Today I welcome a very special guest, my friend Soulla Christodoulou, who has released her first novel today, Broken Pieces of Tomorrow. The premise of this book I find to be compelling one. A story of strength, survival, loss, love, pain and joy. And I can’t wait to read it. Thank you Soulla for virtually popping on today and telling us all about your book.
“All the research needed was rooted deeply inside my head and my heart.”
What is your book about?
My book is about a second generation Greek Cypriot woman’s journey following the breakdown of her 14-year marriage to her first love. Faced with bringing up three young boys on her own she struggles initially with accepting her husband’s infidelity but she has to move forward after things come to a head and she asks for a divorce. Her strength and determination, and with laughter and tears, many highs and lows, she finds herself as she moves through a new life path. She comes to accept who she becomes, developing emotionally and personally, as she finally puts back together her ‘Broken Pieces of Tomorrow’; the book’s title.
What inspired the storyline to your novel?
My own marriage broke down, with little tale-tell signs building up over time, and it hit me badly although at the time I didn’t realise it. I threw myself into keeping things ‘normal’ for my boys and I got through. But like anything, when you finally slow down, you are faced with the demons buried deep within and writing this book was a way of coping with those demons who showed themselves to me years later. So to this end, the story is partly based on true events although many of the characters and events are imagined and have been created to add to the plot, create drama and keep the reader turning those pages.
How long did it take you to write your novel?
I was working full time as a Business Studies Teacher and Deputy Head of Sixth Form at the time as well as being promoted to Head of PSHCE in a local secondary school but the first draft took me only 6 months. I then took a 3 month break while a group of beta readers read the story and then I edited, revised and re-wrote parts which took another 6 months or so.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I found writing the story therapeutic and going over certain events as I wrote them helped to put some bad times in my life to bed so to speak. It also made me realise that I was still here and in a good place doing what I loved and with fantastic family and friends around me. I’d survived and it was about time I clapped myself on the back and told myself well done.
What did you research the most while writing this book?
There was no real formal research involved in writing this book other than my own personal experience and interaction with people who helped me through at the time. All the research needed was rooted deeply inside my head and my heart.
I did do some secondary research around family Courts and how they work as this part of my life was quite a blur being one of the darkest moments in my separation and later divorce.
For those who have not discovered your novel, how would you describe it to get them interested?
It’s a women’s fiction novel which follows Georgia on her tumultuous journey from a comfortable life as a wife and mother to finding herself single at 40. It explores the roller-coaster of emotions and experiences which ultimately change her and bring her to a different place. It is a subject that many readers will be able to relate to, either through personal experience or through association.
Who’s your favourite character arc of all time, fiction/or onscreen and why?
I don’t have one favourite. I love real women characters who are flawed – Erin Brockovich in The film of the same name, Bridget in Bridget Jones’ Diary, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City and also Louise in The Durrells. I have always been drawn to strong female characters who evolve emotionally and personally while finding the strength to create and build a new life; who have a strong belief in what they are doing, where they are going and overcome obstacles and challenges to live a happier and more fulfilled life. There doesn’t always have to be a happy ending either because, for many women, life really isn’t like that, but for me, as someone who believes in the magic of happy ever after, it helps!
What do you think makes the best character arc?
I’ve partly answered this in the question above but it has to be the personal and emotional growth of the character and despite what life has thrown at them they come out the other side with light, love and hope in them. Realistically, we all have something we’re fighting and it’s how we deal with this that makes us the people we are and pushes us to achieve what we have, be the people we are and find our true purpose.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’ve been working on a collection of poetry inspired by old phrases and popular sayings, called ‘Sunshine after Rain’. I launched a light-hearted idea on my Instagram page asking my followers for their favourite saying and from that I wrote a poem around each one as well as included a few of my favourites, such as ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’ and ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’. I’m hoping to publish the collection by the end of the year and donate some of the proceeds to charity.
What is the theme or take home message of your book?
The theme and take home message of my book is summed up by a quotation from Karen Salmansohn
‘You know what’s sexy? Being a person who’s been through a life challenge, and comes out with insights, more depth, and a fiery passion to keep moving forward, forward, forward!’
It’s about jumping right back up after a knock-back and doing it with grace, passion and your head held high.
Thank you Soulla.
Facebook Author Page: Soulla-author