Timeless Stories, by Kate Walker
When my editor called me to ask if I would write a book to be part of the new Greek Tycoons miniseries, I was intrigued, excited, wondered how this was going to work. Because what she wanted from me was not just a story about a modern Greek Tycoon – the sort of alpha Presents hero who is so very popular with our readers – but something slightly different. She wanted a Greek Tycoon whose story was taken from the ancient Greek Myths and then brought very much up to date and turned into a Modern Romance – a Presents type of story.
I’ve written several Greek heroes. Looking back over my backlist, I’ve found six of them, starting with Constantine’s Revenge which had my very first ever Greek hero – and that’s a book that has been one of my very best sellers. I loved writing him – he was full of strength and arrogance, dark, powerful and dangerous (to my heroine’s peace of mind at least!) and I enjoyed giving him that ‘hubris’ – the sort of excessive pride that would usually cause the downfall of the hero in the ancient Greek tragedies. It certainly almost caused Constantine’s downfall as he came close to losing the love of his life because of it.
All my Greek heroes have been like that – strong, proud, determined men but a little blind when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s what makes them fascinating to write, and really enjoyable to read in other authors’ books. Very like the ancient Heroes (these heroes need a capital H) of Greek legends. So it didn’t surprise me that the editors had thought that they were the type of men who would inspire great Presents stories. Those characteristics make a great hero at any time – whether back in classical times or now in a very Modern setting. Heroes like Hercules, Achilles, Jason – and the man I chose to inspire my story Odysseus or Ulysses, the king of Ithaca who was the one who came up with the idea of the Trojan Horse. ( This bit of the story meant that I had some very difficult research to do – studying the film Troy starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Owain Yeoman – and , of course Sean Bean as Odysseus – and using it to give me inspiration. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it.) He was not just a warrior, but a clever man too.
A king, a warrior and a practical thinker – that would have been enough to get my imagination working. But then there was the rest of his story – after Troy – when Odysseus struggled to get home, went missing for ten years. A man who goes missing for years and whose wife waits at home, never knowing if he is coming back or not. That was just the inspiration I needed. It was a story that worked whether it was set in ancient Greece or brought right up to date in the 21st century. The sort of story that fitted perfectly into the Presents line–up. Because that, for me, is one of the great – the greatest – things about writing for Presents. The stories we create are timeless, they have elements that appeal to all times, all ages. Our heroes are heroes for now and all time. And the themes and emotions that we write about – passion, revenge, lust, anger, longing – and of course, most important of all, love, are emotions that intrigue and appeal to readers no matter what century – or what country – they live in.
And it was as I was writing this story that I got a new insight into why Presents romances are so consistently popular and have been for so long. The emotions and the passions that the authors write about are truly the ‘classic’ emotions – feelings that are as old as time and never change fundamentally, no matter what era or place the book is set in. Whether the hero is an ancient Greek warrior or a Modern Greek Billionaire, the central core of the story – that love conquers all – is always essentially the same. And that’s what makes a classic love story. And a classic love-story is what I hope I”ve created in A Good Greek Wife?
My ‘Odysseus’ – Zarek Michaelis – isn’t a king but a Greek shipping magnate who went missing for two years after an attack on his boat (the Troy). And like the original, when he returns he find that his wife Penny (Odysseus’ wife was called Penelope) has new suitors, all wanting to take over the kingdom (or in this case the company) he owned. So he has to prove himself to his wife and she has to prove that she has stayed faithful and loving all the time he has been missing. They have to get to know each other all over again and rediscover the love that had brought them together in the first place. UK readers certainly seemed to have loved it as A Good Greek Wife? has sold out fast since it was published here in July. Now it will be out in Presents Extra in the Greek Tycoons mini series on October 12th. I hope you’ll find it a ‘classic’ too.
What about you? Do you love a Greek Hero – the sort of man who would inspire a ‘shout line’ like the one for this mini series – Legends are made of men like these? Who are your favourite Greek Presents heroes and which are the books you most remember?