Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Books by James Collins

Published to date

Details about James’ published books. Click the titles to go to the online store for the print copy. All available in print and Kindle.

Living on a Greek island

Symi 85600
A collection of writings that present an honest and often humorous account of two Ex-pat’s experiences of living on a small Greek island. This book also contains extracts from the symidream web site and the complete guide ‘How to move to a Greek island or other place in the sun.’ “Even if you are not thinking of moving abroad this little collection will entertain and inform.”

carry on up the kali strataCarry on up the Kali Strata
Carry On Up The Kali Strata is a collection of articles about living in Symi, Greece. Previously written for and The Symi Visitor, here they are gathered together with photographs by Symi island photographer Neil Gosling. If you’ve enjoyed ‘Symi 85600’ you will like to read this follow up. “Symi’s charm is in its people and the minutiae of their lives; James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties (because nothing in Symi is ever simple), and in reporting what he sees with kind humour and a writer’s eye for the details essential to lively travel writing.” Anne Zouroudi, author of Bloomsbury’s Greek Detective mysteries.

Village View
A year living on Symi, a Greek island. James’ blog posts from 2013, edited and set out in printed form with images by Neil Gosling, take us through one whole year living on a small Greek island in southeast Greece. From winter storms to summer visitors, from photo walks to book signings, and from goats to shrimp festivals, Village View gives us an upfront, honest and mildly edited account of James and Neil’s eleventh year on Symi. “Symi’s charm is in its people and the minutiae of their lives; James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties, because nothing in Symi is ever simple, and in reporting what he sees with kind humour and a writer’s eye for the details essential to lively travel writing.” Anne Zouroudi, author of Bloomsbury’s Greek Detective mysteries.


The Saddling
saddling smallTo inherit his aunt’s fortune, Tom Carey must unlock a one-hundred-year-old family mystery. The solution lies on the Romney Marshes where the village of Saddling lives by an ancient Lore. Unknown to Tom, the villagers set in motion a chain of calculated events that will ensure that the winter solstice will witness their last ever ‘Saddling’ festival.
Unaware that his life is in danger, Tom befriends two village youths. Through the mists of fear and confusion, their friendship forces Tom to confront a secret of his own.
Tom finds himself the unwitting hero in a struggle between superstition and sense, denial and love, with no escape from either.

Lonely House
Lonely House smallDrover and Pete are two hopeful drifters looking for a better life. Desperate for food, they break into an isolated house deep in a forest. There they accidentally shoot an old man just as the rest of his family arrive for a birthday gathering. Under intense suspicion from the family, the boys attempt to cover up the accident. But they are not the only ones keeping a murderous secret. Mistrust and deception unearth a primeval ritual as the lies give way to a terrifying truth. With time running out and a deadly force closing in, Drover and Pete’s survival rests on the strength of their friendship, but they must face some horrific choices in order to stay alive.

Remotely small‘Remotely’ pokes fun at British reality television. “There are more plays on words and double-entendres than a Carry On film or a seaside postcard. It had me smiling, giggling and laughing out loud – a real feel good story.” Britain’s newest and most pointless TV talent competition is coming to Middlestone-On-Sea. ‘So You Think We’re Remotely Interested?’ has taken Friday night viewers by storm as it streams live variety shows from remote, provincial theatres across Britain. The theatre with the most audience votes wins regeneration and revival, and lord knows, Middlestone-on-Sea needs both

Honestly – a Miss P Novella
honestly smallHaving cured Shakespeare of writer’s block, Miss P finds herself in the 20th century attending to a similar problem in a small fishing village. The timeless and slightly magical Miss P knows that the only way to solve the problem is to cause a friendship, and the only way to do that is to cause the whole village to speak honestly. As you can imagine, comedy ensues.

The Judas Inheritance
An ancient curse? Desperation in the economic crisis? What is causing the suicides of so many adults and children on this small Greek island? When Chris Trelawney arrives on the island to take away his late father’s belongings, he finds that he has been left little more than a mystery. Was his father mad at the time of his death, or did he actually believe that he had awakened a powerful evil? An ancient evil that now stalks the islanders, growing stronger by the day. A curse that will cause the death of everyone around Chris unless he allows himself to believe that such things exist. But when he discovers the truth, Chris realises that death is the easy option.

The Judas Inheritance was inspired by the ruins of a village on the Greek island of Symi in the Dodecanese. The story is complete fiction, but I was captivated by the mysterious dates, numbers, and names that appear on many of these hauntingly strange buildings that seem to conjure up a curiosity about the lives of the people who once might have lived there. While the story is set on an imaginary island, visitors to Symi will recognise a number of features which I have borrowed.

In 2013 a motion picture adaptation of The Judas Inheritance, called The 13th, was filmed in Greece. It is important to stress that film adaptations, of necessity, are often markedly different from the books on which they are based. This is the novel version of the original story before it was adapted for film.

into the fireInto the Fire
A first person thriller told by two narrators one of whom is lying. Mike is 16 and on the streets. Jack is 23 and trapped. Working for an illegal boy-brothel he is little more than a servant to William Sutherland. When he is forced to recruit Mike to this sleazy underworld he decides it’s time to quit. He takes Mike and evidence of Sutherland’s crimes and heads off across Europe to escape the contract killers now after them both. But nothing is what it seems and Jack soon learns that Mike is mentally ill and claims to be a killer. But Mike learns that it is Jack who is the danger. No one will learn the truth until they return to Sutherland and go back, into the fire. (My second novel, 1998)

you wishYou Wish!
“Perfect poolside reading.” GScene magazine. A trainee witch, an East End lad made good, an art student and a homophobic gym instructor. Whoever could guess that a chance meeting of these five people could lead to such madness and mayhem, could cause a riot on the Brighton gay scene and almost bring about the end of the world? Well, that’s exactly what happens when each one of them is granted one wish for one day. X-ray eyes, parents back from the dead, sex, wealth and as many wishes as you can manage. But… and there is always a but… for one day of your dreams come true you must suffer three days of the opposite, the downside. All will become clear when you dip into the strange and hilarious, bawdy and bonkers world of peter, Alan and their mates in this nude, crude and totally rude comedy novel. (2000)

jason and the sargonautsJason and the Sargonauts
“Readers will find themselves incapable of putting this book down.” – The Symi Visitor. A mysterious iron chest arrived on the island of Symi, Greece in 1882 and was immediately hidden for its own safety. 121 years later and Jason is working as a holiday rep for SARGO holidays. When his grandmother turns up as one of his guests she brings with her a locked cigarette case, left to Jason by his recently departed grandfather and given to him on Symi in 1944. The case is opened and reveals a piece of music, but the music is not what it seems and Jason and his small group of pensioners soon realise that they have stumbled on a secret that has been kept hidden on Symi all these years. A secret both dangerous and valuable. Jason and the Sargonauts is a contemporary comedy adventure full of fun and mystery, ‘A comic, camp and musical Da Vinci Code.’ (2004)