Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ninemia Giveaway & Interview

 Interview & Giveaway

I got the chance to interview Marilena Mexi author of the Antara Saga and host a giveaway

Marilena was born in Athens Greece (so jealous) she has found many inspirations from the history, stories and legends that she grew up hearing as a child. She is an amazing artist and she has been working on illustrations for book publishers, magazines, fantasy board and card games.
Her debut beautifully illustrated book Antara and sequel Ninemia are both very amazing and beautiful. You can find them both to read for any eReader. Also nice quality color paperbacks are available to buy through (these are on my wishlist).

A 2 part question:In the acknowledgements you thank a friend for helping you translate from Greek to English. Why did you choose English? Would you like to translate to any other languages? 
I've chosen the English language obviously because it's the international language. This way, the audience is wider. Of course, I'd love the book to be translated in other languages as well, but I'm going to need the help of a literary agent to make that happen.

I have always been fascinated by name choices. How did you choose and pick the names?
The truth is that I've been searching the character names for at least a week. I wanted them to come from the Greek mythology, which I like so much. Not every one of them are Greek, bot most of them are.

Are any of your characters personality traits influenced by you or any one you personally know?
More or less, all the characters have a lot in common with the people around me. If I had to choose a character who matches closely with mine, that would be Urania.

What made you choose self publishing vs going through a publisher? 
Many people often ask me why I’ve chosen the path of self-publishing. As many of you know, Antara is a book written and illustrated by me. There isn’t any similar style of book in the market. There are children’s picture books and graphic novels, but scarcely someone would come across an illustrated novel. The rarity of this kind of book has prevented me to find a literary agent to represent me. If in the US there are 1000 literary agents, only 30 of them would represent author/illustrators, and the ones I’ve contacted rejected my book because that kind seemed unusual to them. A lot of people say that excuse was unfair, and yes, I believe the same thing as well. But life is unfair many times (so I’m not going to nag about that). In the process, I tried to contact a few publishing houses directly but that turned out to be impossible; No one of the large publishing houses accepts unsolicited submissions.

Therefore, there was but one solution, to self-publish my book, so that Antara wouldn’t wreck. Sometimes I read articles where some are against self-publishing, but they would do the same thing if they were in my position. In no occasion would I let my dream fade. I worked very hard for Antara; the illustrations took me almost 2 years, I wrote the story in Greek and I paid for the Greek-to-English translation myself, and all of this because I didn’t want my effort to be wasted. Ιf I chose the difficult path of self-publishing, I’m still looking for a literary agent or publisher to make my life easier.

I absolutely love having actually copies of books, but the books on Lulu are pretty expensive. Have you thought about trying to find a cheaper why to publish the books to get them in the hands of people who love having physical copies?
I'm not sure exactly where Selina Fenech prints from, but I love the options that she has and I would love if you were to have options like this as well.

Of course I'd like my book to be cheaper, but that's impossible. Selina Fenech's paperback version is black & white, so that reduces the production costs a lot. The paperback version of Antara includes 26 illustrations, and the entire book is printed in full color, and unavoidably in more expensive paper. Even is the book is that expensive, my profit for each sale is about $1. A B/W book wouldn't be an option for me, because it just doesn't do the artwork justice. Print quality is first and foremost for me. Alternatively, someone who doesn't care about quality, could always buy the ebook version.
(Oh how I really do desire copies of the books)

What was your favorite thing about writing Ninemia?
Ninemia is different than Antara. I think that Ninemia puts the readers into thoughts, that maybe mermaids actually existed. And that idea made me excited to write more and feel like I'm one of the heroes of the story.

Did you always know you were going to include illustrations with the book?
Yes, I knew that since the beginning, because I'm an illustrator and I think that my strong point. So I'd like that to get noticed in my book. I wanted to make something different to stand out from the crowd.

I saw in your FAQ on you website that you are working on something new, can you divulge anything yet? Or when might you be able to release more information?
Yes, I'm working on a new novel, and I'll try to make it better than Antara in every way. The only thing I can say for now is that it's going to be a fantasy theme, but not so much of a romance.

 Greece is my #1 of places to visit, how have you liked living in a place with such amazing history and stories? 
Greece is a wonderful country with abundance in natural beauty, nice weather, rich history and mythology, and warm people. Undoubtedly, my country was a source of inspiration for me, and that is clearly visible in my books.

What is your #1 place (or top places) to visit?
I'd like to visit Scotland a lot.

Thank you Marilena for letting me interview you, I really enjoyed getting to know more about your books, your choices and you.

Now for the giveaway. Marilena has donated an eBook of Ninemia for one lucky reader. I definitely suggest you go and get Antara to read as well, since it has my favorite pictures, but Ninemia is my favorite story out of the 2, it reads like a fairytale, and I think you can read Ninemia by itself if you wanted to.

Giveaway Rules
Open international 
Ends Monday August 29th Midnight (Pacific Time)
You do not need to be a follower to enter
To Enter
Comment on my review of Ninemia +1 (bonus for commenting on Antara +1)
Follow Marilena on Facebook, Blog and/or Twitter +1
Spread the word about the giveaway via Twitter, Facebook and/or Blog +1
Total point:4

Winner is Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anoymous
Thanks for entering and I hope everyone will get their own copy of Ninemia and Antera
Don't forget to leave a way to contact you

Good Luck



Aik said...

Commented on your review of Ninemia +1
Follow Marilena on Twitter +1 - @aikchien
Follow Marilena on Facebook +1 - Aik Chien
Spread the word about the giveaway via Twitter +1

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Kris (Words That Fly) said...

I commented on both reviews. They do look like truly interesting books. Would love a chance to get one of them.

You can get me at

Char said...

I commented on both reviews and I am now following Marilena on Facebook :)
You can contact me at

Fiktshun said...

Great interview! I'll pop back tomorrow to check out the links so I can learn more about the author and her books. I don't think I've read an illustrated self-published book before.

Congratulations on the interview and giveaway!

Kristin said...

Great interview. I am really glad I came across your website. These books sound really good. Thanks for the giveaway. I am a new follower of yours.
+1 commented on Antara review
+1 commented on Ninemia review
+1 follow Marilena on twitter
+1 posted giveaway on TWITTER
you can contact me at booksniffersanonymous(AT)gmail(DOT)com
Book Sniffers Anonymous

Christina Manning said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
I'm following on twitter.
Following the blog.
Following on fb.
And tweeted.
+ 4