3 Aug 2014

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Author Interview / Marissa Tejada




When Ava Martin’s new husband unexpectedly ditches her months after they’ve relocated across the world to Greece, the heartbroken American ex-pat isn’t sure where home is anymore. On the verge of flying back to the States with her tail between her legs, she makes an abrupt decision to follow her gut instead and stay on in Greece. She soon discovers that the tumultuous, culture-rich Mediterranean country is coloring her life in a way no place else can, changing her forever. But is it where she belongs?

Ava’s newfound independence throws her into the thick of Athenian reality, where she has brushes with violent police riots and gets a taste of both the alluring islands and the city nightlife. Despite pressure from her mother, uncertainty over her impending divorce, and unresolved issues with her long-estranged father weighing on her, she’s determined to make it on her own. With the help of two very colorful Greek friends, she laughs and learns while facing culture shock, language barriers and the charm of Mediterranean men, until a life-threatening medical emergency back home in sleepy Ithaca, N.Y., forces her to decide where she truly belongs – and what truly matters.

Site/Author Blog: www.chasingathens.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marissa Tejada is the author of the romantic comedy/contemporary romance novel, Chasing Athens. Marissa is also full-time freelance writer specializing in food and wine, technology and travel writing. She contributes to numerous publications including Fodor’s Travel, Forbes Travel, Wine Enthusiast and more. She also enjoys blogging for her travel photography blog, my Greece, my travels


As an award-winning journalist, Marissa has worked across the United States as a television reporter and anchor in Florida, Washington State and Upstate New York. She has also worked in newsrooms in Los Angeles and London and managed high tech PR in San Francisco.  

Marissa loves traveling, learning languages, sipping mochachinos and devouring dark chocolate. She currently resides in Athens, Greece.

INTERVIEW

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
I think I’d work with Jennifer Weiner. I think she’s a pioneer in the women’s fiction genre.  Her books are so touching, witty and her themes are meaningful. I love that she was a journalist as well. 

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
I am not a morning person so I get my freelance writing and novel writing done later in the day. I can work until 2 am to 3 am in the morning or later if there’s nothing stopping me!  I write in my flat which has an office. My desk faces out into a wooded area of the city so on the best days I can just slide the windows open and feel a fragrant breeze waft in every so often
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3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
The hardest part is stepping back and improving that first draft.  I’ve always loved the quote, “Writing is rewriting.” Getting everything down is one thing but polishing it up to be its best is a challenge and a challenging process.

4.  When and why did you first start writing? 
I’ve always written professionally as a reporter and journalist in some form starting in college. I worked in newspapers, television and now for magazines and website.  Writing creatively was always a hobby and now I’ve incorporated it into my work day and my career goals. I’ve always loved telling stories whether it’s through a news story or feature travel piece.  Now, as an author I can create new worlds to convey the themes and emotions through fiction writing. I truly love it.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
Living abroad as an expat I couldn’t help but be inspired to write Chasing Athens. Greece is a vibrant city steeped in ancient history, natural beauty and the chaos of modern day living.  You can’t help but keep note of the changes, experiences, culture clashes, humorous moments and emotional moments that surround your life.   That’s how my romantic comedy/women’s fiction novel came to be.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? 
I’ve always loved reading. Besides keeping up with my magazine subscriptions, I always have a few fiction and non-fiction books nearby. On the non-fiction side I’m currently reading Cooked by Michael Pollan. I’m reading contemporary romance/chicklit novel Maybe Baby written by another American expat living in Europe, Kim Golden. I’m also reading Sophia Kinsella’s Wedding Night.  I’m also finishing up Ladysmith by Giles Foden.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
One piece of advice I valued from those far more experienced than me is to set realistic goals and expectations. You need to define what means success for your book.  Also rejection, rejection, rejection is part of the experience. I faced a lot of that as television reporter too so I was sort of prepared but when it comes to something like your first novel, so close to your heart, rejection is tough and can wear you down but keep moving. It just takes one person to believe in you and your work and that’s who is best to stand by you to get your novel out there.

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