Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview: Marilena Mexi, author of "Antara"

Interview with Marilena Mexi
 Author of: Antara

Alaiel: Hi Marilena, I'm really happy that you accepted not only the interview but also to share here some of your paintings and artwork for Antara.

Questions about yourself.-

Alaiel: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Marilena: First of all, thank you for giving me the chance to say a few things for myself and Antara. I live and work in Greece, I'm a professional illustrator and I mostly work with publishers / writers. I make book illustrations, game cards, I'm an awarded artist from various cg sites, and my work has been published in various magazines.

Alaiel: Do you have a special place to write?
Marilena: I don't have any special place to write, but I'd say special moments. The most inspiring moments come to me when I'm calm and happy, and there's absolute silence in the house. Then I relax listening to atmospheric music and try to focus on writing, trying to get into my book hero's mind.

Alaiel: You are also a great illustrator, what drove you to combine writing and painting?
Marilena: First of all, thank you for your kind words. I've always wanted to write a book and illustrate it. that makes me feel a complete artist, and writing is as important as illustrating for me now. When people ask me why I don't make a book without illustrations, my answer is this: Illustration is my soul, and writing is my body. And the one can't live without the other.

Alaiel: Where do you find your inspiration to make your designs?
Marilena: From anything beautiful that surrounds me, from the love I receive, from a beautiful movie I’ll watch, from Greek mythology, but above all from music, and especially from symphonic metal, which I like the most.

Alaiel: Is there some kind of ritual that you need to do to write? Like listening a special playlist or have your favorite drink with you.
Marilena: Symphonic metal music is my favorite, and it was a great inspiration for me during the period I’ve been writing and illustrating Antara. Specifically, I was listening to Sirenia, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Tarja Turunen, Amorphis and Epica. Here’s a small tracklist of songs that inspired me the most:

1. Siren – Nightwish
2. Ghost love score – Nightwish
3. Sleeping sun – Nightwish
4. Sing for me – Tarja Turunen
5. Silent Waters – Amorphis
6. Memories – Within Temptation
7. What have you done – Within Temptation
8. Forgiven – Within Temptation
9. Sirens of the seven seas – Sirenia
10. The seventh summer – Sirenia
11. Glaes Of Summer – Sirenia
12. Seven sirens and a silver tear – Sirenia
13. Meridian – Sirenia
14. Other Side – Sirenia
15. Until my last breath – Tarja Turunen

Alaiel: Are you planning on writing other books that are not related to mermaids?
Marilena: Recently I completed a new novel (very different without mermaids) with a stronger concept, and not so romantic as Antara was. The new novel involves a lot of mystery and it is darker in general. At the moment I'm working on the editing and concept art of the book. I hope I'll be more lucky this time and find a publisher this time.

Questions about the book.-

Alaiel: What was your inspiration to create “Antara”?
Marilena: I come from Greece and Greek mythology has inspired me, along with symphonic metal music. Also, my grandfather was a fisherman, and many times he's been telling me stories with mermaids when I was a child, and I adored them. So, my first story couldn't have been anything else.

Alaiel: Was Antara your first book or you started writing before?
Marilena: Yes, Antara was my first book.

Alaiel: Asteria is a fictional character of course but does she somehow resemble you?
Marilena: I think that I have a lot in common with the hero and many times she reacts as I would react. That happens spontaneously when I write, because I tend to get into your hero's mind. That happens in many writers in general, especially to those who write for the first time.
Alaiel: Which of your characters do you feel you relate the most and why?
Marilena: I think that I mostly relate to Urania. She's a character from the side of humans; low profile, caring, calm and shows understanding and patience.

Alaiel: What is one of your favorite scenes of the book?
Marilena: My favorite scene is when Asteria encounters Orestis for the first time, not only because it was love at first sight for her, but also because she realized that it's not always correct if we judge someone just from his/her appearance.

Alaiel: How many books is this series going to have?
Marilena: ‘Antara’ is duology, and the sequel and last part is 'Ninemia'. Many people ask me why it’s not a trilogy: I understand that trilogies have become a trend, but I wasn’t feeling that ‘Antara’ should be concluded in a third book.

Random and quick questions.-

Alaiel: Hardcovers or paperbacks?
Marilena: Hardcovers.

Alaiel: Super power you would love to have?
Marilena: I wish I could fly.

Alaiel: Do you like e-readers?
Marilena: Yes.

Alaiel: Dogs or cats?
Marilena: Dogs.

Alaiel: Day or night?
Marilena: Day.

Alaiel: Favorite country?
Marilena: Scotland.

Alaiel: Do you like cheese? If yes, which ones are your favorites?
Marilena: Yes, my favorites are French Brie and Mozzarella.

Alaiel: To finish let me say that I would LOVE to have your artwork all over my house!

by Marilena Mexi

Official Blurb:

Peace and tranquility on the island of Aster, home to both humans and 'merfolk', has long been broken by a devastating phenomenon, recurring every five years. A storm including gusting winds and huge waves mysteriously appeared and eradicated much of the population. The misunderstandings, suspicion and hate born of this disaster have torn the two races apart, and the peace loving merfolk are now in a never-ending struggle to prove their innocence and restore peace to the island. On the human side, things are even worse; under the tyranny of cruel king Orestis, the people suffer and all their king cares for is vengeance against the "fish", as he spitefully calls them, executing merfolk after merfolk for just being near his lands. Secrets, intense emotions and strange phenomena will upset their lives forever.


  1. Holy cow. This looks absolutely amazing. I LOVE the art and the story is equally intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. sounds super amazing. the artwork is unreal and so intriguing. I'm even going to look into this music. thank you

  3. Those images are absolutely gorgeous. And Nightwish! YES. haha that would make me read this book if I knew nothing else about it except that playlist.


Something to share? (cheese would be awesome!) I love to read your comments :]