Tuesday 2 June 2020

Blog Tour: Interview With Effie Kammenou Author of Love is What You Bake of it (The Meraki Series Book 1) @EffieKammenou @lovebooksgroup

Today is my stop on the blog tour for What You Bake of it (The Meraki Series Book 1) by Effie Kemmenou. I have an interview with the author today and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews.

Here's what it's all about...

The only love Kally Andarakis is baking is in the form of the sweet treats she whips up in her café, The Coffee Klatch.

Kally never believed herself to be a person worthy of love, but when an intoxicating man she considered out of her league pursues her, she risks everything to be with him. Later, when tragedy strikes, truths are revealed that leave Kally brokenhearted and untrusting.

Eight years later, Kally is a successful pastry chef running the café she’d always dreamed of owning. With a home of her own, a profession she’s passionate about, and the support and love of friends and family, Kally is content with the life she has carved out for herself.
Until the day Max Vardaxis walks into her café…

With arguing parents, meddling relatives, an overly energetic grandmother, a man-crazy best friend, and the long ago, mysterious disappearance of a grandfather, this new man in town is just one more complication in Kally’s life, if not the main one.

Kally must now decide whether to keep her heart safe or to once again take a ‘whisk on love.’

Are you ready for that interview?

First question-bit of a cliché-how did you get into writing?
My mother passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012. I wanted to be positive and strong for my father, sisters, daughters, and nieces. But eventually, something had to give, and I had to channel my grief in some way. This is when I began to write, creating a character that honored my mother’s loving spirit, elegance, and her culture.
Evanthia’s Gift was my first effort at a project of considerable length. I had written scenes and children’s plays, but never a full novel, much less one that was 560 pages.
Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?
I do have a part-time day job as an optical lab technician, but I would say that I spend an equal amount of time, if not more writing.
Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer to write?

I write women’s fiction and contemporary romance novels. I prefer a series rather than standalone, but I may write one in the future. I know that when I read characters that interest me, I want to know more about them and their lives. The series format gives the reader the option to continue with their ‘book friends.’ I also prefer to make each book in the series to conclude satisfactorily. It should be up to the reader if they want to continue, not feel as though they have to in order to find out the outcome of the story.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?
Many of my characters are based on real people or a combination of people. Some are purely out of my imagination or were inspired by an observance while people-watching.
I develop my characters in the way I was taught to create a character for an acting role. The script doesn’t always give you all the information regarding the character’s life or past. Still these details need to be developed in your mind or the result will be a one-dimensional character. Character motivation is key. This will determine how he/she speaks, interacts with others, and how he/she handles situations.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

This book was pure fun for me. Years ago, I played with the idea of opening up a café with an international flair. I went as far as to take a class at the library on writing a business plan. I had a journal of ideas and recipes. I knew what I wanted the place to look like and how I wanted to present my menu. I later decided that I liked cooking and baking for friends and family, but doing it every day and waking up at the crack of dawn was not for me. I love the fact that my efforts were not wasted. Kally, the main character in Love is What You Bake of it, gets to realize my dream café.
An actual event also inspired the meet-cute. You will have to read it to see how an errant license plate became the catalyst for a new romance.

What is your writing process-do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?

By the time I sit down to write, I have already figured out what I want to happen in the story. I know the beginning and a basic idea of how I want to get to the end. The rest comes as I write and do my research.
Some days, I’m able to write for hours at a stretch. Other days, only an hour or two. It all depends on what is going on at the time.

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

I believe almost every author will admit that there is a bit of themselves in every character they write. It might be a trait, a habit, or even something as minuscule as a food preference. My love for baking and my past desire to open my own café is what Kally and I have in common. I would say that Evanthia’s Gift is the most personal of all the books I’ve written. It was the most emotional for me to get down on paper. It was written from my heart and soul.

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing behind your book?
It depends on the book. For Love is What You Bake of it, I had researched Greek politics and history during the 1960s when the monarchy was overthrown. Although the book is set mainly in present day Long Island, NY, there is a subplot that drifts back to that period of time.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

I read every single review. If a reader is going to take their time out to write it, then I am going to read it. I greatly appreciate those reviews.

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

Yes, they are all very supportive. I have an fantastic group of cheerleaders! They are all way better at promoting my books than I am!
How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

I feel both excited and nervous. All three books in The Gift Saga Trilogy received very favorable reviews. Love is What you Bake of it is different than that series. It’s lighter and, although there are some serious subjects touched upon, it doesn’t delve as deeply into them. I knew some readers would love the humor and sheer entertainment of the book, but I feared others might not think it was up to the standard they expected from me. In light of what’s been happening in the world, I think a fun book was just what readers needed right about now.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

The most inspiring contemporary author for me is Sylvain Reynard. I recently commented during one of his many Facebook author chats, naming him the Master of Words, and wished I could be his apprentice. But I have admiration for so many other authors as well. I also read books written by Adriana Trigiani, Chanel Cleeton, Elin Hildebrand, Coleen Hoover, Deborah Harkness, and A.L. Jackson, just to name a few.
Finally...what are you working on right now?

I’m writing the second book in The Meraki Series. This story will focus on Kally’s sister, Mia, a graphic designer for a magazine in NYC.

About the Author

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart, or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd hoped that by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years while raising her two daughters.
In 2015, three years after the death of her mother from pancreatic cancer, she published her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, book one in a women’s fiction, multigenerational love story and family saga, inspired by her mother and her Greek heritage. Kammenou continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in the nationally circulated magazine Reminisce.
 Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 finalist in the Readers Favorite Book Awards.  Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga was awarded finalist status in the 2019 International Book Awards and Chasing Petalouthes, the last book in the trilogy, had also placed in the Readers Favorite Book Awards for the 2018 contest.
Her latest novel, the first book in a new contemporary romance series, is now complete. Love is What You Bake of It, follows Kally's path to independence despite her sometimes stifling family and her tumultuous road to finding love. But it wouldn't be a Kammenou novel without a delve into the past, or the references to mouth-watering foods.
 Effie Kammenou is a first-generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing or posting recipes on her food blog, aptly named cheffieskitchen, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’
 As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books for a little extra ‘flavor.’
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University. 
For updates on promotions, events and new releases, follow Effie on Social media
 Newsletter signup -  http://eepurl.com/bIoJl1

Thanks so much to Effie for stopping by the blog today!

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