This post is a very special Spotlight on one of Caught Within Frame’s contributors. Nektaria Markaki had an exciting thing happen to her in 2015, she became a published author! Her book Unmapped was published in the fall of 2015. I asked her a few questions about her book and will share them here.
Hi, my name is Nekataria Markaki and I live in the beautiful capital of Greece, Athens. To be exact, in a city just 20 minutes outside of Athens that is called Aegaleo.
When did you start writing fiction?
I started writing fiction during my teen years and continued until I was 22, if I remember correctly. Then, due to life and its problems, I stopped and I picked up where I had left off, when I turned 30.
Tell us a little about how you started out and what inspired you to write.
It was my immense need to express myself that pushed me towards writing. As a teenager I wasn’t very talkative and I hid well my emotions, so I guess you can say that everything got piled up inside me and erupted like a volcano in the form of writing. Also, my need to escape was a catalyst to dive into writing. I combined those two, and this how I got here in the end!
How did Unmapped come to life?
Unmapped came to life after much consideration, sleepless nights and years of trying to write down a storyline that would be fiction, yes, but something that I- or anyone else- could live. I started writing down ideas about how I wanted the story to evolve, five years ago, but I had trouble expressing my thoughts on paper, so I stopped writing. Then two years ago, something clicked inside me and the story just came out… it took me a month to write it and two years to edit it and give it form.
When did the story first come to you and demand you write it?
It was five years ago after a discussion I had with my sister about all the things we were dreaming of doing and never accomplished. It started out as a serious talk that escalated to a humorous one with her making to-do lists. That was when it hit me, actually. I spent the night thinking of it, about how I was holding back myself from taking risks and I decided to write about it.
What is Unmapped about?
Unmapped is the story of uptight Lexie, a woman in her 20’s that realizes that all this time her needs and wants were suppressed by what her parents were forcing on her. After a silly incident at a job interview, a after she discovers a to-do list that she was compiling as a teenager, she reconsiders her life’s choices and decides that she should change her life. She finds herself in a desperate need to erase everything that’s written on her to-do list, starting with number 19 which is to take a journey around Europe. She and her carefree friend and roommate, venture to a trip so that Lexie can find out what she truly wants, and along the way they find friendship, companionship, understanding, love and themselves. It’s a romantic love story, with humor and beautiful sceneries, and so much flirting!
How did you end up having it become published?
First I started publishing the story on Wattpad, a writing platform, and I was excited to see that it gained much attention. It got more than 30K reads which was a fantastic number for a story written by a non-native English speaker, so after the Greek version of Unmapped got the opportunity to get published by a publishing company in Greece, I thought that I should take the risk and publish it in English too. So I chose self-publishing, and now it’s available on Amazon.
How has does it feel to have a book published?
It’s a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. It’s also a bit nerve wrecking but to me it is worth it. Each time I see someone getting a copy, I glow from happiness. It’s my baby and I wish for people to love it as much as I do! It might not be perfect but I believe its imperfections make it special!
Where can people purchase a copy of Unmapped?
Unmapped is available on Amazon around the world in both paperback and kindle.
What languages is it available in?
English and Greek. The Greek version is being distributed by Dyas Publishing only in Greece, and the English via Amazon.
Is it a standalone book or a start of a series?
It’s a standalone but the ending gives the impression that there could be a new book in the future. Actually, the Greek readers have had the chance to already read the second book which is called, Unmapped in Greece, but I doubt that I will translate it in English… So I guess I can say that the English version is a standalone.
Anything else you would like to add?
I want to give my love to Gretchen Earnest who was patient with me, and spent endless hours editing Unmapped in order to make my dream come true. Also, I’d love to thank author M.A Phipps (Ultraxenopia) who shaped the book, made the cover and the fantastic interior and Nadia Sarri for checking the text for mistakes. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have made it and the dream of publishing Unmapped, would have remained a dream.
Also I want to thank everyone who bought the book and took this journey with me, and with Lexie and Manu.