Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Girl Gone Greek – The Movie

Girl Gone Greek – The Movie

Today, I have an interview with Rebecca Hall, author of ‘Girl Gone Greek’ a best-selling novel of one woman’s experience of teaching in Greece and… Well, read the interview to discover the rest.

Girl Gone Greek - The MovieArmed with a degree in International Relations and Sociology, obtained as a ‘Mature Student’ when she was in her 30’s, Rebecca Hall decided after her course that she wanted to travel, to understand the world beyond her own front door (and her own wet, terribly polite Britishness). It was inherent in her nature to realise that in order to better understand a culture, then the only way, really, was to immerse herself in it. What better way to do that than to learn to teach English?
After a one month, incredibly difficult CELTA course (Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), she secured a job teaching English in a small Greek village on the mainland.

With such an interesting start to her Greek life in 2008, culminating in the creating of her blog Life Beyond Borders in 2010, she slowly but surely came to fall in love with not a Greek (as many people dismissively assume), but with a whole nation — many Greeks if you like — and she feels blessed to have cultivated a whole new ‘family’ for herself.

To this end, as Greece increasingly started to hit the headlines for its economic crisis and be blamed as the ‘poor man of Europe, pulling the other countries down,’ this was not Rebecca’s reality of Greece. So, she set about trying to put the record straight by showcasing her reality of Greece and the characters/people she experienced. “Girl Gone Greek” – the novel was born.

From start to finish, it was six years in gestation and eventually self-published in June 2015.

Says Rebecca: “It was a difficult process, having never written before. And I didn’t want to get all political or on my high horse… I just wanted people to experience Greece through my eyes: to see it for what it was – see the beauty and quirky characters. Countries are, after all, made up of the individuals within it and in times of crisis, we tend to forget that.”

“It was also an exciting process, but exhausting! I had moved to Athens by this time and would work in the evenings teaching, come home, write some more, then bed in the early hours (having been incorporated into Greek time!)”
“I had to also dig deep and examine my past; give the story some tension and depth. So I looked at the reasons why the character went to Greece (it’s a semi-fictional book) and had to really go through some self-analysis.”
“Self-publishing meant I could choose my graphic designer and book cover – and what a book cover it is! I am so happy with it…and I believe it attracts people to want to read it too.”

After two years of it making steady sales through Amazon, talking at local Literary Festivals and schools in her hometown in the UK plus presenting on a Mediterranean cruise, Rebecca felt it time to take this one step further. BREXIT had become a reality, spreading yet more uncertainty throughout not just Europe, but the globe.
Rebecca saw this as yet another opportunity to prove that we seem to have lost our way in aiming to understand, not criticise other cultures and Greece, once again, seemed to bear the brunt of Europe’s wrath.

Says Rebecca: “I felt the time had come to try to take this one step further. Why not look at a ‘feel good’ film and try to see if it’s possible to make ‘Girl Gone Greek’ into a movie?”

Not knowing anything about the movie industry and, indeed, where to start, she was lucky enough to at least know people – one of them being James Collins.

Together, with James’s extensive know how, they collaborated on working the book into a relatable and realistic screenplay, something Rebecca says she felt nervous about initially because “I really did not want the essence of the film to be lost… To turn into a cheesy ‘girl meets boy and has a foreign fling.’ Luckily James really captured the book’s essence, introducing new elements that are great.”

Rebecca wears many hats, and when not chewing her pen, trying to change the world through her quirky, self-deprecating style of writing, she’s a guidebook writer for Rough Guides and writes for various online publications, as well as still maintaining her site Life Beyond Borders.

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