Monday, 7 March 2016

Romy Gemmell on Cyprus and The Aphrodite Assignment

Thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely blog, Pauline – it’s always a pleasure to chat to you, even if it’s only through cyberspace!

Romy, it’s all my pleasure, so do help yourself to a glass of bubble, make yourself comfortable  and them tell me all about your latest book and why Cyprus?

The third novella in my Aphrodite and Adonis series set on Cyprus, The Aphrodite Assignment, has just been released in e-book by Tirgearr Publishing. I had never intended writing a series but when I submitted the first very short novella, The Aphrodite Touch, my publisher asked me to consider making it a series. What author could resist such a challenge? The second novella, The Adonis Touch, was slightly longer and this third one is longer again.

I’ve been fascinated with Greek mythology since school days and while I wanted to write a contemporary romance (as opposed to my other historical romance), I wanted to include a touch of mystery, adventure or fantasy along with the love story. We visited Cyprus, known as Aphrodite’s Island, many years ago and I was immediately captivated by its romance, history and legend. There are so many references to Aphrodite that my imagination was fired as I wandered amongst the ruins and beauty spots, dreaming that the goddess still walked beside the locals and tourists. And so my fictional series was born.

Each novella features a different human couple who arrive on Cyprus in either spring or summer. Mischievous Aphrodite persuades Adonis to play a game during these two seasons, where they choose to help a specific couple reach a new stage in their relationship. In The Aphrodite Assignment, Bryony and Richard are not yet a couple but have previous family history. In this novella, I’ve also introduced one or two other gods and goddesses to create some variety in the storyline.

Although Aphrodite is the goddess of love and took many lovers of her own, I especially felt drawn to the references involving Adonis. Some say he was completely mortal but other ancient writers suggest he was a demi-god. The fun part of writing fiction of course is that you can make up your own rules! More importantly for my series, Aphrodite was wildly in love with him. Adonis is also mentioned a lot on Cyprus and I was delighted to discover – after I’d written a sexy scene there in the second novella - that he and Aphrodite used to meet at Aphrodite’s Baths.  Why shouldn’t they still appear there at times? I did say this was partly a fantasy romance, didn’t I!

Cyprus itself is an island in the Mediterranean, roughly situated between Greece, Turkey, Syria and Israel. It is mainly divided into two: the Greek part in the south and Turkish in the north. My series is set in and around Paphos, in Greek Cyprus – an area very much identified with Aphrodite. According to Homer, Aphrodite was born at the rocks along the coast from Paphos, known as Petra Tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s birthplace). Here’s how Homer describes it in his Odysssey VIII:

‘Laughter-loving Aphrodite went to Cyprus, to Paphos. The moist breeze of zephyr brought her there on the waves of the sea, with a noise of thunder, among the soft foam, and the gold-dressed Horä (beautiful women priestesses) received her with joy.’ You might know the famous Botticelli painting that depicts this scene, although he calls her by her Roman name, Venus.

I used this beauty spot for a scene in the first novella, as well as the Tombs of the Kings. In the latest novella, I’ve taken my human couple to couple of different spots on the island and each time I write about Cyprus, I can’t wait to return there and explore some more of this beautiful island. I hope the reader will enjoy the romance and mythology through the series.

Blurb and Links for The Aphrodite Assignment by Romy Gemmell


Bryony Marshall has the assignment of a lifetime: to check out the new apartments on Cyprus, Aphrodite’s island, for her travel company. But she hadn’t reckoned on her contact being Richard Harrison, former teenage crush and her older sister’s ex-fiancé, and her renewed feelings for him.

Aphrodite and Adonis plan to encourage the budding romance between Bryony and Richard but the goddess Athena brings them unwelcome news: Aphrodite must return to Olympus with the other gods for a council with Zeus. Can the mythological couple bring the humans together within the limited time left to both couples?

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Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks so much for this, Pauline - much appreciated!

Pauline Barclay said...

It's wonderful to have you here and you must come back again soon. x