I love crime fiction – so when I came upon Eftichia Giannaki‘s books, I felt I’d stumbled onto a treasure trove. They’re very atmospheric, with three-dimensional characters, and a hero who is just troubled enough while being likeable.
Eftichia is a rising star on the Athens literary scene. Her first book, On the Back Seat, a crime novel featuring an interesting cast of characters, is a page-turner set in the Athens of today, a city beset by the crisis. It won the PUBLIC prize for Best Greek Novel of 2017, and the second book in the proposed trilogy, Halcyon Days, has just been published. She has also written a previous book, Hardcore, under a pseudonym, which has been made into a film. Two of her plays have been staged in the Greek theatre.
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and live in Athens, where I write crime novels and theatre scripts. My first two books, On the Back Seat and Halcyon Days, are both published by IKAROS publishers and are part of the Athens Trilogy featuring Superintendent Haris Kokkinos. One can understand a lot about me and my relationship to the city and its inhabitants by reading my books, which are all set in Athens.
What were the major difficulties you’ve faced in the last five years?
The most serious difficulties are connected to matters of plot, seeing as I pose my readers the problems and questions that concern me in the first place. The social commentary I attempt and the deeper psychological analysis of my heroes unveil the difficulties and problems I have faced over the last few years.
Did anyone in particular inspire you or help you?
I’m inspired and helped by the people who live around me.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
My hope is to have good health so that I can continue to make plans.
What are your hopes for Greece? What changes do you hope to see happen?
My wish is for the country to acquire a plan so that it can aspire to better days.
Have you considered leaving? If so, where would you like to go, and why?
I considered it seriously three years ago, because many people close to me are now living abroad. But when I decided to dedicate myself to my great passion, which is writing, I stopped thinking about it.
If you have already decided to leave what would make you stay?
If I decided to leave, I don’t think I’d change my mind. Usually I think things through before deciding.
Are you actively doing anything to help with the situation? Is there something you would like to do?
I think of writing as my positive contribution to the situation. There’s always more to be done, but it has to be achieved first, before being discussed.
How do you see Greece in 5, 10 years?
I can’t see that far.
How do you cope with obstacles and frustrations in your everyday life ?
With optimism. I see obstacles as a challenge, otherwise probably I would not be writing crime fiction
What are the positive sides of living in Greece? Have you had any good experiences lately?
The people, the people, and, again, the people. As are people in every country. In every difficulty it’s always solidarity which touches me and thankfully there is a lot of that surrounding us.
Read more about Eftichia on her site, here (in Greek).
(The translation of the book titles is my own.)