Erini Loucaides is an Australian-Cypriot writer and teacher with a BA in English from the University of London. She has been shortlisted for Bridport 2020, Fresher (Bournemouth Prize) 2018, Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer 1988. Longlists include Mslexia 2020, Fish 2019, and top 15% First Pages International Prize 2020. Her work has been featured in the Fresher Anthology, 100 Words of Solitude, Cadences Literary Journal, In Focus, Royal Society of Literature’s Only Connect project, and Mslexia. In 2020, she was one of three Cypriot writers selected by the Commonwealth Foundation for a one-to-one summer mentorship with Jennifer Makumbi.
Erini lives in Cyprus with her husband and two sons. Greek myths, wild storms, and houses in the middle of nowhere greatly inspire her.
Author interview – Erini Loucaides
Hi Erini! It’s so good to finally sit down for a chat with you! Please tell us when you started writing, and why?
I’ve been writing as far as I can remember—I still have my publisher rejections from 1988! Even as a ten-year-old, writing was my oxygen, my escape, and it was so beautifully fulfilling.
At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
I’ve always taken my writing seriously but not myself as a writer. It wasn’t until I hit forty that I publicly and fearlessly saw myself as one and really began submitting to competitions/publications.
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
Good question. Writer seems to be more diverse, colourful and all encompassing. There’s something stuffy about ‘author’!
How long did it take you to write your first book?
My first non-published book took about a year. My first published book, three years.
What was your last book about?
My last book, Soar on Raw, involved researching hundreds of world myths, then concocting healthy recipes to match the chosen myths. It was a fun exercise in edible creativity.
What are you working on right now?
A short story collection and a novel.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
It’s forged in the soul furnace first. Then paper plotting of some sort, some direction, before the actual writing. For a short story, two months. For a novel, a few years and endless drafts but then, I’ve not published a novel. I’ve not finished anything I’ve been happy to send off. Yet.
I love that, forged in the soul furnace first. I can so relate to that. So, what do you struggle with most as a writer?
As a working mother who writes every day, I struggle with time, time, time, and lack of it.
Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
When I was single, no such struggle. I had endless time to write. Now I need to be extremely disciplined.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same?
Make time. Come Hades or high water. If you’re serious and passionate, you’ll make the changes: wake up earlier, let the dishes pile, less socialising.
Have you ever had writer’s block?
Never. Always the opposite.
What do you do to stay inspired?
I stopped waiting for inspiration years ago, but in terms of keeping a steady wind in my sails, a beautiful walk in wild nature does the trick or else I hit the shooting range for clay target practice. Of course, when a piece of writing gets short or longlisted in major international competitions or accepted for publication, that is a huge inspiration that keeps me going all year.
Who’s your favourite author?
What’s your favourite book?
Where the Wild Things Are and The Snow Child.
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Let the story tell itself. That was hammered home to me from my mentorship with Jennifer Mukambi. I also like Philip Pullman’s approach where the story is running ahead and he’s chasing after it with a pen and paper!