In Waiting for Aegina, the latest in The Gift Saga by Effie Kammenou, lifelong friends stick together through love, loss, tragedy, and new beginnings.
Author Effie Kammenou
Readers will recall that Author Effie Kammenou is a native New Yorker who grew up in Queens and Long Island. Her Greek roots are in Kefalonia, Mytilini, and Athens. She and her husband, Ray, are the proud parents of two accomplished young women.
Once an aspiring actress, she earned her degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University. For the past 40 years, Effie has worked in the optical field. Effie loves to cook and bake. You can follow her culinary adventures on her food blog, Cheffies Kitchen. Her other favorite pastime is exploring stories, like those of her father, who grew up on the island of Mytilini.
Inspired by true events
We’re always told to write what we know. Effie revealed that many elements in ‘The Gift Saga’ were inspired by happenings in her own life. The idea for the Honey Hill Girls of Waiting for Aegina came from Effie’s childhood memories.
“When I was 9 years old, I moved from Queens to Long Island, and I soon discovered that my street was filled with girls in my own grade. For years, we played together, walked to school, and had weekend sleepovers. I was fortunate to have these girls in my life.”
The author added that writing a story about friends who had a long history came after attending her 30th high school reunion.
“I reconnected with a group of friends I’m very close to today. I was convinced one friend would have become a fashion designer, another would be in politics. I used my imagination to create the lives they might have had, although their lives today do not parallel the characters at all.”
Other characters, and many other parts of the book, are also based on true events.
“Mindy’s abuse is inspired by the story of a young woman I’d met on social media who shared her personal story with me. I was completely blown away by what she told me. I didn’t write her exact story, but I wove a tale inspired by her experience. I thought it was important for other young women to recognize the signs of another’s abuse, control, and lack of respect.”
Irini, a character readers of Evanthia’s Gift will remember — and still despise — is also based on a real person.
“The story Sophia tells Amy about Irini is very close to a real event. The circumstances changed, but the result was the same.”
Related: REVIEW: Effie Kammenou’s Evanthia’s Gift
About Waiting for Aegina
Waiting for Aegina begins with our favorite couple, Sophia and Dean, leaving their high school reunion. They’re involved in a car crash with a drunk driver, and Dean is critically injured. Sophia’s lifelong friends, known as the Honey Hill Girls — named for the street where they lived — rally around her at the as she keeps vigil at Dean’s bedside.
The story flashes back to fill us in on the lives of the Honey Hill Girls, from their early days of friendship to the present day. We follow the women as they establish their careers, find love, have families, and more. The women experience hardship, tragedy, loss, as well as love and joy — always at each other’s sides. A tragic event threatens to tear apart Donna’s family; Mindy experiences an abusive relationship; a secret from Amy’s past rocks her world; Demi has doubts about her life and future; and Sophia confronts the tightly held secrets of her own past.
The storylines bring us back to the high school reunion, and what led to the crash. Will Dean recover? How will the Honey Hill Girls endure life’s complications?
It took a year to write Waiting for Aegina, and Effie is already hard at work on Book 3.
REVIEW of Waiting for Aegina
I enjoyed Evanthia’s Gift, so I welcomed the arrival of Waiting for Aegina with great enthusiasm. I was not disappointed. Effie Kammenou is such a talented writer. She crafted a story so believable, so engaging, that I felt I was experiencing everything along with the girls. I couldn’t put it down. One night, I couldn’t to sleep because I was worried about Dean. I actually slowed down my reading, because I didn’t want the story to end. I cheered on the girls in their toughest moments, and chastised anyone who got in their way.
The Honey Hills Girls are now my friends too. I want to know what’s next for them. Many writers can create a compelling and engaging story, but it’s a rare writer who can make you feel like you are a part of the story, that you’re one of the friends — grieving with them, dreaming with them, being scared with them, celebrating their happiness. I can’t wait for Book 3. Bravo Effie!
Sneak Peek at Book 3
Effie offered us an exclusive sneak peek into Book 3.
“Book 3 will go back to the core families, but this time, the focus will be on Sophia and Demi’s children — the next generation. Evvie will learn more about her family history, and continue to try her mother’s patience. Mindy sees signs of abuse happening to one of her friend’s children. Look for it sometime next year.”
We can’t wait!
By: Effie Kammenou
Publisher: Effie Kammenou; 1st edition (January 12, 2017)
We’ve reviewed all three books in ‘The Gift Saga’ series! Read them here:
For more book reviews, click here
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