Welcome! I am so honored to have Urania Sarri as a guest on my blog today. First let me tell you a little about her novel.
Author: Urania Sarri
Published: May 13th, 2013
Word Count: approx. 66,800 words
Genre: Paranormal, Time-Travel, Romance
Content Warning: Subtle Sensuality
~ Synopsis ~
The war between the present and the future has started. Compelled to cooperate with the forces of the future in order to gain Christopher back, Emma has taken on a new mission. The portal that connects the two worlds must be relocated otherwise there is no hope for humanity. But there are so many obstacles she has to overcome; Christopher has given up on their love, her best friend has been kidnapped and the life-changing truth about her family is revealed. Worst of all, a new, unexpected menace under the name Frederick, Christopher’s evil double, threatens their lives.
Will she be able to secure the future of mankind and claim the love she has fought so hard for? What if Christopher has decided to sacrifice himself again in order to save her?
In Beguiled, the second book of the Gate Deadlock series, love knows no deadlocks.
~ About the Author ~Urania Sarri lives in Korinthia, Greece with her husband and sons.
She holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an Msc in Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). She specializes in teaching English to young adults and she totally adores her job. While doing so, she takes any opportunity to convey to her students the passion of reading. She is fascinated by paranormal stories and appreciates good romance whenever she gets her hands on it!
And now, with out further ado... Urania!
Welcome Urania and thank you for letting me talk with you today.
How awesome is it to live in Greece?
Well, my husband and I have often talked about how blessed we are to have been born in such a beautiful country. My hometown is only an hour away from the capital of Greece, Athens, and it combines the beautiful beaches with the snow-white mountain tops in winter. I wouldn’t change it for any place in the world. Having said that, I should also add that life in Greece is not always perfect. We Greeks are warm-hearted and hospitable people and we’d go out of our way for the people we like but some still refuse to conform to rules and regulations. Someone might say this isn’t necessarily bad and the rebel spirit should be conserved wherever it can still be found. But our daily routine would be much easier if certain things changed and we stopped living for today without worrying about consequences. My country is suffering from a severe crisis in economy at the moment and it will take years to recover but we Greeks, poorer than we were after the 2nd World War, will never stop enjoying life to its fullest. Because this is who we are.
What inspires you when you develop a story such as Beguiled?
A lot of things. A book I’ve read, a song, or something I’ve read in the newspaper. Most of the scenes I describe, even though they are part of a paranormal story, are based on real life.
Are your characters truly fictional, or are they based on someone you know?
I believe that writers always put something of their personality and the people they’ve met in their stories although we either don’t want to admit it or not realize it. My heroines, Emma in Gate Deadlock and Madisson in my new book, are both orphans like me. I didn’t think about it when I first wrote about them. It just came up. But it can’t be a coincidence. In the same way, Christopher reminds me of my husband quite often. In the book I’m currently writing, I have decided to base most of my secondary characters on people I’ve met during the three years I spent in Cyprus. I said goodbye a couple of weeks ago and I already miss them. This way I can make their memory last forever.
How do you find time to write with the demands of a family and teacher?
In fact there’s more than that. I’m a PhD student in a part-time program in
Linguistics at Aston University in UK because it is my strong belief that a teacher
should never stop learning. But if I could say I have a talent, it’s my ability to work
on many different things at the same time. It’s stressing and I can’t tell you I’m
good at everything. But it’s my way of doing things. Of course, family always comes
first. And now that my two boys have just left home to start university, I have more
free time. Besides, I really need to keep my self occupied since separation from
them is taking its toll on me.
What do you like best about being an author: First draft, edits, publication, marketing, or something else?
Sharing my story with my readers. When I find out that someone has read my book and shares my feelings about my story and my characters is an incredible experience.
What author do you feel influences your writing style?
I am influenced by every author I read. From Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins to the indie authors I absolutely adore.
Will there be a sequel?
Of course. Half of it is stored in my hard disc but two more books came up in the meanwhile so it’ll have to wait a little. Book three will be closure. The ending scene is already finished in my mind.
When did you first know you were a writer?
It’s funny but it took me too long to realize what were those voices doing in my head. As a teenager I used to make up stories in my mind just about every single day but I was afraid there was something wrong with me so I kept them for myself. At some point in my life I had to overcome the loss of a very important person and I needed to unburden myself from the depression that was threatening me. I tried to write my thoughts in Greek but nothing happened. Then I tried English and it took me hours to put the pen down.
Do any of your sons show an interest in writing?
You could say that some kind of artistic nature runs in the family as both of them are musicians in rock bands. My older one writes lyrics and I think he’s just one step before starting to write his first story. I just hope he doesn’t need a tragedy to trigger it as it happened with me.
How do you relax when you are not writing?
I love watching TV shows and films with suspense or paranormal and supernatural elements. I also read a lot and I go for long walks on the beach. This last one is a very inspiring activity. It’s when all the good ideas show up!
Thank you Urania. It was wonderful talking to you today! I relate to your need to keep busy to deal with the empty nest. I have four children, three are out and making a life of their own. One is still at home and I relish every minute I still get with him, even though he stays pretty busy himself. Still I am amazed your are working on a PhD and teaching AND writing! You are an amazing person, and I thank you for taking the time to let me get to know you better.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- $15 Electronic Amazon Gift Card
- Two Kindle eBooks of Beguiled
Giveaway is International.
Rafflecopter Widget Code:
Rafflecopter Widget Link:http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjhiNWRhZTZkZTBhNWYxZWY3MjA4N2M1NmVhMDIxOjEw/
Excerpt from Beguiled by Urania Sarri:
"Good morning. I have an appointment with Mr. Mavropoulos,” I said to the gray-haired woman who opened the door of the old, neo-classic house in Rodon Street, just two blocks away from the impressive ruins of the Roman marketplace, below the shade of the sacred hill where the Acropolis has stood for centuries.
“Are you Miss Ioannou?” she asked in Greek.
I nodded and she showed me in.
“Come with me, please. He should be resting right now, but he’s changed his schedule for you.”
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. He’s really looking forward to seeing you. I can’t remember when I last saw such a sparkle in his eyes.”
She opened the door to a huge study, the walls of which were hidden behind floor-to-ceiling shelves, filled with hundreds of thick, old books. Silver-gray, velvet curtains kept the sunlight away from the place and a faint smell of mould, suffused with the odour of paper, made me hold my breath. The old man was sitting in an armchair, his legs covered with a soft blanket. His snow-white hair was longer than it should be for a man of his age and his long beard seemed unkempt, making his face look even thinner. Behind his round glasses, two sparkling eyes revealed his emotion at seeing me.
“My dear child, come here. Forgive me for not standing up to greet you but time, I’m afraid, has been ruthless to me,” he said.
“It’s a pleasure meeting you, professor. Your English is perfect.”
He held my hand tight in his.
“A remnant of the years I spent in Oxford, my dear. That was where I met your father.” He scrutinized my face. “You look very much like him. Your eyes mostly. Dimitris would be very proud of you.” He turned to his wife. “Katerina, treat our guest to that wonderful karidopita of yours. You’ve met my wife,” he said, with unconcealed pride. “She’s the most tolerant person in the whole world, my Katerina.”
His wife bent beside him to pick up the blanket that was slipping from the professor’s legs to the floor. She asked me if I’d like a cup of tea and I took the offer with gratitude. I hadn’t had a bite since early that morning and my stomach started rumbling hours ago. All of a sudden, I realized I had spoken to her in Greek, although not deliberately, bringing about a smile of satisfaction on the old man’s face. I decided to let him keep it up a little longer, doing my best to exhibit what I thought closer to the perfect Greek accent.
“So, were you and my father close?”
“Not as much as I wanted to. After Oxford where we had both attended a conference…I believe it was Professor Johnston who introduced us or…was it…I’m sorry, my child. My memory’s failing me.”
“It’s all right. Take your time.”
“We discovered then that we had a lot to talk about. He loved talking about Greece. He was interested in some articles I’d published and we arranged to meet in Greece to share ideas. We didn’t meet very often but soon we both knew we were part of something big. Something that no human mind can conceive easily without the risk of crossing the thin line between reality and illusion.” His calculating look searched my face for traces of consent.
“That’s why I’m here,” I whispered, switching to English.
“What are you looking for, my child?”
“He’d found something…in Pylos.”
“I heard you gave up that place.”
“It’s true. I was forced to.”
“Hmm.” He nodded. “Believe me, I understand. They have their ways, don’t they?”
It was obvious he was referring to the League, but I had strict orders from Christopher not to give the professor any details about them, and of course, not to name the League.
“But now they’ve asked me to go there and search the place.”
He raised his brows, profoundly surprised. “Do you know what they want you to find?”
I leaned towards him and whispered, “The Gate.”
I was afraid he had stopped breathing. But then his eyes reflected the triumph born from years of anticipating something to be said by someone. Someone else besides himself. Inside those walls that had been waiting…for years…a lifetime. He suddenly took a deep breath.
His wife came into the room holding a tray with two cups of tea and one huge piece of fluffy karidopita, garnished with homemade cherry jam.
“No karidopita for me, woman?”
“Stop complaining, Stavros. You had your share earlier.” She smiled to me.
“Doctor’s orders.” Then she walked out of the room.
“Will you be so kind as to get me that brown photo album from the second shelf, Emma?”
I was surprised to find that the thick photo album wasn’t covered with a layer of dust or mould, like someone regularly went through it. I put it in his fragile hands. All of a sudden, it seemed too heavy a burden for them. He opened it slowly on a page marked by a page-marker in the shape of the Parthenon.
“Look! This is you!” He pointed to a photo of a little girl in a white dress, holding a colourful ball. I recognized myself. My image in that dress evoked the memory of a strange, obscure feeling. Like grief for a possible loss or some kind of misfortune.
“He wanted me to take photos on that day. Do you recognize the place?” he asked.
“It’s the dig site.”
He turned the page. “See? This is your father holding with you in his arms. Do you remember anything about that day, Emma?”
I shook my head. The tall, strong man smiling in the photo was exactly like I remembered him. I’d missed him so much, it broke my heart to see his face in the photo. I tried to focus on the reasons for my visit. Another huge bite of karidopita helped.
I told professor Mavropoulos how they had told me that the location of the portal had changed and how vital it was for me to find it in order to get my friend Alex back. I thought it would be wise to omit the trip to the League’s time, as I was certain he couldn’t deal with so many revelations in one day.
He was speaking fast, making the impression that he had lost touch with reality, like he was in his own world, lost in absolute trance. As if he had guessed my thoughts, he swiftly composed himself.
“I’m afraid that is all I can tell you, my child. I wish your father had told you more about it. He left you his archives and his notes and everything probably because he expected you to finish what he had started. But I’m afraid he’d underestimated the risk for you too.”
“I have to do it. Otherwise, I won’t get Alex back.”
“Love is a very powerful motive, my child. Truly the be all and end all in life. Do you know that in the Greek language the verb love, “agapo,” starts with the first letter of the alphabet and ends with the last? The alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. Such great meaning in a simple word.”
“I’m not so sure anymore. People like you and me tend to overestimate feelings.” The last question came to my mind. “Professor, did my father ever mention to you anyone referred to as E? It’s probably an initial for a name. ”
“E?” He looked puzzled. “Other than you, Emma, no. He never mentioned anyone else to me.”
I gasped. “Me? Are you saying…I’m E?”
“I’m just an old fool. I have nothing more to provide but the prolixity of an old man who’s been left on the side-lines for too long.” He smiled sadly and I knew my work there was done. I took his hands in mine.
“Thank you. I have to go now. I’ll try to put everything together and see what I can make out of this.”
He nodded. “Good luck, my child.”
I got up. “We’ll be in touch,” I said, but I couldn’t help wondering whether I would be ever able to visit him again with any good news about my mission. I walked out of the room with moist eyes, thanked Katerina who showed me out, and left.