Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting to know Eleni Konstantine

Today we are getting to know Helen Katsinis (aka Eleni Konstantine). Helen is also a tireless supporter and volunteer at Romance Writers of Australia. 

Welcome to Mission: Romance, Helen.
First of all, thanks Juanita, for having me on your whizz bang blog.

I’m a long time member of Romance Writers of Australia, and I write fantasy and paranormal fiction under the name of Eleni Konstantine. While I’ve had some short fiction published, I’m yet to be published in anything longer – yet! (wink).

I am a long time volunteer of RWA – after all it’s a great organisation. So if you’ve seen my name around – Helen Katsinis - and you’re not sure where, that could be it. I help with Hearts Talk, the web team, am the paranormal e-loop co-moderator, and am part of the next two conference teams.

I’ve recently started my own design website, HelzKatDesigns. A result of winning (unexpectedly, I might add) the 2010 Little Gems Topaz Anthology Cover Contest, and also doing banner designs for my writing persona and others, it is something I enjoy doing. I want to get better and better at this, and have loved designing book covers for authors – like Mel Teshco and Tracey O’Hara.

I haven’t really designed any covers for my own books (yes, I know, that’s next on my list), but I did design a bookmark as part of Claytons conference for one of my novels, DreamTamer.

My biggest ambition is to balance the two creative sides of myself as well as balance life – I have chronic fatigue syndrome, so anything creative I do, I see as an achievement.

I did play around with a photo of myself to make it look more like a graphic novel drawing for Claytons. I had dressed up as Batgirl for the 2010 RWAus.

You can find me online at:
Dark Side DownUnder (blog mistress)

What inspires you to write and when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved stories since I was a little girl. I used to make up stories in my head and then I wrote them. I think I always wanted to be a writer, but it was at Uni that I realized it was something I really wanted to do in life. And it was the 2002 RWAus conference in Melbourne, that made me realise, I wanted to be a professional at it.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?

You know, I don’t know. Sometimes, it’s the character popping up almost fully formed and they hint at a story they have, and other times there is a general story idea saying ‘Look at me!’ It seems I can’t conform.

Did you choose your genre or did your genre choose you?

I think the genre chose me. I’ve always had fairy tale and mythology stories around me. So I think that was a natural progression to fantasy and paranormal tales. That ANYTHING can happen attracts me. A flying superhero – no problem. A fairy godmother helping out a disillusioned girl, here you go. A ring with power rule to world, thank you very much Professor Tolkein. It’s so easy to be swept away with all these stories, and that’s what I want my readers to feel when they read my stories – swept away.

What is your favorite scene in your book?

I don’t have a favorite scene as such, but I love the banter between Zeta and Daniel in Gateway to Hell (novella currently under submission), and I love how Zeta turns Daniel’s preconceptions on its head.

“It won’t work.”

“Why the hell not?” His voice was harsh, and exasperated at the same time.

“In this case, you need more than guns and a ritual.”

“And what would that be?”

“You need me to close the Gateway to Hell.”

Tell me a little about your favourite character in your book.

Now, I know how hard it is to answer this question (I use it myself on the DarkSider blog). One of my favourite characters is Leo from Healer’s Destiny. He may be a secondary character but he is funny, loyal, and just makes me smile. He’s a Lion Guard so he can fight his way out of a corner, but he also is perceptive, so hence why he’s the Prince’s best friend.

What was the hardest part to write in your book?

I’m still rewriting Healer’s Destiny. I thought I had it all set, but while it’s close, it’s not quite there. I have a clearer focus on what I want this book to be, so while it will be time consuming and draining, it will be worth it in the end.

Who is your favorite author(s)?

I have so many faves. Diana Gabaldon for my favourite hero of all time, Jamie Fraser, J.R.Ward for doing something brand new and compelling with Black Dagger Brotherhood, George R.R. Martin for his intricate world building and fascinating characters, David Eddings for writing one of the best fantasy series ever – The Belgariad, and of course there are our RWAus authors – Keri Arthur (Riley Jenson series), Anne Gracie (Gideon anyone?), Barbara Hannay, Nikki Logan, Rachel Bailey, Tracey O’Hara, Anna Campbell, Denise Rossetti (poetic prose)…and many many more.

I also am enjoying Neil Gaiman, Meg Cabot, Michelle Sagara, Stephen King at the moment.

What book do you consider your favourite read of all time?

Again, so many, but if I had to choose one – Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch(Outlander in US). It has history, action, romance…and time travel. And of course Jamie Fraser, the best HERO of all time.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

My grandma, because she passed away before I was born, and not only am I named after her, apparently I look remarkably like her too. She was the only grandparent I never met. Not a very high brow answer, but I’m a basics kinda girl.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Helen. It's been wonderful getting to know you. Wishing you best of luck with all your endeavours. 

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