Please Welcome Marie Symeou
Welcome to Immortality and Beyond. May I offer you a beverage?
Mystic brew, thanks, and thank you very much for having me.
Now that we're all settled in my lair, I'm de-bite-fully glad you stopped in.
BK: Please tell us a little bit about your current release...
MS: It's called Frozen In Time and it's a historical fantasy set in Ancient Greece. It is a vampire romance of eternal love, twin flames, the afterlife, reincarnation and how the bond of love can never be broken. A love that can transcend anything. Even death or banishment to otherworldly realms, or the transformation of the lovers into immortal beings.
BK: What inspired this particular novel/book?
MS: My love for vampires. I've been intrigued by them since I was a young girl watching Christopher Lee as Dracula in the old Hammer movies. As for this particular novel, I was inspired by Anne Rice's Interview with The Vampire and I wanted to explore how it feels to be a vampire. I originally wrote a novel about a 12th century vampire named Philip, though by then he was already ancient since he came from Greece in the 4th Century BC. As I was writing that novel, I realized that his story needed to be told thoroughly and not just as a backstory being dropped in here and there in the 12th century novel. I then decided it was better to start at the beginning and so Frozen In Time was born.
BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MS: I've always loved writing, ever since I was at school. English was my favorite subject. I began making little magazines as a child and then wrote short stories. In my teens I progressed to song lyrics and wanted to try and make it as a singer. Unfortunately, my singing career didn't really take off and so I returned to writing. By then I had started a few novels but never really got as far as finishing them. It wasn't until I got into vampires that I found what I really wanted to write about.
BK: How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
MS: I think my voice, the way I see things, sets me apart from others. Also, I think my passion for history and mythology, my love for mixing things and including the odd real life historical character might make me stand out in the current vampire fiction market. For example, Alexander the Great appears briefly in this novel, and I have some other historical figures planned for future books in the series.
BK: What was the hardest thing about writing this story?
MS: Endless research and rewriting, hoping to get historical facts right. I worried a lot over that and it really held me back, so it has taken me a lot longer to complete this novel than I expected. However, at the end of the day this is a fantasy, so I am not going to apologize if I did get anything wrong. I have included an author's note in the book just to clarify that. I did enjoy the research, though. I have a very inquisitive mind and love to learn new things, and as I said, I am passionate about history.
BK: What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
MS: Well, Philip is my main character so I enjoy being with him and writing through him. There is a lot of depth to him and I find him intriguing. I didn't think it would be easy to write about a main character who is male, but I actually found it quite fun. Also, how can I not love someone that can only love one woman eternally? I also like Scylla, the vampiric sea monster, because there is a reason why she is so evil and so she was fun to write too. I enjoyed exploring the depth of her character as well.
BK: Which was your favorite scene to write?
MS: Oh, I think there were many. My first scene, the prologue, even though I rewrote it so many times. Also loved the maenad scenes at the beginning and some of the scenes about the afterlife and the underworld.
BK: Will this become a series? If so, what inspired it to be a series?
MS: Yes, it will. I realized when writing it that there is so much backstory and so much more stuff that needs to be told that I can't tell it all in one book. Being so ancient, Philip has a lot of potential as a main character and there is the chance to explore his immortality while writing about certain historical eras at the same time.
BK: Now for a little fun, and into your everyday life, What is a day in your life like?
MS: Well, on a writing day I am usually woken up by my kitten Athena at 6 am. I feed her and make a coffee and struggle hard not to climb back into my bed. I go online and check emails, etc and I might play with Athena a bit before sitting at the laptop, trying desperately to avoid all the usual internet distractions like Facebook and Twitter and start writing. I find that mornings and early evenings are my best times to write. In the afternoon I tend to get lethargic and lose the ability to remain focused.
BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
MS: Reading, singing, watching TV, playing with my kitten, walking.
BK: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
MS: I am not as young as I look.
BK: What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
MS: I will read almost anything of interest. My favorite authors are the Brontes, Mary Shelley, Anne Rice and Philippa Gregory.
BK: Please tell us one piece of advice you were given as an author that you carry with you when you write?
MS: Write what you are passionate about and believe in yourself. I recently emailed Anne Rice and much to my surprise she emailed me right back and gave me some good advice. She told me to protect my voice and believe in myself, to ignore critics and just go for it. Very wise words, I think.
BK: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?
MS: The same as above. Believe in yourself.
BK: What are you currently working on?
MS: Book 2, the sequel to Frozen In Time.
BK: Where can readers connect with you?
MS: Here are my links:
BIO: Author, scriptwriter, singer/songwriter and main vocalist for Violet Eternity.
"Born in London (where I still live), I have been an avid reader all my life, and as a child I loved to write short stories and make little books and magazines out of exercise books. As an escapist and dreamer, I find it hard to deal with real life and enjoy losing myself in music and writing and creating my own fantasy worlds. It is what I've always done.
As a teenager I wanted to become a singer and hopefully a writer after that. Well, I tried the singing and it didn't work out the way I wanted (or dreamed). So, as I got more heavily into lyric writing and poetry, and since I loved reading novels, I decided I would write one too. As I have always had such a vivid imagination I thought it would be easy, but of course, you need more than just imagination to be a novelist. After honing my craft for many years I am now ready to reveal my first novel to the world. Hope you enjoy reading it, and if you do, don't forget to check back for news of the next novel in the series."
Set in Ancient Greece, at the time of Alexander the Great, a time when the spirit world of gods and goddesses and other immortal beings bleeds into the world of mortals, Frozen in Time is an engaging story of a love that can transcend anything. Even death or banishment to otherworldly realms, or the transformation of the lovers into immortal beings.
After the death of his wife in childbirth, Philip, grief stricken and suicidal, joins the army of his half brother Alexander, with whom he has a very uneasy relationship. But the world of immortals has other plans for him and the vampiric monster, Scylla, plays on his grief by seducing him in the form of his dead wife. Horrified when he discovers the truth and that he too is now one of the immortals, it becomes his life’s quest to escape Scylla, find a way of destroying her forever and also reunite himself with his beloved wife in one way or another.
Philip could not believe his eyes. His Amaranthea. Sweet Amaranthea - a temptress in the silver moonlight.
He felt as if he were in a trance. Perhaps all the wine he had consumed had gone to his head. Trying to blink the vision away, he realized this was no alcohol-induced apparition. No, this beauty was alive. Solid. As clearly defined as the craggy rock at his side, a glorious sight clad in a scarlet cloak.
Strange mysterious music rang out as she called his name. Bewitching. Caressing, ‘Come my love, be mine.’
Without a second thought, he took her jewelled hand and let her lead the way along the rocky mountainside.
The air was thick with dust. Down below in Darius’ camp the flames from the torches outside the tents glowed brightly, flickering in the light breeze.
Alexander had instructed his men to monitor Darius’ every move and nothing should have deterred Philip. But Amaranthea was his life.
Had been his life.
He wouldn’t even be in this war if it had not been for her. In all honesty, it meant nothing to him. He cared not whether he lived nor died.
Amaranthea led him to an opening buried deep within the jagged rock. Philip hesitated, turning to glance back at the campsite he had just left behind. Through the hazy air he could see in the distance the masses of tents where the army rested for the night. They had all feasted well, as if tonight was their last, in preparation for tomorrow’s battle. By walking away, he had betrayed them all. Betrayed Alexander.
But the life of a soldier didn’t suit him. The thought of the terror and bloodshed he witnessed made him want to vomit. He had no real desire to kill anymore. And yet he had. So many times. It was what he was paid to do. But there were also times when he simply wished that an enemy spear would soon put an end to his misery.
Amaranthea’s voice drew him out of his dark thoughts, ‘Come, my love,’ she said, the breeze catching her long red hair.
He turned towards her, meeting her dark gaze. How could I have wished to die? he thought. We are together again.
They stepped into the vast cave. It was pitch black, but as Philip followed Amaranthea she seemed to glow, lighting his way up ahead. Philip blinked in astonishment at the network of passages that clearly came into focus.
As they walked the light illuminated something. Philip jumped back as the figure of a winged serpent with a woman’s head leapt out at him. The cave was painted. Walls covered in images, both beautiful and terrible. Recoiling, Philip caught the image of a serpent woman devouring the head of a child.
‘Why have you brought me here?’ he asked.
No reply. He paused, staring at the figure of Amaranthea walking steadily ahead of him. More paintings of monstrous creatures and women with half-serpent bodies, of winged maidens and warriors with snakes and torches in their hair came to view.
‘Why have you brought me here?’ he asked again.
Still no answer, but he could not help but follow Amaranthea towards a welcoming gleam of light. The sound of gently plucked harp strings floated in the air towards them, a melody so calming to a man whose ears had grown accustomed to the cries of war.
On entering the chamber, the intense heat hit Philip’s face. Fires and torches blazed brightly. Shadows from the flames danced on the ochre-painted walls, and fragrant oils burned - awakening his senses to memories of times long passed. On the ground, he noticed a scattering of rose petals. Whatever this dwelling-place was, he soon began to feel at ease.
Amaranthea guided him towards a large bed draped in shiny silk of crimson and gold. Philip sat his aching body on it. He so longed for a good night’s sleep. To lie back on those sumptuous cushions.
Amaranthea stood before him, holding his gaze. Her dark eyes flashed. Removing her scarlet cloak, she let it drop to the ground. Naked, her pale skin glistened in the glowing torch light, her red hair cascading over her shoulders. Philip had never seen anything so beautiful. So perfect, like a goddess. Overwhelmed with desire, he pulled her to him...
They made love. He had waited a long time for this.
‘Amaranthea,’ he cried.
Then everything changed. She hissed like a snake. Alarmed, Philip opened his eyes and to his disgust, he found himself staring into a pair of red demonic eyes. This was no longer Amaranthea but a strange woman that hissed like a serpent. In place of Amaranthea’s slender hands, sharp claws reached for him.
He tried to move away but it was too late. Something sharp pierced him in the neck and he felt his blood oozing out from the wound. He roared with pain. The creature pinned him down and began to suck his blood, licking and devouring it. He grew weaker. Then once again, he heard Amaranthea’s sweet voice.
‘My love, you are dying. I will give you back your life if you promise to be with me always. Until the end of time. I will not let the gods take you from me. You are far too beautiful for that. But you must be mine. Always. You will never love another. Do I have your word?’
He could barely speak. ‘Yes.’
Blood gushed into his mouth. He tasted it and hungered for more.
As more hot blood flowed into his veins, his heart throbbed strongly, its pulse heavy in his ears. He shuddered, felt cold, shivered. His eyesight began to flicker. Images of his life flashed before him. His childhood. His mother. His brothers. His wedding to Amaranthea …
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me Marie. I wish you the best of luck in the future.