If you haven’t heard of her already, The Greek Wives Club would like to introduce the wonderfully talented author, writer and food blogger Effie Kammenou. With two highly acclaimed novels under her belt and a successful food blog, this Greek wife is a force to be reckoned with.
A first-generation Greek-American, Effie’s heritage is at the forefront of both her everyday life and her work. Having graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts in 1974, Effie’s initial dream to be an Oscar-winning actress may not have materialised, but her passion for the arts never died.
An avid cook and baker (a skill she acquired from her Athenian mother), Effie established a small and unexpected side business making decorative cookie favors for special occasions, alongside her job in the optical industry. What had started as a hobby was now gaining her recognition as a talented culinarian and friends began asking her for recipes and cooking advice.
Keen to nurture her creative side, Effie set up her food blog Cheffie’s Kitchen, sharing traditional recipes, stories and memories. Aware that she needed to set herself apart from other food blogs, Effie wanted to make sure that she was not only sharing just the recipes, but also the heart and soul behind the food.
After her mother passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012, Effie found comfort in her writing. “Attempting to be the strong older sister, a compassionate mother and aunt, and a supportive daughter to my grieving father, I never really let myself crack. One night I sat down at the computer and just started writing. It was my way of working through my grief.”
A novel started to form and EVANTHIA’S GIFT was born: a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down.
“The idea to write this story came from a couple of sources, but it was my mother’s passing that put me on the path to writing in the first place. I’d had a story in my head for a long time, one I kept developing over the years. I began to write a story inspired by my mother’s life, which turned into a saga when combined with my original plotline. I’d heard stories all my life of my mother’s childhood in Athens, and her experiences during WWII as a child. My father had his own recollections growing up in NYC, his tales of how his family came to America and their reasons for doing so, plus his own experiences as a flyer in WWII. I took all those stories and gave life to several characters.”
Although the story is fictional, Effie drew inspiration from her own and family memories. “There were some very difficult chapters where I sobbed every time I wrote, revised, or edited them. But I honoured my mother, and our Greek heritage that she was so proud of.”
Effie has now also released book two in the ‘Gift’ saga: WAITING FOR AEGINA, which continues on from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.
Effie continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America and her recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.
When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, you can find Effie cooking with her husband and two daughters for her family and friends on Long Island.
You can follow Effie on social media and buy her book using the links below: