I’m delighted to be hosting Fuschia Phlox in my hot seat chatting to us today about Return to the Aegean, the first story in a series.
Return to the Aegean by Fuschia Phlox is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.
Two unsolved deaths. One Greek Island. Many unchallenged memories
Thalia, deep sea diver and only surviving member of her family returns to the Greek island of her childhood.
As an adult, she wants to uncover the truth about her mother’s and brother’s deaths, but all is not as it seems on the beautiful Aegean isle. A missing coroner’s report, being politely but firmly stonewalled by the community, lack of medical records, an ugly warning…
Thalia balances her search by falling back into the rhythms of the island, the exquisite nature and customs and by re-kindling old relationships. Some are dangerous, some bring passion but will any of her efforts give her the truth she so desires?
Hi Fuschia, welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise ‘Return To The Aegean’ in 20 words or less.
Two unsolved deaths. One Greek Island. Many unchallenged memories. Thalia, deep sea diver returns to the island of her childhood.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel Fuschia?
I grew up on a Greek island so it seemed second nature to write about that location. The story however is total fiction.
Please tell us about the characters in your book.
The main character Thalia is a woman who is compelled to find out the secrets of her family. Lambi is her brother that died in unexplained circumstances. Petros and Irini are two childhood friends and Petros is one of the love interests.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your books which would you be?
I would choose to be Krystal in my new book Glenburn. She is a strong survivor with gifts of healing others and has a beautiful group of friends. She has an old-world quality to her and I admire her stubborness. She just keeps going until she turns her grey into colour.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
I would cast Liv Tyler as the adult ‘Thalia’ in Return to the Aegean and Lilly Aspell and Jack Dylan Grazer as the young Thalia and Lambi.
I would cast Adrian Grenier and Amanda Seyfried as the adult Petros and Irini.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before opening pages of the book, what would it be …
Don’t be afraid of love when you find it.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?
She turned out to be much tougher and more resourceful than I originally intended. I also like the way she doesn’t want to be defined by conventional thinking.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Fuschia?
I loved the scene where Thalia treks up into the mountain and encounters a donkey and it’s foal. There is a softness to the atmosphere of writing that I do feel when I am in Greek landscapes.
… and the hardest?
All the scenes where Thalia is remembering her childhood and there is an absence, a longing for her brother and that childish innocence.
Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?
I did lots of research about the oceans and different seas in different locations in the world. How the oceans affect the world, fish species. There were quite a few diving scenes that got chopped and weren’t included. New York Central Library was brilliant, the internet has been helpful too.
Does your book tackle a social barrier?
My character Thalia is sexual, she is passionate. An agent at quite a famous agency told me she thought the character was slutty. I found that astonishing and really judgemental.
Clearly my character was well described and struck an uncomfortable chord with them. There is nothing wrong with a woman being passionate and choosing her own partners but there is something wrong with one person judging another person for their sexuality. They don’t have that right.
Do you have a theme for your book covers Fuschia? Who designs them?
I had an idea in mind for Return to the Aegean and around the same time I met Iain Chaffey through Bristol Outset. His graphic design company Crimson Goose just completely understood what I wanted and made these three striking book covers for the Trilogy.
Your book is part of a series, what is in the future?
Return to the Aegean is the first book of a trilogy. The second book Aegean Abduction is written and published and the third book Aegean Oregano is still in the pipeline.
What inspired you to write Fuschia?
Both my parents were readers. Books just appealed to me. The idea that I could create my own world and then escape into it is brilliant. I read that magic is just bending the world to the will of your imagination. I think there is some truth to that.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Before I had children, it was any time that inspiration or discipline drove me on when I wasn’t working to pay bills. Now, I usually write in the night time, as it is the only time I have spare.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity Fuschia?
Nature always inspires me but generally I write when that urge comes to me. Sometimes, I get an idea during the night and will have to get up and write it down. Music is also a big motivator. When I listen to music, the visuals in my head means a book just writes itself. I can’t scribble fast enough. It sort of feels like cheating.
Panster or plotter?
Both. I don’t stick to any rules. I just go with what fits.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
Almost impossible to answer that. Many poets. I love Daphne Du Maurier and also a lot of Indian writers, Anita Desai’s writing has an impact to it that is truly memorable.
Do you have a favourite book?
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster. His writing is completely unique. The last page made me cry…in a good way. Being human and vulnerable, having dreams and needing love.
I also love Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Animal Dreams.’ Her writing is really atmospheric and beautiful.
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier.
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake.
I could write a long long list.
Can you share what you are working on now?
At the moment, I am very busy. I have my next literary fiction book ‘Glenburn’ which is near completion. It is a book written in two different times, a kind of history of magic and I also illustrate and make the ‘soundtrack’ for the book. I also have a music album ‘2020’ out in August of this year and I am re-publishing several children’s books. Musically and as an author, I am booked up for about three years. Creatively, it is intense.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
A writer usually wants other people to read their books. However writing a book is just the beginning. Then comes the editing, marketing, the more grim task of selling your creation.
A book is a gift of inspiration. It is another world, an escape. It is hard to then have to package and sell it as a product, a rather grubby process but one that every determined committed writer has to go through if they want their writing to reach a wider audience. If you are lucky, you connect with an agent who really believes and champions your work and a publisher who sees you as an investment. I decided the clock was ticking and I wanted to be something more for my kids, so I just went for it and self published. I recommend writers try both.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Realising that I am truly a writer. Creating is an amazing part of life, so it is always interesting to watch something develop under your very eyes. You take an idea from your head and make it a physical reality that can enter into other people’s worlds. It is an incredible thing. I liken it to a photographer in a dark room watching the photo develop.
Finally, are there any tips you could share with new writers that have worked well for you?
Don’t get stuck on a scene and dialogue. Remember that this is your world and creation and there are no rules. Write about what you know and be daring about what you don’t. Create atmosphere, likable characters and enjoy the process. Don’t copy other writers. Write with your own instincts. There are many levels to writing, writing the actual story is only one step. Then you edit, create, build.
Thank you for being my guest today. Wishing you success with all your creative projects.
Fuschia Phlox was born in Salisbury, England and baptized and raised on the Greek island of Paros. She went to school in Sevenoaks, Kent at Walthamstow Hall. She spent two years travelling around Greece, Thailand and Malaysia and then went on to study English and Art History at Manchester Metropolitan University and Publishing at Plymouth University.
Creativity and change are the two constants in her life. She has been inspired by her paternal Scottish grandfather, the painter Robert Russell and her father Christopher Russell, BBC world news reader, painter, potter and writer.
She studied the fundamentals of music theory at Edinburgh University, music production at Berklee College and classical music composition at Singapore University. She is constantly learning and grateful for the gifts of creativity.
She lives with her family in Scotland.
Connect with Fuschia : Twitter Facebook Instagram : fuschiaphlox