Polis Loizou – Q&A

Polis Loizou is the author of The Way it Breaks, Disbanded Kingdom and A Good Year, which was published by Fairlight Books on 1 April 2022.

Polis kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about A Good Year.

A Good Year is a queer historical novella with a large helping of Greek and Cypriot folklore. Set over the 12 days of Christmas, when creatures known as the kallikantzari are said to come up from Hell, it follows a young married couple as they face their own fears: about oncoming parenthood, the future (the British have taken ownership of their country), their very identities and desires… Also heavily features food. I mean, it is based in Cyprus after all.

2. What inspired the book?

I had it in my head to write a novella set over the 12 days of Christmas, which would ramp up the tension as the days went on. I love a good wintry chiller. But I was thinking of setting it in England, maybe during the Edwardian era. Then, as I began to explore folklore storytelling, it dawned on me that I could set it in my motherland, during this time of the kallikantzari. Christmas and horror folklore seemed a great combo.

I decided to set it in the past, when superstition had a stronger hold on people, and when Cyprus was in an interesting position historically – about to become a British colony, but still a melting pot of different cultures, pre-division.

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

It’s funny, each of my books had a different journey in this regard. But I like to know roughly where my story is going before I start actually writing. I need to know what’s driving it, but then I’m open to the process taking me down a different route.

So, I do like to plan a bit, but then am happy to diverge.

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

It always feels like a surprise when it’s actually out there, in physical form, for readers to discover.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I’m always dreaming up ideas in my head, for a variety of projects, so I never fully get away from it! But I love travelling with my husband. We like to do big holidays, exploring much of whatever country we go to (usually far away). No lounging by a pool for us.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

Oh, I just couldn’t – I find no comfort in routine and repetition, so it would just bore and frustrate me. The only book I’ve ever re-read in my life is Adrian Mole.

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

‘Have you written any books that haven’t been published?’ – Yes, one that I’ve continued to rework for about 20 years now. It may see the light one day…

About the Book

Rural Cyprus, 1925. Despo is recently married, heavily pregnant and deeply afraid. The twelve days of Christmas are beginning – the time when, according to local folklore, creatures known as kalikantzari come up from Hell to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, her husband Loukas has troubles of his own. Struggling with dreams and desires he doesn’t understand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to an Englishman, a newcomer to the island.

In a village wreathed in superstition, Despo and Loukas must protect themselves and their unborn child from ominous forces at play.


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