Greek-American Author Effie Kammenou
Effie Kammenou is one of those people whose enthusiasm draws you in. Over the years, I’ve reviewed her previous works and we’ve gotten to know each other — though we have yet to meet in person. Effie is one of the first authors I reviewed when I started WindyCity Greek magazine. She was incredibly supportive and helped spread the word. This talented author is at once humble, yet always willing to help an up-and-comer.
Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with Effie about her forthcoming novel, Love is What You Bake of It (self-published) set to release on March 24. We spoke about the series, the new book, what’s next, and more.
Keep reading to find out.
About Effie Kammenou
Born in New York City, Effie was raised in Queens and on Long Island. She traces her Greek roots to the islands of Kefalonia, Mytilini, and to Athens.
Did she always want to be a writer? Always creative and a lover of the arts, Effie wanted to be an actress.
“I always had creative bones,” she explained. “I was a theater major but ended up not doing anything with it. I got a practical job, raised my children.”
A milestone birthday changed everything. “I wanted to do something to define myself. My kids were growing up, heading off to college. I thought, ‘Now it’s my time.’ I’d go back and take acting lessons and get back into theater.”
Then one day she sat down to write.
“I didn’t know it would be a book. I started building this character, Anastacia, based on my mother’s personality, how she came to the States. I didn’t write her story, but It helped me to work through losing her. I kept writing and writing. That’s how it all began.”
She’s still amazed at what she’s accomplished.
“I can’t believe I wrote four books, much less one. When you want to do something, just go for it. There’s nothing to lose. Fear held me back, but I finally did it. Maybe the scariest thing was pressing the ‘publish’ button and wondering if people would like it or think it was garbage. Be brave. It’s OK to do something different.”
‘The Gift Saga‘
Effie’s debut became ‘The Gift Saga’ series. It’s a gutsy move for a first-time author, but Effie rocked it, garnering mostly five-star reviews. The books followed a Greek family living in New York. Each book was inspired by a different generation.
Buy ‘The Gift Saga Trilogy’ here
Find links below to read my reviews of the three books.
The Meraki Series
Work on the new series began right after the publication of Chasing Petaloudes, the final book in The Gift Saga. She didn’t want to write the same kind of story. This time, Effie wrote a more contemporary story.
“I knew I wanted to write a new series, but I wanted this one to be a bit lighter. The new series doesn’t get into heavy issues to weigh people down. It’s shorter. There are some serious undertones, but nothing too heavy. Think of it as an escape read.”
She chose to call this “The Meraki Series’ for several reasons. The first books had identifiable Greek words in the titles, but this one did not.
“I wanted something to identify it as Greek-themed in some way.”
Because the girls in the book each have a passion for something, she kept coming back to the Greek word ‘meraki.’
Meraki: In essence, it means to put your soul into something – anything done with great passion, absolute devotion, and undivided attention – a labor of love.
It resonated. “They all have meraki. It was perfect.”
Each book will focus on a sibling in the Andarakis family.
Love is What You Bake of It
If you follow Effie’s blog, Cheffie’s Kitchen, you know Effie loves to cook and bake. At one point, she even drew up plans to open an international tearoom. While she chose a different path, she kept her notes, and used them in a story. Then a series of serendipitous events inspired other characters and storylines.
“From a handsome policeman who came to the store where I work, to another good-looking young man I saw in our community, I turned two quick incidents into a character. You’ll meet Max in the story.”
It’s set in the town where Effie lives. There’s even a surprise in there – characters from her previous series make an appearance. You’ll have to read it to find out!
Kally Andarakis is the daughter of Greek immigrants. She and her close-knit, extended family live and work in a small town on Long Island. Kally runs her own bakery. She’s traditional, but she’s an independent woman. She lives alone and takes care of her business. She’s passionate about her work and has a full life. A previous relationship ended tragically, making her swear off relationships forever. Years pass, but she keeps the door closed to love. She’s happy with the life she created. That’s enough. It has to be. But then one day a handsome policeman walks into her café. He turns out to be Greek but his own past stands in his way. Both full of fear, they fight their feelings. When the families meddle, complications arise. Will they finally take a chance on love?
Review of Love is What You Bake of It
Love is What You Bake of It is a sweet treat. This quick read is a tale about not letting your past affect your future. Effie Kammenou skillfully brings these characters to life. They’re people we know and love. And as she intended, it’s a great escape read. Don’t miss it.
Out March 24
The book will be released on March 24, 2020. Pre-order here. Join her Facebook group, Effie’s Reading Resort for updates about the book, a release party, and more. She’s already working on the next book in the series, and I can’t wait.
The book will also be available at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.
Love is What You Bake of It
By: Effie Kammenou
Published by: Effie Kammenou
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Maria A. Karamitsos is an Amazon affiliate. By clicking through the links, when you make a purchase, she will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps to support her writerly endeavors. Thank you!