Today I’m delighted to host the lovely Marissa Tejada whom I had the pleasure to meet online quite recently. She’s an accomplished freelance journalist and the author of the romantic comedy Chasing Athens. In her debut novel, she draws on her own experiences as a native New-Yorker moving to Athens a few years ago. Friends who’ve read her book said they couldn’t put it down and just had to keep going, chapter after chapter… Join me as I ask Marissa some questions to find out more!
When Ava Martin’s new husband unexpectedly ditches her months after they’ve relocated across the world to Greece, the heartbroken American ex-pat isn’t sure where home is anymore. On the verge of flying back to the States with her tail between her legs, she makes an abrupt decision to follow her gut instead and stay on in Greece. She soon discovers that the tumultuous, culture-rich Mediterranean country is coloring her life in a way no place else can, changing her forever. But is it where she belongs?
Ava’s new found independence throws her into the thick of Athenian reality, where she has brushes with violent police riots and gets a taste of both the alluring islands and the city nightlife. Despite pressure from her mother, uncertainty over her impending divorce, and unresolved issues with her long-estranged father weighing on her, she’s determined to make it on her own. With the help of two very colorful Greek friends, she laughs and learns while facing culture shock, language barriers and the charm of Mediterranean men, until a life-threatening medical emergency back home in sleepy Ithaca, N.Y., forces her to decide where she truly belongs – and what truly matters.
Find it now on Amazon
Hello Marissa and welcome to my blog!
It’s great to be here, thank you Fros!
What has inspired you to write this book?
In one word: Greece. Living abroad for some time put me through a whirlwind of amazing highs and lows. In the end those experiences as an expat pushed me to finally write my first women’s fiction novel.
For me, Greece is a place of contrasts. In the capital of Athens, you’ll find everything old and new, ancient and modern, fast and slow. Underground are these immaculate museum-like subways (opposite of my hometown NYC!) and then you might walk out to find unkempt crumbling neoclassical buildings and sidewalks to match. The culture is rich, the language interesting, the people are warm and very important – there isn’t one Greek dish I don’t like! Furthermore, no one can argue about how beautiful Greece is whether you visit the countryside, head to the mountains or to its awe inspiring islands. Making a living as a journalist and travel writer, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the charm and uniqueness of Greece.
What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
I’ve been writing my whole life just in different forms. I’ve built a decade plus career as a journalist and writer. I’ve learned to tell stories through various media including newspapers, television, magazines and even from a PR perspective. Now as a travel writer, I believe the best stories come about from the same formula. It starts with meeting people and a need to tell the story behind a place or destination. Writing a novel is a different kind of storytelling. I got to create my own world and the people that live in it. That’s a lot of creative power! I love writing as a journalist and writing as an author. Both types of writing have rewards that are worth going for. Both ways you end up telling a story.
What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
I love women’s fiction and contemporary romance/chick-lit. I also love picking up a classic novel I just have never gotten around to reading. I also keep non-fiction books in my TBR pile with topics like food and wine, politics and better yet – food politics!
Right now I am reading Sophie Kinsella’s latest called Wedding Night. I am also reading Luciana Cavallaro’s Aphrodite’s Curse. I am also reading The Melanie Chronicles which is written by another American expat living in Europe, Kim Golden. On the non-fiction side I am reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.
Oh, I love Sophie Kinsella! My favorite of all her books is Undomestic Goddess. Hilarious stuff… Luciana Cavallaro is an excellent writer too. So on to the next question: choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us which actor/actress you’d wish to play them in a film adaptation.
In my mind I switch back and forth for my main character, Ava Martin. I think of so many including Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Kreuk and Maggie Q. Anyone who has read Chasing Athens can guess that I definitely know who Stefanos Danos should be played by: George Clooney. Ahhh, George Clooney.
I’m guessing your male character is sophisticated and charming then! Good choice. Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
I have an author blog and every Monday I aim to post to “Writing Thoughts” which explores various thoughts about being a debut women’s fiction/romantic comedy author. I have reviews and press clippings listed on the site. I also use it to showcase my writing work for various media outlets as a journalist and travel writer and it is my one stop shop for people to connect to me via social media. I’d love to add more to it in the near future.
My website also connects to my travel blog which I’ve been posting on for a few years now. It’s called my greece, my travels and it aims to showcase my photography as I travel around Europe and Greece. I offer some service information but usually offer short and sweet blurbs and articles about the best of the places I’ve seen with the pictures telling the rest of the story. I can say that my travel blog was inspired by the beauty of Greece.
Thank you for this interview Marissa, and best of luck with your writing!
It’s been great Fros, thank you for inviting me!
Marissa Tejada is the author of the chick-lit/women’s fiction novel, Chasing Athens which was recently released as part of the Terpsichore contemporary romance imprint from award-winning digital romance publisher, Musa Publishing. Marissa, an American expat, found herself inspired to write the romantic comedy as she lived abroad.
Born and raised in New York, Marissa now calls Athens, Greece home where she is a full-time freelance writer specializing in food and wine, technology and travel writing. She contributes to numerous publications including Fodor’s Travel, Forbes Travel, Wine Enthusiast, Urban Travel Blog, Let’s Go with Ryan Air, IBM Midsize Insider- Reuters and more. She also enjoys blogging for her travel photography blog, my Greece, my travels.
As an award-winning journalist, Marissa has worked across the United States as a television reporter and anchor in Florida, Washington State and Upstate New York. She has also worked in newsrooms in Los Angeles and London and managed high tech PR in San Francisco. Marissa graduated cum laude from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College in Upstate New York.
Connect with Marissa
Site/Author Blog: www.chasingathens.com
Travel Blog: http://mygreecetravels.wordpress.com/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+MarissaTejada/about