Thursday Best Reads Interview: Georgeos Constntin Awgerinos, author of EUGENIA: DESTINY AND CHOICE

Geórgeos Constantin Awgerinøs, author of EUGENIA: DESTINY AND CHOICE was born and raised in Athens Greece. He lives in New York City.

About the Book:

Title: Eugenia: Destiny and Choice
Author: Georgeos C. Awgerinos
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 280
Genre: Romantic Thriller

Debut novelist Georgeos Constantin Awgerinøs paints an epic love story and political thriller in EUGENIA: DESTINY AND CHOICE. The title character, Eugenia “Jenny” Corais, a Columbia University graduate, is an idealistic young feminist and intellectual who charts her destiny against such volatile backdrops as cabaret-era Berlin, America during the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War protests, and the violent final days of colonial Africa.

With its potent combination of politics and romance, EUGENIA: DESTINY AND CHOICE resembles  Erich Segal’s LOVE STORY, coupled with a tale of political intrigue that would fit comfortably in the novels of Graham Greene, John Le Carre or Stieg Larsson, and historical developments reminiscent of James A. Michener.

Awgerinøs’s title character, Eugenia, is complicated. Her idealism and social consciousness, the author notes, is tempered with “a compulsive curiosity for the weird, unusual, or forbidden. She aims at the light but she cannot resist the temptation of the darkness.”
Jenny’s co-protagonists include Dietrich Neuendorf, a charismatic and unyielding German human rights attorney haunted by his family’s past and his country’s history. He and Jenny quickly fall in love.

A third character, Desmond Henderson, attracts Jenny’s darker side. Despite his humble origins and abundant charm, Henderson has a deeply dark core. A former British colonial officer, he is the head of South Africa’s military industrial apparatus, linked to the high echelons of international corporate elite and secret intelligence. He is an immense figure who designs mass murder and forced relocations on spreadsheets and is involved in some of the most defining political acts of the 20th century.

But in this novel, even the most invincible have an Achilles heel. As Awgerinos puts it, “EUGENIA doesn’t romanticize power; rather, the book demystifies the powerful by exposing the intimate, vulnerable and disowned aspects of human psyche.”

Jenny, Dietrich, and Desmond cross paths and embark on a perilous journey together in an exotic African country, a wonder of nature that faces massive winds of historical tide and a catastrophic revolution.

“Through my characters and their interaction, I try to convey another view on love and sexual conflict, society, human nature and beyond-natural, democracy and collective mind control,” says Awgerinøs. “I also try to offer a historical account about a very volatile era in a turbulent region, Southern Africa.”

Awgerinøs hints that he is working on a sequel to EUGENIA: DESTINY AND CHOICE. Meanwhile, EUGENIA shows great potential to be adapted as an exciting and thought-provoking feature motion picture or TV movie.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

As always, the idea came unexpectedly. I have never understood how a story was born in my mind and I never grasped the mechanics of the process. I do remember it was Christmas Day, and I was in my backyard in Brisbane, Australia, in the late afternoon, when I felt a strong impulse to get a pen and paper and sit down to write. By the end of the day I had the first draft of the story. I am not sure what made me create a story about a troubled African country, racial segregation, Waffen-SS in the Russian front and love affairs with a promiscuous edge. All of the above were not strangers to me. I had a passion for history and I had considered, before going to Australia, the idea to travel and work in Southern Africa. The world of the mercenary and foreign correspondent, apartheid and the continuous late colonial wars always fascinated me. I grew up in Greece, a country where hardly a day passes without the media or regular people making reference to World War Two and the traumatic memories it left behind in the country. That Christmas Day I made a covenant with myself: I promised myself to write in English, a language I hadn’t mastered. I had no idea what I was coming up against! However, I never wavered from my commitment to the project called Eugenia, which had a different title at that time.   

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It was very hard. I made a commitment to write in English, not in my native tongue; and very early I realized that it was excruciatingly difficult. I also discovered early that being a male author, it was difficult to see the world from a woman-protagonist’s perspective.
The next difficult part was the civic maps. The country I describe (Zimbabwe) had changed the names of the cities, streets, plazas and buildings after its Independence. Finding accurate street names from the old colonial era was extremely difficult because most of the Rhodesian expats I consulted with didn’t have any old maps and had blurry recollections of the old street names. Finally I found such maps when I travelled to Africa and after a long search. The government wanted to erase memories of the old past and they were unwilling to provide such information.

The historical data was also contradictory. Africans and former white settlers provided completely diverse view of the country during the late colonial era, the white UDI-regime and the Rhodesian war. I had to contact historians, UN officials or journalists who traveled during that period to provide their own accounts. Many of these people were unwilling to collaborate, though others were very helpful.

I spent many weeks in libraries and archives in order to collect information. At Columbia University I spent nearly three months interviewing and researching. I had to travel to Africa, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington DC and London to gather data; plus I had to interview mercenaries, former South African combat police officers, Rhodesian war veterans,  German Jews who described me the Kristallnacht, a former Waffen-SS combatant and his wife, and a former Red Army officer who lived during the siege of Moscow in 1941 and the battle of Berlin in 1945, officials of the Zimbabwe government and foreign embassies, former partisans of the Liberation Army, and others. Interviews were not always smooth and easy.

I have no tips for other writers. Authorship is a very individual path through our own inner jungle.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

After wasting three years back and forth with literary agents and publishing houses,
I decided to go on my own. In the meantime I discovered that many others had successfully self-published. I determined to find my own way to promote my story rather than relying on the law of attraction and the Universe to send me the right agent at the right time.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have a backlog of about fifteen story drafts, but at the moment I am focusing on how to promote this one. From time to time I look at my next novel project, and I am polishing the final details of the sequel to Eugenia.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I think the last pages are the most surprising, where the reader comes across a very unexpected conclusion…

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I recommend that potential readers visit my website, where
I have a special section on the topics and themes my book touches on.

One of these central topics deals with the contradictions raised by disowned sexuality; another is the “bad boy” phenomenon, its appeal and the potential consequences. Other topics can be expressed as: War and Peace Inc., spirituality and evolution, social conscience and responsibility, and the trap of National Security.

Eugenia demystifies those in power and exposes societal hypocrisy. The narrative provides details of the bedrooms and sexual preferences of invisible policymakers who draw strict racial laws by day and break them at night.

The novel embodies the message that if humanity wants to experience freedom, prosperity and democracy, we don’t need simply better politicians. Politicians are a reflection of the people they represent, and if we wish to have transparency in government we first need to enlighten ourselves as individuals. As citizens become informed and conscientious, a critical mass is created that causes a collective social transformation. When we have a society of enlightened citizens, eventually we will elect conscientious public officials. Politicians are not saviors, messianic figures or heroic celebrities. We are not with them or behind them, and they are not our leaders. They are professionals hired by the people, the same way we hire a lawyer, an electrician, an insurance agent or financial planner. If their team can deliver results they stay on the job; if not, they will be replaced by someone else. When citizens adopt realistic views and expectations about the people they elect, then flags, hymns, anthems, banners and balloons are not needed. Public affairs is about civic work, not P.R.-led fiestas and mind-control slogan-driven propaganda.

Some quotes and excerpts that illustrate some of the book’s underlying concept:

“I am not enthralled by messianic saviors. Those radical revolutions ended up with Napoleon and Stalin. Radicalism only changes the face of tyranny.

“Lust may last for a night, but this night may last for a Lifetime.”

“President Kennedy in his inaugural speech, back in 1961, uttered the famous challenge, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.’ To this I have a rebuttal: I should not only ask myself what I can do for my country, but what my country can do for me as well. Responsibility must be shared, and commitment goes both ways. Unconditional allegiance is for serfs only! Dear friends, learn how to be free citizens of the world, not subjects of the state!”

“Oversized pedestals, miniscule worshippers”

“The real enemy is not on the other side of the trenches; he safely hides in a boardroom”

“This is the South African Republic, not South Africa, Inc.”
“It is the South African Republic, Inc. All states are corporate entities, monsieur, one way or another;”

“When I witness injustice and I remain silent, I’m not only a coward, I’m guilty.”

“Temptation will test you, seduction will lure you, illusion will veil you…”

“Trying to understand people is like interpreting dreams.”

“Once, I believed that science is the answer to God but I have realized that there are areas of human capacity that it will take a long time for science to reach. Maybe one day we will discover that science is just one of the tools that lead to human expansion. The meaning of “I,” “Being, “Self” are a matter of experience not intellectual discourse or scientific examination.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

 I tried for half of my life to produce a character-driven, impactful and epic story with controversial but socially important messages. I hope that EUGENIA: Destiny and Choice succeeds as a call for self-observation, invites questioning of our value system and contributes to the expansion of what it is to be human.

1 comment:

  1. I thought initially that it was a love story with some exotic African settings as a backdrop but it was more than that...Eugenia is complicated as a woman, a bit unpredictable and the story suspenseful and informative. A bit terrifying how democracy can turn into a totalitarian state...


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