Interview with the author Christos Anastasopoulos
Please tell us a few things about yourself and your books.
I am 37 years old, -sometimes I am 17 or 87- I like cooking, playing Biriba, Risk and Monopoly, drinking wine, thinking about the meaning of life, going out with my friends. I adore Pop music, good comedies and all films that manage to make me burst into tears. I love animals and the last 16 years I always have a lovely cat sleeping in my bed, or rubbing herself at my feet in the mornings, while I make my coffee. I have quite a number of unfinished novels in my computer and I just hope that one day I will manage to complete them.
When did you realize that you wanted to become an author? When did you start writing?
I started writing full scaled stories, when I was 12-13 years old, but I did not dare to mention this to anybody…. I realized that I wanted to become a writer in 2000, it was then that I wrote the first paragraphs of my first novel.
What is the first thing that you wrote? (Unpublished)?
My first script is my novel with the title “Three” (3). This is actually my second-published novel.
Your first book is a novel about the old days. Where did you get the idea from? Tell us something about the characters of the book.
I was returning from the town Pirgos in Elia, where I had been for one day in order to decorate the window of a shop, and just before reaching Akrata, the “Switchman” came into my life….I did not know anything other than the fact that I had a longing to write about a railway crossing and the life of people involved. Before arriving at Athens, the form of a man had slowly started getting inside my head and when I got home, I realized that this man was trying to impose his presence to me. The following day, he introduced himself as George and he declared to me that he was going to be my main character. I immediately fell in love with him (as I always do with all my characters, whether they are good or bad) and I started writing, simply because I wanted to find out, what would happen in his life….. it might sounds funny, but each character- at least this is what happens to me- reveals himself slowly and excruciatingly. Aspasia was created in order to “elevate” my main character and she made me feel the love and despair she experienced,- I remember one day, my mother called me and asked me why I was crying, I told her about a very intense scene I had just finished writing and I still remember my mother’s reaction: she got worried that I might be rather “wobbly”. Maybe she still thinks that I am out of this world…- Stathis, Rachel, Nickolas and my special favorite, Kostis were created in order to teach me that love has a different face for each and everyone of us and that love’s power is uncontrollable, unstoppable, invincible, it is unlabeled and it doesn’t make any distinctions in sexes, ages and social classes…. Grandfather John was the one that showed me, for the first time the face of God and he transferred to me his love for all the creatures of the earth. Finally, Mary and Theodore, taught me what is the meaning of unselfish love.
Was it hard for you to write a novel that is not dramatized in our times?
I believe that someone faces difficulties if he is dealing with tasks that either he doesn’t like or he is forced to do. The truth is that I interviewed many people who had to tell me things from their pasts, people I knew and people I didn’t know. I surfed at the internet and read quite a number of web-pages and I also read several books (mostly written by Angelos Terzakis) in order to get into the climate of the era I was describing. I travelled by train, in order to get the feeling once more and I asked the stationmasters and the employees of the railway for information. Researching for a book, has always been an important and essential part of the writing process.
What are the difficulties that you faced writing this book?
The “Switchman and the son of moon” did not cause me any particular difficulties, since, even though it was the first of my books that was published, it was actually the third novel I have written, so I was more experienced. Still I had to make time to write by “stealing” it from my job and from meeting friends.
What is your second book, with the title “Three”, about?
My favorite philosopher, Plato, is the only person that, in an, for reasons unknown, unfinished poem of his- as it is believed- he mentioned the story of Atlantis. I had the luck and the pleasure to “hold” in my hands the rest of the story and to reveal it, through my novel “3”. I have always wondered why Lord Elgin stole this particular Caryatid…Why exactly did the citizens of Atlantis make three trenches to protect their city and why did these trenches had inner walls of different colors…Why the number three and, as a result, the trinity is considered a divine number? For what reasons it is mentioned in several testimonies that the goddess Athena transferred three stones (a red, a white and a black) from the lost Atlantis to Sa El Hagar in Egypt? What powers could these stones have or might be able to give?
Sophie Fortnam, an English archaeologist, is the person, who, without knowing it, has the black stone in her hands. The authoritarian stone with the biggest power, the stone that everybody is seeking desperately, to possess. Three ravishing men contest in order to get the stone, they get involved into Sophie’s life and nobody tells her the truth. What is best for Sophie? To remain ignorant or to know the truth?
Who are the authors that have influenced the way you handle your own work?
Homer and Hesiod first of all, because everything has a logical explanation. Then Lucian, because there is no actual need to have a logical explanation. Isabel Allende, Rosamund Pilcher, Kate Oikonomou and Sophie Kinsella, are simply my favorite. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kafka, Nietzsche, Milan Kundera, Plato, Kostas Karakasis, Angelos Terzakis and many others that I literally need days to mention, these are the people that have touched me and made me wish to write.
Tell us three books by other authors, that have stayed with you.
The toughest question…”The trial” by Franz Kafka, “When Nietzsche wept” by Irvin Yalom and the “House of spirits” by Isabel Allende, simply because it was the first book I actually wanted to buy.
Please tell us about your third book. When it will be published? What is it about?
My third novel, that has the title “Summer- the fall of the invisible veil” which will be published in March 2015, is in fact the second book I wrote and it is the first of a tetralogy that will follow.
Nikolaos Koyama is forced to come into contact with nature and the invisible veil falls in front of his eyes and reveals to him an unknown, magical world, that the others cannot apprehend…He will fall in love for the first time in his life- with a different creature- and he will get into mortal peril….
What are your hobbies?
Painting on canvas, on wooden crates, on walls and doors, designing and creating clothes and, recently directing and filming videos.
Are you preparing a new novel? Would you ever consider of writing a book together with another writer? What would make you chose this particular writer?
Right now I am finishing my fourth book- a crime comedy- which I am trying to convert into a theatrical play at the same time and as soon as I finish, the second book of the tetralogy is waiting for me. This year, I was already involved in the writing of the novel “Lethal sins” which can be found for free at my website, as well as at the websites of special friends and fellow writers and partners, who are all members of the group “Lernaia Hydra”. I am also delighted to announce that my proposal for co-operation was accepted by the writers Evi Routoula and Theoni Brili. The reason that I chose to co-operate with these two ladies is, first of all, their different writing styles, which I truly enjoy, second, the good communication we all have, third and most important of all, the respect I have for them, both as writers and as human beings.
What makes you choose a certain book to read?
The story is always my basic criterion, when, of course, I don’t know the work of the writer.
Do you have your own website/blog?
Which would be your advice to a new author?
Never to give up. To learn that we cannot satisfy everybody and never to accept the malice, the negativity and the comparison with other writers, books, novels or any other piece of art generally. To know that there is nobody better than the others because we are ALL different! There will always be at least one person who will love your work and that is reason enough not to give up.
Translation from Greek into English by Stella Chatzi