Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know you wanted to be a writer?
For most of my career, I was working in banks. Apart from the emails I sent home about my disastrous travelling adventures, I didn't write at all. I didn't even read that much. To this day, I do not know why I suddenly had this urge to write and write this story. I was in London, working for a bank and made this decision one day.
I made my notes while travelling through Mexico and Cuba and then came back, jobless and began writing. The learning curve went on from there! Now it's like I've opened a Pandora's box with ideas coming to me in the middle of the night or while watching a play or TV show. I can't keep up with them all!
What inspired The Dancers and Divas Series?
The whole series was originally meant to be one book - it was all one idea but kept growing bigger and bigger and became two books and then three books. Most of the characters' journey was planned from the beginning but as I needed to add more details and so it grew to become a trilogy! I've always loved the performing arts - being a participant since I was young.
Being in a performing arts school was one of those teenage ideals that was never going to happen for me. But in fiction, anything is possible! The experiences of these teenagers often related to experiences me or people I knew went through. Between the ideal setting, the personal experiences and the love of drama, the Dancers and Divas series was born.
Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?
I would say that I had an idea of character, developed the major events of the plot and then developed the character in more detail, so as to be clear about how they would react to events. The main characters were definitely very clear in my head at the beginning.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging when you were writing Bittersweet or Passion and Pain?
Probably my biggest challenge was making sure my adult perspective didn't cloud the teenagers' actions and dialogue. These teenagers are probably quite mature for their age but then teenagers save the world in many books these days! They definitely have much more eventful lives than I did at that age.
If you could be one of your characters from any of your books, who would you chose? Why?
I'm definitely scratching my head over this one. For every talent they have, there's also a drawback! I would love to have Letitia's voice and looks without her attitude. I would love to have Elena's overall talent but without her anxiety and naivety Maybe Sebastien's carefree attitude with a little more ambition of Anya's dance ability without her past.
I probably relate most to Elena but none of my characters have the perfect life and talent - I would prefer to have a bit of the best parts of all of them!
When writing Bittersweet, was there anyone or anything specific that inspired the character Sebastian?
Sebastien started off inspired by a person I knew at work with whom I would always banter. He had a great sense of humor and was who I thought of when writing Sebastien. Like all my characters, he then developed into his own unique personality.
In your opinion what three words best describe Elena?
Naive, caring, determined
Coffee or Tea?
Tea- herbal tea
Milk chocolate or Dark?
Favorite novel and why?
That's a tough one. Some books that have made a great impact on me are 1000 Splendid Suns, The Help, The Bronze Horseman. I like a good story that makes you laugh and cry and a bit or romance always helps!
Hard copy books or e-books? Why?
At the moment, I'm still only reading paperbacks as I want to make space but I do have a Kindle with 200 books on it so I'm determined to go that way in the future. It's usually cheaper with ebooks too, so I can get more!
What kind of weather do you write best in?
I think miserable weather. When I was living in London, staying indoors to write was great - cozy and warm. Now that I'm back in Australia with endless summer days, I feel I need to be outdoors more!
Favorite author and why?
I don't really have one - I'm constantly discovering new books and authors and I take each one on it's own merit.
Kathy Petrakis was born and raised in Sydney Australia by Greek immigrant parents. She always had a passion for the performing arts - dancing, acting and singing but they were hobbies giving way to a traditional professional career in banking. Before this book, her writing was used to entertain friends with her unusual, and often disastrous travel adventures from around the world.
By the hand of fate, Passion and Pain and Bittersweet were born while living in London, heaven for lovers of the performing arts. After launching Passion and Pain, she returned to Sydney for the launch of the sequel, Bittersweet.