I know you were born in Australia, and now live in Greece. What was the reason for moving?
Well, my step father is Greek and my parents and I had traveled from Australia to Greece for holiday every two or three years since I was two years old. It really became like a second home to me. Just before I graduated from university, I decided I wanted an adventure and resolved to move to Greece for a year or two to teach English. (I completed the last semester of my degree via correspondence, because I was impatient.) I guess that year or two has now turned into almost ten. Funny that.
How long did you live in Australia?
For the first 20 years of my life.
What was the hardest part about adapting to another culture?
Oh, don’t get me started. Let me just say that the bureaucracy here makes life more complicated than it should be. Let me give you an example. I don’t have any Greek blood, and for me to live here legally and obtain a residency permit, my step father had to adopt me. So that he did. But because I was no longer a dependent when it happened (over 18), I had to prove that I could pay my own way. So I needed to find a job in order to stay. But guess what? I couldn’t get a job without health insurance. And I couldn’t get health insurance without a residency permit. And I couldn’t get a residency permit without a job … erm, so what happened, you ask? I think it involved some sort of bribe … . Only problem now is, I have to renew it every two years for quite an expensive fee. And after ten years, I still can not get used to the fact that the people in the public sector, that deal with immigrants, constantly get their facts wrong and send us running round in never-ending circles. I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop now before I say something that gets me kicked me out of the country for slander.
What do you like best about living in Greece?
Do you think you’ll live there for the rest of your life? Why or why not?
I truly don’t know. I’d love to go back home to Melbourne, Australia. I miss my friends and family there a lot. But it’s a long way to go for many reasons I won’t get into here. Greece is suffering a pretty hard recession at the moment. The country announced selective default back in July (bankruptcy). We’re thinking of moving elsewhere in Europe to get back on our feet financially. Who knows what the future entails. I think I just have to go with the flow. Otherwise it stresses me out.
Did you begin writing before or after you moved?
I began writing novels after I moved, but I’ve been writing poetry and lyrics since I was twelve and short stories since university.
How has being an expatriate influenced your writing?
In every single way possible! I don’t think I can answer this without writing a book, but I will say that body language is very interesting to me. It varies so much from culture to culture.
In your writing, where do your settings take place?
String Bridge is set in Athens, Greece and Melbourne, Australia. My second novel, Bitter Like Orange Peel, is set in Melbourne, Australia and Seattle, USA. And my work in progress, Muted, is set in Arles, France. All realistic settings.
Quick writing questions:
Plotter or panster? Both. Depends on my mood.
Quiet or music? Funnily enough, quiet. Being a musician makes it difficult to allow music to linger in the background or set a tone. When I hear music my brain switches into a totally different mode.
Laptop or desktop? Both.
Mac or PC? PC
Coffee or tea? Both. Depends on the time of day.
Wine or other? Wine and Martini Bianco and Campari.
Day or night? Night.
Thank you so much for having me, Theresa! J
Connect with Jessica:
String Bridge: http://www.stringbridge.com/
Available as e-book and paperback:
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