Welcome to the 2023 ARIA Author Showcase and Giveaway Event!
How to enter – Comment on the daily showcases to enter the daily Giveaways. Comments close one week after the initial Showcase post. GRAND PRIZE drawn on Dec 8th (1 -$250, 1 -$100, or a 1 -$50 Amazon gift card. One grand prize pp) – For every showcase you post on, you automatically gain one entry to the grand prize. 30 Authors = 30 entries.
On to the Showcase!
What name do you like to write under? Maria Kamoulakou
Where do you call home? My home is Athens, Greece, but for the past fifteen years I've been living in Springfield, Massachusetts.
What genre(s) do you write? Children’s books for ages 7-10.
What genre(s) were you drawn to when you were younger? In my adolescence, I was drawn to British literature. Jane Austen and Daphne du Maurier were my favorite authors. I had read all their novels by the age of 18! There was something in their writing that appealed to the romantic and daydreaming side of my personality.
What were some of your favorite books growing up? Why? My childhood was filled with trips to museums and ancient sites all around Greece. As a result, I grew fond of archaeology (which I ultimately studied) and began to "devour" books with stories from Greek Mythology. There was one particular publication that held a very dear place in my heart: the Greek edition of "Tales of the Greeks and Trojans", with mesmerizing illustrations by Anna and Janet Graham Johnston. That book had cast a spell on me then, and guess what? I am still spellbound!
What are some of your favorite books today? I find myself to be full of contradictions! In my adolescence, I hardly read anything in Greek! Then, for a couple of decades I stopped reading literature altogether! My studies in archaeology -and my subsequent career in the Greek Ministry of Culture- allowed little time for extra curriculum reading . . . Moving in the US has put a stopped to that. In the past fifteen years, I've happily rediscovered Greek literature. The suitcase holds more books than cloths in every trip from Greece. Historical novels are my new favorite. They keep me good company in the long, stormy nights of New England.
What inspired you to become a writer? The need to feel closer to kids -following a serious health issue- led me to become a writer. It's one of those decisions that you make without much thinking, driven by instinct . . .
Sky Cloud City
When two young friends, Hope and Trusty, purchase a pair of talking birds, they have no idea what adventure lies ahead! In this fun retelling of an ancient Greek play, we accompany Hope and Trusty to the Land of the Birds. Who is King Hoopoe? Why did he summon a bird assembly? Hope and Trusty are trespassers and must face the consequences! How do the Olympian gods get involved in all of this? Sky Cloud City is the first book in The Adventures of Hope & Trusty series, inspired by the play Ornithes (The Birds, 414 BCE) by Aristophanes. This is a story of friendship and brotherhood that highlights working together to achieve impossible goals.
Tell us a little about how Sky Cloud City came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else? It started with an urge to offer English speaking kids alternative readings to those of Greek Mythology, the Olympian Gods and Homer's Iliad & Odyssey. There are more sources to draw inspiration from, such as ancient Greek theatrical plays, historical records and archaeology.
Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book? Both heroes, Hope & Trusty, matured gradually as characters. From the first draft in 2013, to the 2016 edition and, finally, to the chapter book edition of 2021, they became more adventurous, daring and brave.
Which character was the most challenging to create. Why? The girl -Hope- was the most challenging character to create, because she reminds me of myself at her age! I wanted her to be quiet but not submissive, cautious yet daring, delicate but strong, inspiring yet avoiding the spotlight. Hope has leadership qualities but prefers to support rather than lead.
What do you like best about being a writer? The interaction with people and kids at festivals and fairs.
Follow Maria Kamoulakou at
Maria is giving away a paperback copy of Sky Cloud City (2021 edition) printed in the USA (Michigan)
To enter, comment below. --> If you were teleported to the Land of Birds what would be the first thing you would do? Would you find it (In a Keanu Reeves voice) Excellent? Or Bogus?
(Comments are open for one week)