Soulla is an author and former teacher who is about to publish a brand new book, The Summer Will Come. Soulla is involved in lots of interesting projects, including work with a Californian charity and Children’s creative writing classes. We chatted about how she got started as an author, what inspires her, belly dancing and much more!
How long have you been an author for, and how did you get started?
I’ve been an author since August 2017 when my first book Broken Pieces of Tomorrow was released. Gosh it sounds so fabulous saying that! But I’ve been a writer since I can remember although my writing career took off in January 2015 when I joined a creative Writing Class and I have never looked back. I began taking my writing more seriously when my mum fell ill with cancer and I felt like everything, including work, was closing in on me. I wanted to find a way to free my thoughts, my crumpled heart, my imagination and I suppose, to find something in my life I could control.
Who or what inspires you?
Quite simply LIFE! A tree, the weather, a table, a smile, a handshake, a message on Twitter, a photo, a song…
How do you stay motivated to write regularly, do you have a schedule? How do you deal with writers block?
Writing for me is as natural as breathing and so I just sit and write. I write most days but I don’t ever force myself to write. If I feel sluggish I take a day or a few hours off and I nearly always come back feeling refreshed, motivated, energised. I deal with any stuckiness (one of my many made up words) by reading, writing poetry, going out somewhere new, being grateful.
Where do you write? Do you have a quiet space at home, do you prefer noise?
I mainly write in my dining room at a huge reclaimed oak table, overlooking the garden. It’s bright, warm and south-facing and in the summer I have the French doors open. Sometimes I write with music playing – I love dance music – and other times in complete silence. If I’m out, I tend to write poems in my notebooks sat on the grass, on a step, on the bus, at a cafe.
Tell us about your latest book “The Summer Will Come”
I’m just finalising it and have a release date of 25th March 2018. It’s a book I hold dearly and close to my heart. It began with a conversation about my family’s move to London in the 50s and conversations snowballed and in my head I created scenes and a whole fictional story based around the real, and quite harrowing events of Cyprus at that time. I have since carried out many face-to-face interviews and have been privy to so many personal accounts and stories that I have been totally overwhelmed at times to the point of tears. However the book is a positive, celebration of life; a story of courage and loyalty, of family love and betrayal and the journey of two families as they embark on a new life in London. It’s passionate, it’s heart-felt and carries with it the depth, love and traditions of the Greek Cypriot people.
The main theme of the book will resonate with many who have immigration in their family’s history, for whatever reason, and today this is still very much a topic not far from our thoughts.
You run Children’s Creative Writing Classes, that must be really rewarding, tell us a bit about it
This is an on-going interest of mine which began with my niece seeking out advice on her own writing as well as my experience of teaching English Language on a one-to-one basis during my former teaching years in a local secondary school. Children have the most incredible imaginations and these should be encouraged and nurtured. Creative Writing does just that. It encourages the magic!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like anything that makes me smile whether it be belly-dancing – I’ve learnt professionally to belly dance – eating out with family and friends, reading, learning anything new. I’m one of those ‘full of wonder’ people who finds magic in everything I do. I love the sound of the sea; I think I was a mermaid in a previous life and collect shells and pebbles whenever I’m on holiday. My favourite colour also happens to be blue too.
I heard a rumour that you dream in French, I’m intrigued! Tell me more
I studied French at A-Level many years ago and although my spoken French is limited now I was fluent back then and occasionally I wake up and remember the most incredible dream where I’ve been babbling away in French, whole conversations, all night and the French floods back to me. It’s amazing!
What’s been your biggest achievement so far?
That has to be bringing up my three boys as a single mum, working full-time until two years ago. All I focused on was keeping our family home, and life as they knew it, so that my marriage break-up didn’t impact negatively on them. It’s been quite a journey and much of that time is depicted in my first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow which is available as an e-book but out as a paperback very soon!
What are your dreams for the future?
Wow! I have so many! I want to travel to India…a place where I can immerse myself in its colour, culture, religions and people. I want to continue writing and be recognised when I’m out; someone who follows me on Twitter recognised me at a party – it was the most amazing moment! I’d like to have my very own writing space. I’d like to continue to support writers of all ages reach their writing dreams whatever they may be. I’d like to see my boys happily married; I’m a glutton for happy ever afters.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I choose the hours! I don’t have to get dressed! I can have lunch whenever I want! I can be me!
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I send handwritten letters, every month, to women I will never meet who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer through a charity called Girls Love Mail. One of my letters, was chosen out of thousands, to be included in the Dear Friend book which is available via Amazon. It is one of my most giving past-times and it brings me both peace and comfort to know my words are giving a woman somewhere across the world a little love, encouragement and hope. It’s an honour to be involved with the charity.