Women’s fiction author, Lisa Darcy, is about to release her eighth novel, My Big Greek Holiday. But this one has a difference: it has been previously published. Read on to find out more about this heart-warming romcom and the process of giving a book a makeover.
Can you please share the blurb for My Big Greek Holiday?
Will she get more than a tan?
On an all-expenses-paid holiday, Claudia Taylor jets off to glorious Santorini with her two best friends, Tara and Sophie. But when her simple task of handing over a flash drive becomes complicated, and the handsome Jack tries to romance her, Claudia’s holiday becomes less relaxing than she’d hoped.
Sophie, a former high-flying lawyer turned mother of one, is no longer sure what the future holds. Tara is toying with the idea of leaving her less-than-satisfying job to realise a long-held ambition to be a writer. After taking stock of their lives will they all find what they are looking for?
One thing is for sure, life will never be the same for Claudia and her friends after their much-needed holiday in paradise.
My Big Greek Holiday is a funny, thoughtful novel about friendship, romance, laughter and shopping – with some drunken karaoke thrown in.
How did the idea originate for My Big Greek Holiday?
I went to Santorini for a holiday with my then-husband. We stayed for three weeks exploring this wonderful island. So, I had my setting, although I confined the story to a duration of two weeks.
I couldn’t help thinking it would be idyllic to be there with a couple of girlfriends. What would happen if each of the women were at crossroads and something pivotal happened on that holiday to change each of their lives forever? And so my characters evolved.
Claudia has a birthday in Santorini but doesn’t have a lot to celebrate. She’s in a dead-end job and a dead-end relationship. On the plus side, she gets to take her two best friends to Santorini, where she has to make contact with her boss’s new investor.
Tara is a magazine writer who wants to write a book, a very realistic scenario. She’s written lots of openings, but then loses her way. On a personal level, she’s struggling with her sexuality. Her religious family find it unacceptable for her to be anything other than hetro, married with two kids.
Sophie is married and brings her 3-year-old son on the holiday. Once a successful lawyer, she married a guy who already had an older child. Now, she’s the second wife, a step-mum to a teenager and feels like she’s lost control of her life. She battles an eating disorder and postnatal depression.
How did My Big Greek Holiday come to be republished?
After Bloodhound Books picked up Lily’s Little Flower Shop (See previous interview), they were interested to see my backlist. I chose Claudia’s Big Break (the previous title) because it would be published in the European summer, so a story about a holiday in Santorini in the sunshine would be a great fit. They liked it and ran with it.
How much did you change?
Quite a bit. I don’t generally reread my published novels, so ten years after Claudia’s Big Break was published, I was able to see it with fresh eyes.
Bloodhound gave it a new title and a new cover, which achieve exactly what they are meant to – they scream holiday, sunshine and fun.
To move with the times, I updated the pop culture references.
These days, with so much choice for books laid out on social media, the race to hook readers’ interest is tough. I paid close attention to the first chapters, cutting some of the backstory and jumping straight into the action.
I wanted to give Sophie’s issues more depth, with a stronger focus on mental health. When I wrote it, I researched anorexia, to show how anxiety manifests in eating disorders, but I didn’t name postnatal depression. Adding this diagnosis was a really worthwhile change in today’s edition.
What tips can you give to authors from this experience?
The whole novel has to be tight. Every scene has to be there for a reason and propel the story forward. Every word has to count. Really focus on your first sentence, paragraph, page and chapter. Get to the action as quickly as possible to keep the reader hooked.
It’s important to be objective with your own writing, so resting your manuscript is vital. Put it aside and come back to it in three months. It’s one of the most difficult disciplines for writers to master when we’ve been living and breathing those characters for years. You have your 80K words and really love the result, but you need to take a break if you are to edit more effectively.
My next novel will be published by Bloodhounds in April 2022 – it’s about whether or not to keep secrets. Meanwhile, I’m revamping a couple of other books from my backlist, as well as working on another story set in Clearwater, the setting for Lily’s Little Flower Shop. While Lily is a standalone story, I think there’s a lot more to be said about her coastal town. This new book will also be a standalone but will feature some of the same characters.
You can follow Lisa on:
You can buy My Big Greek Holiday through any online bookstore. This is the link to Australian Amazon.
I have the joy of working with Lisa as her editorial coach at New Authors Collective.
Next time: Inna Rothmann on Poetry, Expat Life and Quantum Physics and her poetry collection, Multiversed.