ABOUT THE BOOKWhile sharing a bottle of wine with her flat mate after yet another bad date, Sophia advertises for her perfect man online. He must have a multi-million pound business, the face of Robert Pattinson and the body of Daniel Craig. He must have a fluffy cat and a massive penis. The profile is just a bit of fun, but what happens when a man who meets pretty much all the criteria actually replies? Has Sophia finally found her perfect man, or is he not quite as perfect as he seems? As she uncovers some dark and disturbing secrets, Sophia’s dream man turns out to be her worst nightmare. A romantic comedy set in London, Would Like To Meet . . . explores the weird and wonderful world of online dating. A light-hearted, fun and easy read, it will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella.
INTERVIEW WITH ZOE EFSTATHIOU
Zoe, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I love it when you have the seed of an idea for a book and the more you research and write, the more the idea develops and grows. It feels like the story takes on a life of its own—eventually it has twists and turns and layers that you could never have envisaged at the beginning. I find that process really exciting.
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
For me, the hardest aspect is the isolation. When I wrote Would Like To Meet . . . I barely my saw family or friends for a month. I wrote four to five thousand words a day and I only really left the house to walk my dog (luckily, I had saved up enough money to take a month off work to do this). It know it sounds weird to be this isolated, but at the time I was so swept up in my idea that I didn’t care.
I’ve tried juggling real life and writing - writing 500 words here and there, but it doesn’t work for me. I can’t handle thinking about my everyday life while also trying to imagine a detailed imaginary world—it’s just too much for my brain!
I know what you mean. What books do you currently have published?
I recently self-published my romantic comedy novel, Would Like To Meet . . . which is about a woman who advertises for her absolute dream man online.
I tried online dating in 2015, and I often wondered what would happen if I just stopped beating around the bush about what I was looking for and spelled out exactly what I wanted in my ideal man. I never actually did it, but the idea inspired my novel. To her surprise, Sophia, my main character, gets a response from a man who meets all her incredibly picky criteria. She can’t figure out if she’s finally got lucky and met the man of her dreams, or if there’s a terrible catch.
My travel writing was published in 2014 by Bradt in, The Irresponsible Traveller: Tales of Scrapes and Narrow Escapes, a travel anthology which also features the work of Michael Palin, Ben Fogle, and Simon Calder.
Do you have any secret talents?
I’m a white belt with three yellow tabs in Judo. Yep, that’s right. Watch out!
Yikes! Is writing your dream job?
Absolutely. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 14—way before I knew how to write. As a kid, I used to love curling up with a good book. I love how books can transport you into another world, stretch your mind and change the way you see the world. At 14, I thought that was the coolest thing ever (I still do), and I decided I wanted to write books capable of entertaining other people the way my favorite books entertained me.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?
I’ve done lots of menial jobs, from making sandwiches in a sweaty kitchen to working eight hour non-stop shifts in a busy bar, but I don’t think they taught me anything particularly worthwhile (although, I do know how to pull a great pint of Guinness . . . ).
It may not sound like a job from hell, but my experience of running a beauty blog turned out to be my most valuable in terms of life lessons. I’m not particularly interested in beauty, but three or four years ago, I started a beauty blog because I thought I could make money through it. Even though I put quite a lot of effort into it, the blog never really took off. I think it came down to the fact that I wasn’t genuinely passionate about beauty, and people can sniff out a fake, even online. It also became a total drag to be working on something I didn’t really enjoy. I was making a bit of money and perhaps I could have persevered, but ultimately I realized that money is not enough of a motivator for me; I want to enjoy my daily life. I shut down the blog and decided to focus on my true passion instead: writing.
Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Use Instagram! Before I self-published, I hadn’t really bothered with Instagram, but the book community on Instagram is amazing. There are so many nice, supportive people. I’ve had book bloggers contact me and ask to review my book, and it’s also really encouraging when people ‘like’ quotes that you post from your novel.
Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m really good at coming up with crazy get-rich-quick business ideas. I have a new one practically every week. For example, I live in Greenwich, in London, and a few years ago it occurred to me that even though there’s a big park and lots of dog owners, no one was selling dog jumpers. So naturally, I decided to bulk buy them from China and sell them at the Greenwich Market. In the end, I got commissioned to do some writing work and didn’t have time to sell the dog jumpers so now every spare drawer and cupboard in my flat is stuffed full of them! At least I know my dog, Bella, will never be cold again! (Email me if you want to buy one!)
I’m really bad at public speaking. I don’t know what it is about speaking in front of a crowd, but I find it terrifying. And when I say crowd, I mean anything more than about five people at once.
What would you name your autobiography?
FML. I am a magnet for embarrassing, awkward moments and silly dramas, so FML would be a suitable name for my autobiography.
What’s one thing that drives you crazy?
People who walk slowly in the street or have no spatial awareness and take up the entire pavement. I see red!
What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?
These days, it’s Amazon and my author account. I keep obsessively checking my sales figures every half an hour. I check them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. It’s not healthy and I’m trying to cut back!
Sadly, I think it's a writer affliction. What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
At the moment, it’s my dog, Bella, but for a while it was Robert Pattinson. I think he’s so good-looking, to the point that he inspired me to come up with the character of Daniel in, Would Like To Meet . . .
If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
You create your own luck. I don’t believe in asking the universe for anything. I believe that the harder you work and the more you learn, the ‘luckier’ you get.
What are you working on now?
In a couple of weeks, I’m going to throw myself into writing my next romantic comedy novel. Although I’m really excited about my new idea, I’m also a bit nervous about getting started, because I know it will take over my life!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zoe Efstathiou is a freelance writer living in London. Would Like To Meet . . . is her first novel. Although it is a work of fiction, it is richly inspired by Zoe’s personal experiences of the London dating scene.
Zoe has previously been published by travel publishers, Bradt in, The Irresponsible Traveller: Tales of Scrapes and Narrow Escapes.
When she is not writing, Zoe enjoys going to the theatre, walking her dog, and making jewelry.
Connect with Zoe:
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book: