favourite because of this. It is a book set in the historical landscape of 1950s Cyprus and is loosely based around my own parents’ families’ experiences of moving to London in the late 1950s to start a new life.
What made you decide to write poetry?
I decided to write poetry as a way of giving myself breathing space and thinking space between editing Broken Pieces of Tomorrow and writing The Summer Will Come. Writing poetry gives me an almost immediate result in that I can see a whole poem in front of me within an hour or so. There’s something quite satisfying about writing something which you can read in its entirety after such a short space of time and writing poetry allows me to do this. It provides me with the opportunity to use a different level of creativity and helps me to use words and phrases in a totally new way. I love the challenge too of bringing in both rhythm and rhyme to my writing through the poems I write.
What other writing do you do?
I hand write and send 4 letters every month which I have been doing for almost 18 months now to a charity called Girls Love Mail. I think it was after my second or third month batch that I received the news from Gina Mulligan, founder of the charity, that one of my letters had been selected for inclusion in a book called Dear Friend, which is available for pre-order. I was absolutely delighted and it came as a total surprise as I had no idea of the charity’s plan to publish a book. I am deeply humbled that my words give women love, hope and encouragement in what must be for many their darkest hour.
Dear Friend is a collection of the many handwritten letters received by the charity. It is made up of photographic images of the actual letters and so it makes it authentic and real and very touching to see the handwriting of so many impacting positively on the hearts and lives of these women.
What do you want to achieve through your writing?
Most of all I want to achieve a sense of personal actualisation. I want to feel free from all my thoughts and ideas and I want to be stronger for writing them down. Don’t get me wrong, I have been very fortunate to have had a wonderful upbringing and life, and compared to many other people, it has been a blessed one.
I am a deep thinker, an analyser, a person who looks beyond the words and actions of the people around me…I want to get in deeper and this is what makes writing for me a continuous challenge and a source of fascination. I ask myself, where can I go with this? How far can I push it? I write from my heart and write to connect with people through every day experiences made different because of our own reactions, beliefs and pre-conceived ideas. I write about love and sadness, betrayal and loyalty, relationships, sex and marriage and divorce, friendships and work, thoughts unsaid and actions taken.
What were your favourite books as a child?
While still at school I remember reading Cinderella as a Ladybird book and wanting to be Cinderella in that beautiful dress, dancing with a prince and thinking how magical life is with a happy ending. Later I enjoyed The Secret Garden which was given to me as a leather bound book by my God-sister when I was thirteen years old. I still have the book in my book collection.
Can you tell me a little about your new book – Broken Pieces of Tomorrow, and the challenges of writing it?
Broken Pieces of Tomorrow is a fictional story with semi-biographical elements based around my own experience of marriage break-up and the new path I had to carve out for myself as I created a new life for me and my three young boys. It was at times painful to write and I would sit in front of the laptop with tears streaming down my face; not a pretty sight!
However, in a strange way, I needed to write the book. It allowed me to look at things, albeit many years after the end of my ‘Happy Ever After’ with a calmer, stronger heart and allowed closure on so many different levels. I am happy with the lessons the experience has taught me, not only about myself, but people and relationships and the strength of the human spirit. Going through it all and then writing the book was truly cathartic and I am grateful for that.
Do you find marketing hard?
I don’t find marketing hard, in fact, I enjoy this part, but what I do find increasingly difficult is juggling the writing aspect of being a writer with that time I must spend on promotion too without neglecting my writing. Marketing is a difficult aspect to get write, on the one hand you don’t want to be shouting ‘buy my book’ and ‘my book is the best’ but at the same time all I want is people to do just that and to read my words. One reader recently said, ‘It’s really motivating to know about your journey.’ which made me feel so happy…if my book can do that then the marketing is working!
I enjoy talking about my book face-to-face and have a couple of events planned to share my writing life with others in the hope that they will not only be inspired to take up writing but, of course, to read the book too. Reading excerpts from my book, talking to people and supporting local events is the marketing I enjoy the most and where my true strengths lie.
Is there anything that you would like to offer to the new authors?
Above all else I would say learn as much as you can from others who have written and published their books before you. Everyone’s journey will be a different one and it’s important to take what you can to make your own dream come true. The writing community, especially across Social Media platforms, is incredibly supportive, nurturing and full of the most wonderfully friendly people you will come across. Ask questions, share news, support others in whatever way you can and this will bring you great pleasure and the success you deserve. Writing is a long process and you will need patience, be able to accept criticism and realise that you will not make a huge income overnight. Write because you have to and for no other reason.
And finally, a random question…What is your best colour?
I would say it depends what I’m using the colour for? In terms of decorating my home I like colour and the different atmosphere and feel colour can bring to a room. I don’t go for plain cream walls and tend to have walls in accent colours and Laura Ashley wallpaper in florals and nature. In my clothes, I tend to wear Navy, grey and brown as my staple colours and accentuate depending on my mood and the season with blush pinks, creams, golds, denim blues and purples.
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview and have been inspired by my words and my experience of writing. I look forward very much to connecting with you through my social media links below.
And thank you Marlena for having me! I’ve had a lot of fun taking part and wish you all the best on your own writing journey.
With much love,
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Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents, Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.
Soulla is a Women’s Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education and is a mother of three boys.
She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes.
Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters will be featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’ out in September 2017.
When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!
She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and is releasing her second novel, The Summer Will Come in March 2018.
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I hope you enjoyed today’s guest post as much as I did! Please help me in continuing to support Soulla with likes, shares, and comments.
Until next time……………… Stay Creative!!!