I started a new life in the US with new beginnings. Well, not quite! A cancer ordeal was a serious drawback, but also a life-changer. Coming out of it alive has led me evaluate life on different grounds.
I began to question my purpose in life and made a pleasant discovery. The way to my personal fulfillment would be through reaching out to children! But how could I accomplish that? I needed to draw from my love of ancient Greek culture and my love for Greece.
During a bitterly cold and snowy night in 2013 as I was reading a historical novel, it suddenly hit me! Why not write a children's book based on an ancient Greek story? Not wishing to compile yet another book of Greek mythology, I turned to my favorite ancient Greek playwright, Aristophanes, for inspiration. One comedy immediately sprang to mind: Ornithes, meaning The Birds, the most fairy-tale-like of all his works and a good starting point.
Soon, I acquired the modern Greek translation and plunged into reading. I then compared it to a number of Greek adaptations for children's plays. The result was a children’s story without any reference to politics, or any inappropriate language that are typical of his plays. That is how the Adventures of Hope & Trusty and their first adventure, Sky Cloud City, came into being.
The first book in the series paves the way for more adventures based on more comedies by Aristophanes. The purpose of this series is to playfully introduce English-speaking
children between ages 7 and 10 to some of the timely values expressed in those works—such as brotherhood, cooperation, perseverance, and peaceful coexistence. Each book will be accompanied by an educational activity book with numerous activities for young readers.
The illustrations in Sky Cloud City were created by my husband's aunt, Aspasia Tsihlakis Arvanitis, who is a passionate self-taught artist. Aunt Aspasia was more than willing to lend a hand and our collaboration lasted almost two years. At the end of 2014, I met with my current publisher, Charlotte Pierce of Pierce Press / GiggleQuick Books, who embraced our endeavor with much enthusiasm.
The products of this fruitful cooperation are the labor of much care and respect for the reader. In today's highly competitive market, we committed to produce a locally made book, printed in the United States. From the author, to the illustrator, the editor, the photographers, the publisher, the book designer, the scanning and printing facilities we are happy to say that Sky Cloud City is in every respect:
Made in Massachusetts, USA.
I hope you all enjoy the books in The Adventures of Hope & Trusty series as much as we have enjoyed making them.