Effrosyni Moschoudi is the author of The Raven Witch of Corfu series.
She is joining me today to talk about how Corfu has inspired her writing.
My love affair with Corfu began when I was only a child. Ever since I was about five years old, my Corfiot grandparents used to have me over for long periods every summer, first in Corfu town, then in the village of Moraitika.
Moraitika is situated on the southeast coast of the island between Benitses and the port of Lefkimmi. Back in the 1980s, Moraitika was a bustling holiday spot. My family ran both a souvenir shop and a small business of room rentals at the time, which meant I had plenty of opportunities to mingle with tourists on a daily basis, Brits mostly.
My sister and I often spent three-month holidays in Moraitika as youngsters, where we helped our grandmother with the cleaning of the rented rooms. Yet, there was always time for plenty of swimming and sunbathing, as well as for having fun in the evenings with a host of cousins and friends. This time of my life remains the most precious I hold in my heart, and this is even more so the case now that my grandparents have passed away.
I have strong family roots in Moraitika. My great-grandfather, the teacher and priest of the village in the turn of the 20thcentury is buried beside the old church. Part of his home that’s still standing in its entirety near the church was originally used as the school of the village. Today, it has been split up into small apartments which stay closed for most of the year and only come to life for 1-2 weeks at a time when descendants of my great-grandfather (my cousins, aunts and uncles) arrive for a short holiday. Having inherited the part of the house that once belonged to my grandparents, it is a precious bond with that special part of my life that literally comes to life for a few days every summer when I stay there.
Beside Moraitika, and across the river of Messonghi, lies a small fishing village of the same name. Unlike Moraitika that kept getting more built up over time, Messonghi has changed very little since I’d first laid eyes on it in the 1970s.
Messonghi is built beside a river mouth where fishing boats and small excursion boats are moored. The village is extremely quaint, with decrepit old houses built on the shore. A bright green peninsula lies beyond it that’s dominated by two mountain tops, one of which, being shaped like a pyramid, has always fascinated me. It’s no surprise to me, therefore, that it wound up getting mentions in all my novels set in the area. Namely, The Ebb, The Flow (both set in Moraitika), and my latest novel, The Raven Witch of Corfu.
The latter is set in Messonghi and features an evil witch that dwells in a cave on the aforementioned mountain. The heroine of the story, Lizzie, is an English girl who watched, helpless, as her twin brother was snatched before her eyes by the witch when they first holidayed in Corfu at the age of twelve. Now, twenty years later, Lizzie returns on the island determined to get her brother back. When she sees him again, she receives the shock of her life. And, in the process of her intrepid attempts to free him from the clutches of the witch, she makes new friends and allies including a charming widower who steals her heart. Her growing fondness for him only complicates her life even further…
The inspiration behind this original tale came to me unexpectedly one blissful morning in the summer of 2016. As I swam in Messonghi, I grew all the more enchanted by the up-close view to the mountain. My mind filled with thoughts while I absorbed its beauty and magnificence and I wondered, ‘What if it’s not all good? What if a terrible evil lurked in its depths’? All at once, Phoni, the witch, sprang out from my head and dived into the sea beside me to have a chat… The rest, as they say, is history.
Being an avid blogger, and seeing that Moraitika and Messonghi are my favourite corners of the world, I wound up recommending these places for a beach holiday to people from all over the world. I would love to hear from you (on my site or on Facebook ideally!) if you’ve been to Corfu or plan to visit it.
For more info on the villages of Moraitika and Messonghi, visit my online guide. It contains a wealth of photos, and information for fun things to do in the area: http://effrosyniwrites.com/your-guide-to-moraitika-corfu/
More about Effrosyni:
Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she loved to sit alone in her garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Today, she writes novels for the romantic at heart. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy. Her mind forever drifts to her beloved island of Corfu.
Check out Effrosyni’s books: http://effrosyniwrites.com/books/
Get her FREE books here: http://effrosyniwrites.com/free-stuff/
Friend her on Facebook where she shares fun posts on a daily basis, and interact with her fun-loving, Greece-loving readers there: https://www.facebook.com/efrosini.moschoudi
Follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/frostiemoss