‘The man may be the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants.’
As the daughter of a red-blooded, hairy chested, plate-smashing Spartan, and more recently the wife of an (ever so slightly) less hairy-chested but no less red-blooded Cypriot warrior, I live my life by this saying.
I grew up predominantly ‘English’ but spent my formative years learning that every word comes from the Greek language and that no other nation compares to the might of the Hellenic realm. The smell of olive oil on my skin (well it IS a great moisturiser) and the unruly curls on my head, leave most people in no doubt that Zeus has struck me with his lightning bolt, despite my reluctance to play the role of the stereotypical Greek woman stuck in the kitchen.
Stories were an important part of my childhood and I began writing from an early age. Even now, my father still regales us with tales of his childhood and how he grew up with no toilet paper. I find this admission very hard to believe. For a man who is so accustomed to apparently using leaves, he is ridiculously fussy about the quality of our bog roll.
Despite my love of the written word, I never thought I would actually publish anything. During my time studying for a law degree, I felt completely bereft of any creative energy. My short stories, poems and scripts lay unfinished, next to the spanakopita left-overs.
After completing my studies, I was diagnosed with suffering from Acute Legal Disillusionment and was snapped up by an acting agency who thought me far gone enough to work on several Hollywood films and British television productions. I kept one toe in the legal and financial waters whilst I went about rubbing shoulders with the A-List and Z-List, donning dodgy wigs and moth-bitten ‘vintage’ costumes and hiding in Honey Wagons.
Eventually, after a few GoGo Guarana 100% natural energizer supplements, my joie de vivre returned and I awoke from my literary slumber with an all consuming need to share my rants, raves, recipes, and general Greek philosophy about life with the world.
Inspired and frustrated by my Big-Fat semi-Greek Life, I decided to chronicle my Hellenic and Hollywood dramas on my blog (www.ekaterinabotziou.com) and have never looked back. I self-published my first book ‘Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing’ in 2013 after getting married the previous year, and was surprised by the positive response of the reading community (and the shocked response from the new extended family). The book is part memoir, part rant and part survival guide about the trials and tribulations of growing up with and marrying into the Greek family.
I narrowly escaped the wrath of my Greek relatives to release my second book the following year. Titled ‘Theseus & the Mother-in-Law and Other Myths & Legends’, it parodies all of the original Greek myths and legends, re-telling the adventures of the famous Greek heroes and their battles with the immortal Gods of Mount Olympus.
Whilst gathering ideas for a third book in my Greek comedy series, in February 2015 I released ‘Seraphina’; a short experimental story written entirely in verse. I will be the first to admit that being forced to study William Blake’s ‘Little Lamb’ for hours on end scarred me for life, yet at the same time, writing my own poetry has always felt very gratifying so I hope that my readers won’t be put off!
When I’m not annoying the older Greek generation by publishing all their secrets, I write for various fashion and lifestyle magazines, whilst continuing to row with the other slaves in London Mayfair’s finance sector. I also run worldwide networking group The Greek Wives Club (www.thegreekwivesclub.com) – a place for all the wives / girlfriends / partners / friends of Greek men, to promote their businesses and share their experiences of life with a Spartan ape. You don’t have to be a Greek wife to join but you do need to have a sense of humour!
Right, I’m sure you are now all reaching for that bottle of ouzo in despair, so I will stop bleating on like a goat stuck on the Troodos mountains and instead end by saying a huge thank you to Chris for letting me share my life story (so far). Opa!