I received an email about the Greek Vampire Series, asking what inspired the writing of the first novel, Greek Island Vampires and how that writing progressed to the next two books in the series. The long answer is that two separate incidents led to the initial first chapter and everything took off from there.
The setting, Alonissos, Skopelos and Skiathos was set because we flew, years ago, to Skiathos, took a fast cat to Skopelos and loved it there. The small island influence was so moving that the following year we holidayed for two weeks on the less populated Alonissos. The holiday rep took us as far as Skopelos and told us that from there we were on our own. Hardly anyone on the island, she told us, spoke English but, if we had a serious problem, the town's chandler had a son with some English. Things have changed since our visit, commercialism has increased and the island is a site of scientific importance and attracts many holiday makers.
The idea that a young Greek girl could grow up on Alonissos and write a diary, explaining that she yearned for the big world outside the island, a trip to the more commercial island of Skopelos and, in her wildest dreams, ending up on Skiathos, was easy to imagine. At the time, Maria has no idea that she will end up, eventually, working in Athens for an officially non-existent government department that catches vampires and either trains them to catch more, or exterminates them. For that is the subject of Greek Mainland Vampires and the third novel where Cyprus asks Athens for help with keeping the population of vampires down in the popular Greek Cypriot Vampires.
The real inspiration for the first novel came from a much later holiday, sat around a swimming pool, relaxing and sun bathing on Skiathos. It was early morning, we were first around the pool and the sun was drying off the pool water from an early swim. Having claimed two sunbeds it felt strange that the women who then joined us at the pool (Italian women) chose the sunbeds directly next to us when there were obviously plenty of empty beds.
Morning fog after a night of ouzo after a meal with wine meant at first sight that these Italian women were fascinated by my (non-existent) physique but it didn't take long to work out that they had favourite sun beds that they chose every day. One was much older than the other and my iPad was already collecting words with the familiar "what if" refrain of the author's mind. Of course it wasn't me in the "what if" scenario, it was the handsome and probably rich Jeffrey and a chapter of him meeting these two vampires was soon rattled off. It was meant as a first chapter but soon became chapter two with chapter one soon becoming an introduction to Maria, on Alonissos, deciding to leave home and look for work and ending up as a maid in the villa owned by the two Italian vampire women.
All the following chapters, including Jeffrey getting used to vampire senses, sitting in a harbour-side taverna on Skiathos and smelling coffee and orange juice, along with the aroma of passing women, came from Skiathos and the fact that lots goes on around the harbour.
Two weeks of imagination and notes developed into 5AM writing sessions on returning home and that developed into three novels with another two in the top drawer in the same series.