This week we’ve been chatting to Nadia Marks, Nadia was born in Cyprus but grew up in London and worked as a creative and associate director for a number of magazines is now a novelist with several books under her belt. We asked her what to see and eat in Cyprus, what her most treasured holiday memory is and more. For your chance to win* a signed copy of Nadia’s latest book “One Summer in Crete” tell us about your most treasured holiday memory at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Nadia Marks including where you can purchase her books by heading to her website or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NadiaMarksAuthor/.
1. Do you know of any hidden gems or have any top tips for those thinking of making their next trip abroad to Cyprus?
Cyprus is full of hidden gems. It is an island where you drive on the right, so no matter where you’ve chosen to stay it is effortless and easy to head for the mountains to discover the authentic island. Platres, is one of many sleepy mountain villages, dotted with colonial style houses, some you can also rent for a few days away from scorching heat of the coast or stay in one of the hotels in the area.
Cyprus has possibly the warmest coastline in the med, visit the north west of the island in the Paphos region which is flecked with many hidden jewels. Lara bay, Aphrodite’s baths and the incredible UNESCO world heritage sites of Akamas, a nature reserve which if visited in the spring offers the most wonderful walks overlooking emerald bays and coves. For those with a love of plants will discover many botanical gems and some rare species of wildflowers indigenous only to Cyprus.
2. What is the one local dish holiday makers must try when visiting Cyprus and why?
Food is a feature you cannot escape on Cyprus. My favourite is ‘goubepia.’ Stuff vine leaves but not like the ones served widely in Greece. These Cypriot vine leaves are stuffed with not only rise but aromatic meat too and are cooked in a delicious lemony tomato sauce. They are finger licking good.
3. What has been your favorite holiday destination so far and do you have a dream destination that you would like to visit next?
If we are talking about a favourite destination in Greece I would find it very hard to choose one above others. But if I was pushed, I would choose Crete partly because I have just got to know it. Last spring, I visited the island to research my novel One Summer in Crete, but I concentrated only in one part of the island on the southern region so I would love the opportunity to explore the rest of the island. Another one of my favourites in Pylos in the Peloponnese. That was another place that had inspired my writing and it is mentioned in my novel Among the Lemon Trees. I have a great fondness for Italy too Verona is a beautiful city break that I have enjoyed on many occasions. A dream destination in Greece would be to visit the island of Delos and another place in the world would be Cuba.
4. Can you share with us your best memory from a holiday?
One of my most treasured and fond memories of a holiday was in the Seychelles. It was exotic and inspiring and although it was a long way to go for just a week’s holiday it has stayed with me as one of my best holiday memories. We swam with tropical fish and sat on warm white sand speckled with seashells under the shade of a swaying coconut palm and ate a picnic of tropical fruit while we chatted with the local children.
5. What inspired you to write One Summer in Crete?
My inspiration to write one summer in Crete came to me a couple of summers ago when I was in Cyprus and I met some friends who had just returned from an island with stories of an amazing place where people lived to over 100 in perfect health, frolicking around being unstressed and it inspired me and I thought that sounded like an interesting place to set a story. That same summer I kept meeting young women who were reassessing their lives. They were making life choices about possibly having babies and their partners were not necessarily in the same boat, coupled with my desire to go and visit Crete, because I’ve always loved Crete, I decided that that would be my story and I set about writing.
6. What inspired the career change to novelist? And do you have any tips for anyone considering trying to become a published author?
While I was a creative director and associate editor on several women’s magazines I would at times write an article myself. I have always loved writing and when I went freelance instead of following a path of design or photography, I begun a career in journalism. I got commissioned to do articles, interviews, and quite a lot of travel writing for several national and international magazines and newspapers. A small publishing company noticed my writing and I was offered to write my first book. This was a YA book (Young Adult) book 12-15 age group called Making Sense and it was the story of 14-year-old girl who is uprooted from her native Cyprus and made to settle with her family in London, without a single word of English and knowing no one. It’s a story of alienation and the strife of trying to adapt to a new country, which was partly my experience when I first came to England from Cyprus with my family. Making Sense was followed with a sequel called Bittersweet. After the publications of my first two books I continued with journalism until I decided to write my first adult novel Among the Lemon Trees which I did without a publisher’s contract but with a brilliant agent, Dorie Simmonds. Among the Lemon Trees was picked up by Macmillan publishers at the London Book Fair and I was awarded a two-book contract by them and then a further two more. My advice to anyone who wants to be a published author and has the love and passion for writing is to write regardless whether the book will be published or not. Getting a publishing contract is largely down to luck and timing and a good agent. If you have the burning desire to write, to tell a story to express yourself you should go ahead and do it. But go all the way and finish it because you never know what’s around the corner.
7. Do you have any destinations and ideas for your next book that you are able to share with us?
The last four years I have been writing a book a year so I have now decided to take a little more time to write my next book, which I have already started and I can tell you that at the moment it is set in Cyprus.
8. A number of your books have been set in Greece what part of Greece is your favorite?
I do not have a favorite location in Greece, I write books that are mainly set in southern Mediterranean. Greece and Cyprus feature largely in my novels. Having said that my first book Among the Lemon Trees was also set in Italy in Naples at the end of the second world war. My second book Secrets Under the Sun has several chapters set in Vienna and my third novel Between the Orange Groves has a large part set in Istanbul. All my books begin in London.
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