About the Author:
Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on
Long Island with
her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on
her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com,
you can find her cooking for her family and friends.
Her debut novel, EVANTHIA’S GIFT, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in
, and their journey to Lesvos, Greece . Her
recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine. America
As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the book.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from
For updates on the release of Book Two of The Gift Saga
For More Information
About the Book:
Title: Evanthia’s Gift
Author: Effie Kammenou
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance
A LOVE STORY SPANNING DECADES - DEEPENED BY TRADITION, HERITAGE, LOSS, STRUGGLE, PERSEVERANCE AND LOYALTY.
In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.
The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.
EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.
Praise for EVANTHIA’S GIFT:
Magnificent 5 Stars
Exceptional, outstanding and award worthy were the first words that popped into my mind after I finished reading this book. A surface description of this story could be easily stated by saying; it’s a 50 year generational Greek family saga that’s filled with multiple love stories, devastating betrayals and heart breaking secrets. That depiction alone would be enough for anyone to be drawn to this book. But the essence of “Evanthia’s Gift” is held within each character created in this masterpiece; that is the true heart and soul of this book. I could feel the struggles within each to come to terms with their past mistakes, recognizing their self-worth, all the while staying steadfast to their beliefs and for some, finding inner peace. I started reading this book late one evening with the intent of reading a few chapters and then going to bed. I found myself incapable of putting the book down… several hours later I was wiping away the tears to get through the last chapter.
This superbly written emotional story comes full circle in the end, which reminds us all just how precious love and family really is.
--Stephanie Lasley, from The Kindle Book Review
For More Information
- Evanthia’s Gift is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
The air was unusually chilled for early November in NYC, but despite the dropping temperature, sweat trickled down the back of Anastacia’s neck. Unable to wish away the nausea that was taking hold of her and too ill to sit through her last class, she’d left the NYU campus, hopping on an uptown subway to return home for the day. She’d been lightheaded and queasy the past few days, but nothing as violent as what she was currently feeling. Waiting at the crosswalk, the aroma of garlic and cheese permeating from a nearby café antagonized the volcano that was about to erupt in her belly, and she prayed she would get home without incident.
At last, Anastacia ducked into her apartment building, closing her eyes, and offering a silent thank you to the heavens for the safety and comfort of her home. Once inside her foyer, she removed her coat, hung it in the closet and glimpsed herself in the mirror hanging over the Bombay Chest. Pale skin and sunken eyes replaced her usual olive complexion and healthy glow.
I just need to sleep off whatever this is.
Her husband, Jimmy, was not expected home from work for several hours, and she hoped to be feeling better by then.
Suddenly, the sound of voices startled her. She walked through the living room, following the noise. She almost forgot the motion sickness that forced her home earlier than usual as the guttural sound of rhythmic moans grew louder, interrupted only by a woman’s shrill laughter. Anastacia forced her legs to follow the cacophony and found herself at the doorway of her bedroom. She stood there frozen. Seeing, but not believing. Tears sprang to her eyes and dripped down her cheeks, and she began to shake uncontrollably. Anastacia attempted to speak, but bile rose to her throat, rendering her incapable of uttering a word. Then, a cry that seemed to escape from her very soul, revealed her presence.
In that second, they knew she’d witnessed their betrayal. Anastacia was taken aback by the look of pure satisfaction that flashed across the naked woman’s face. A face that held not even a hint of guilt or remorse.
Her husband’s face told a different story. Shock, fear, maybe regret. For getting caught. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but so many thoughts bombarded her mind that it was as though she were moving in slow motion. But then, the impact of it all slammed into her, and she ran.
Jimmy jumped up, wrapping himself in a bed sheet.
“Ana! Wait!” He pushed the woman off him. “Get off me! Move! Get out of here.”
Barely making it to the bathroom, Anastacia leaned over the toilet, expelling the contents of her stomach.
“Ana,” Jimmy pleaded, coming up beside her.
“Get away from me.” She wiped her mouth with a towel, straightened up and gathered all her strength to push past him.
Jimmy blocked the doorway.
“Ana mou, I’m sorry. Please. Let me explain. Sagapo. I love-”
“Don’t touch me or ever say that to me. You’re disgusting. You both are.” She ducked under his arm, but he grabbed her wrist.
His touch seared her to the bone and she pulled away. She was shamed, shaken—broken, but there was no way she was going to let him see it.
“I said don’t touch me. Never come near me again.”
“It’s not what it looks like. She… it was all her. I never meant to… Ana, please.”
“It looked like it was both of you. Now let me pass,” she spat. He lifted his hands in surrender and stepped aside as she pushed her way past him through the narrow bathroom doorway.
In the hallway, the woman stood, watching, gloating. Although she and Anastacia both had dark brown hair and similar
Mediterranean features, she lacked the poise and grace
that Anastacia exuded.
“Get out of my home,” Ana ordered her. “I never want to see you again.” Anastacia stormed out her front door, slamming it behind her. Doubling over, she thought she might heave again, but she drew in a deep breath and continued down the hall to Soula’s apartment. She frantically knocked on the door. When she opened it, Soula took one look at her best friend and she hugged her.
“Ana mou, what is it?
Between gasps and cries, Anastacia relayed the entire humiliating scene, as well as Jimmy’s despicable attempt to explain the unforgivable.
“What do I do now?”
“We go upstairs and talk to your uncle,” Soula said. “He will know how to handle this.”
“How can I tell him? What will my parents say? How could I be so stupid? What will Uncle Tasso think?”
“Of you? Nothing different than before. Of them? They will get what they deserve. Come. We will go together. I will tell your uncle if you cannot.”
An Interview with the Author:
Has writing been something you always did, or was it a discovered talent that came to you at a later point?
I know that many writers say that they always knew they wanted to write, and they’d done so even as a young child. I can’t claim that to be true. All I ever wanted as long as I could remember, was to be an actor. I even majored in theatre in college. But I ended up working in the optical field for over thirty years. My need for creativity was satisfied in several ways. I wrote and directed a couple of children’s play for my church and my children’s class. I love to bake, so I took it to the next level, designing cookie favors for special occasions, and finally, writing my own food blog, sharing recipes, traditions and stories. I wrote a few articles for a regional magazine, but it wasn’t until my mother passed away that I sat down to write a full length novel.
Do you remember how it felt when you were offered that first contract? What emotions stand out in your memory?
I am still waiting for that first contract. I’m self-published. I feel very passionate about this book, and it has been received well. I can tell you how I felt when fans of the book began contacting me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was relieved, of course. But more than anything I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Not only because I’d completed the book, but more because I had touched readers, and they were responding.
Is this a first book, part of a series, or the latest in a long line of many?
Evanthia’s Gift is the first book in The Gift Saga. There will be three books and possibly a companion cookbook.
What is the oddest thing that’s happened to you since you chose to become a professional writer? Will it ever make it into a book, or is that a secret?
Nothing really odd has happened. Everything has been quite awesome. I’ve had people contact me that I hadn’t spoken to in forty years to tell me they loved the book. I had a woman find me and come to my job so that I could sign her book. I was chatting with a woman one day, and I mentioned I wrote a book. I gave her my card and she said, “That’s you’re book? I just downloaded it on my kindle.” This was very exciting for me.
Do you have your next book underway, or other titles in the planning stages?
I am currently writing book two. I have no idea what the title will be, though. Originally, Evanthia’s Gift had a completely different title. It wasn’t until my last revision that I changed the title. I won’t know the title of Book Two until it is completed.
Do you have a favourite genre and why? Is it one you write in, read in, or both?
Women’s fiction is the genre I read more than any other. I knew that my basic story was a love story, but I wanted it to have substance. With women’s fiction, I was able to combine a love story, a family saga and the real life struggles women encounter. The splashes of history, culture and heritage make it more interesting, as well as relatable to many readers.
What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? Does it change from book to book or remain the same?
When I get an idea, I can’t wait to get it down in writing. This is my first book, so I have no idea if it will change, but I imagine the actual story and character development will always be the most satisfying part of the process.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think would come from the collaboration?
As much as I love the classics – Steinbeck, Austen, and Shakespeare, I am going to name a contemporary author. Sylvain Reynard. His poetic use of language and his beautiful descriptions are breathtaking. He is an Old World romantic in a contemporary world. He brings culture, art, literature and history to his beautiful romances, elevating them to something greater than the genre implies. Together, we would definitely write a romance with a backdrop of tradition, and the struggle between good and evil.
Where can readers find you on the web?
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