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  • Writer's pictureLee Murray

Phantasma, by Efthalia

Today I’m thrilled to have Efthalia stop by my blog.

Welcome, Efthalia, and congratulations on your debut novel, Phantasma!

Tell us about Phantasma. What’s it about and what inspired you to write this particular story?

The ultra-short version – a daughter of god, and immortal warrior, a demi-god out for vengence. It’s a fantasy/paranormal/urban fantasy/romance. That’s a fair bit, isn’t it?

I’ve long been a fan of Homer. I love the motifs in it and wanted to explore some of them in a fantasy novel. I think my biggest dream is to write something Homeric. Lol. I’ll keep trying, you never know.

As well as holding a Masters in Writing, you’re currently studying for a degree in Classics and Archaeology. So, is the order of your degrees significant: is your first love writing followed closely by a passion for history?

I love writing and I love the academic experience. I might even be a little hooked. I love learning. I definitely have a passion for history and both areas are intertwined and fuel each other, so for me it’s a win/win. I’m doing what I love both creatively and academically. I don’t think I could ask for anything more.

What made you put vampires and Greek gods together? And why paranormal romance, rather than historical romance?

Funny you should say that. When I first started writing I penned the beginning of a Historical Romance thinking that this was the way I wanted to go, but I soon realised that my love of Greek myth was far superior when it came to writing as it gave me breadth. It called to me, and I headed the call. Why vampires? Because all these creatures stem from an ancient past, the earliest being from Mesopotamia. Then, we see vampiric creatures in Greek myth. In Athanatos, which is Xen’s backstory, you’ll get a glimpse of one these old vampiric creatures.

It’s been said that dreams can ruin a good story and yet you have used them to good effect in Phantasma. Do you believe dreams are a window to our fears and desires?

The modern Greeks are big believers in dreams and they were in ancient times too. Modern psychology will tell you that, yes, dreams are representations of your waking life and all that it encompasses as far as wants, needs and fears go, but I do believe that they are something more. Something that we can’t always explain. I’ve had dreams that you just can’t decipher at the time of having them, then only to reveal themselves as you are on the path.

There’s a party on Olympus. Who will you invite?

Easy… Ares! Bad boys are fun.

Your protagonist, Clarissa Alkippes, is a kick ass police officer with attitude. How much of Efthalia is reflected in your heroine? *and, please tell us, is Xen modelled on your husband?

Lol. Just the other day a friend said she was half way through the book and that I had quite the imagination. Then, she proceeded to tell me, ‘what is going on in the bedroom?’.  I laughed. Xen is pure fiction. As you know, for writers, characters always pop in our heads and sometimes fully-formed and ready for action. Where does the inspiration for Xen come from? Well, every sword wielding movie I’ve ever seen. You can’t beat a good sword fight.

Can we talk about process? The cover art for Phantasma is gorgeous, but the first edition of the novel was beset with editing and proofing issues, something you’ve since rectified. Has this steep learning curve changed your approach to publishing, even at this early in your writing career?

This book was all about learning curves. I think my Greek myth curse seeped all over the book and into its publication. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. The wrong version went up on Netgalley and unfortunately that had repercussions. I got bad reviews, but that’s okay, I’m not worried as these things happen. Reviewers can be harsh in their comments without thinking that maybe something did go wrong. Plus, being self-published carries a stigma, which is sad. Getting published is hard business, but self-publishing is harder still. Every part of the process teaches us valuable lessons.

Who are you reading at the moment? Anyone who you’d recommend? In your genre? From Australia?

I read Kim Falconer a few weeks ago, The Blood in the Beginning. It’s an Urban Fantasy and, honestly, it was new and fresh and I loved it. I totally recommend it.

Any other projects we should know about?

I’m working on Athanatos, a novella, which is Xen’s backstory and also Book 2. Hopefully, I’ll have both out by Christmas. I’m a bit ambitious at the moment, but I’m willing to give it my best shot.

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