You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.
0 0


Interview Collection


Journalist – Giannis Ksinopoulos
The same interview was published in the American Hellenic News.

This is not America, (or … is it?) What is your conclusion?
When I started writing the stories for my MA in England in 2013, I didn’t have this title in mind. I wrote five stories, submitted them, got a good grade, and over the next few years wrote fifteen more. I chose the title of the collection, or rather, the characters of the stories chose the title about a few months before the completion of the book which took me about seven years to write. During the last year of the translation from American English to Greek, and with the help of my translator, we added cultural elements that have a direct and indirect relation to the title. My conclusion is that, no, this is not America, but in some passages of several short stories in the book, our country looks like it. Greece, like many other countries, are influenced by American culture on many and various levels of everyday life: clothing, technology, gadgets, literature, cinema, manners, language, etc.

Have you been influenced by American literature? Who is your favorite American author?
I have been influenced a great deal by American literature, which differs in many ways from European literature. Although there are clear correlations between them, there are also significant differences in the way the two countries use the English language. I would venture to say that an intellectual divide is endemic between the two countries. In the writings of the American prose writers, we can discern a new voice, a voice freed from the social and expressive limitations of the old country, England.

Freedom, which is the essence of every American ideology, along with the Puritan heritage, the rich tradition of Native American oral narratives, geographic and ethnic diversity, the pursuit of the new and the great, constant innovation, and a strong westward drive towards the shining sea, managed to sculpt the spirit, soul, and emotions of the American writer resulting in the creation of a distinct and major idiom that only American literature captures in its entirety. George Bernard Shaw once said that England and America are two nations separated by a common language. And I understand this deeply because I write and read in American English

After reading the works of European poets and writers, such as Homer, Cervantes, Dostoyevsky, Virginia Woolf, Chekhov, Camus, Kafka, Calvino, etc. I turned my gaze to the other side of the Atlantic. So, I’ve been reading mostly American literature for the past two decades.

I like Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Paul Bowels, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, The Beat, Cormac McCarthy, Gillian Flynn, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Stephen King. I have not only read the above authors’ work, but I have also studied the way they use literary tools in their writing and the way they perceive and render the reality they experience from the material, spiritual and imaginary world, both themselves and their characters on paper. University graduate programs teach you useful and important things about literature and writing, but if you want to achieve a memorable result and find your unique voice, it requires a lot of reading and writing daily.

Would you like to see any of your short stories made into a movie?
Yes, why not? It would be great. I imagine it is the dream of every writer to see the magical power of his words transformed into images on canvas thus defeating death twice. Of the sixteen short stories in my collection, five can be linked together. A screenwriter and a director could take them and create an interchangeable film as Robert Altman did in Shortcuts, using Raymond Carver’s short stories.

You have already won an award for the world’s best cocktail book? Was this the beginning of your publishing adventure?
The book won the World’s Best Cocktail Book award in 2007 at the London Book Fair out of thirty titles. What made the book stand out was the literary value of the manuscript, its structure, and its content.

I cannot say with certainty that the book was the trigger for my writing-publishing adventure. Yes and no. By then I had already finished a distance creative writing course and made a few failed attempts at writing short stories. But it was very difficult because I did not have the necessary knowledge to complete one of the most difficult forms of writing.
After that and with my book published in six countries, some friends of mine encouraged me to keep writing. And so, after two more seminars, one in Barcelona and one at Stockholm’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing from Bath Spa University in England, I started writing daily.

Reading your bio, I see a long journey to different parts of the world.
I have lived, studied, and worked in Norway, Sweden, England, and Spain. I was away from Greece for twenty-seven years. I have also traveled to many countries around the world, but for the last five years, I have been living and working in Thessaloniki. No matter how many countries I have traveled to, Greece has always been in my heart. I am proud to be Greek, but this country hurts me sometimes.

Does globalization result in uniformity across countries and individuals everywhere?
I don’t believe that. First, the term globalization might be almost sixty years old, but it is not a modern phenomenon. It has existed since ancient times. During the era of Pericles, the port of Piraeus was bustling with life. Traders from Ionia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Persia, and other parts of the then-known world, exchanged not only their products but also great thoughts and ideas. If Pythagoras hadn’t left Samos to go to Egypt and Babylon where he was initiated into religious and scientific centers for over twenty years, I don’t think he would have left such a great legacy behind. If Pericles had not married the charismatic and brilliant Aspasia, who had come from Asia Minor bringing with her enviable mental and spiritual wealth, things in the glorious Athens of that time might have taken a completely different course.

In my humble opinion, I don’t think globalization creates uniformity across countries and individuals. Apart from a jumble of new ideas and perceptions, it brings multi-culturalism into our lives, and I dare say, though I am against many aspects of globalization, it has changed the world for the better. What I’ve realized after living so many years abroad is that globalization favored my peaceful coexistence with different people, helped me learn their language, customs, and their traditions, and managed to assimilate the positive elements of their culture without losing my Greek identity. This helped me broaden my horizons and acquire a cosmopolitan aura and a different and fresher way of looking at the world. At the same time, I was allowed to realize the essential ingredients that make each person and nation unique.

Are you already writing your next book? Will it be a novel?
I am soon finishing my first novel, Dark Paths. It is a multifaceted and dynamic project that takes place in Thessaloniki, in a village up in the mountains of Macedonia, as well as in Athens. I started writing it in 2016. I was influenced by Hemingway’s short story, The Killers. Hence, I decided to write a story, but the story became a novella and then it started to take the form of a novel. In this emotional, dramatic, and detective novel, I try to explore if love is stronger than hate if violence is the answer to our problems, and if memories are stronger than reality. And finally…is there life after death?

Leave a Comment