Hariklia is a writer, blogger and graphic designer. Her novella and short story collection, “All Windows Open” was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, in the Community Relations Commission for a multicultural NSW Award category. She lives in suburban Melbourne with her husband and daughter and dreams of travel and adventure.

Hariklia novella is available at the Colour Box Studio Pop up Book Shop until the 31st of August. Colour Box Studio had a chat with Hariklia about life, writing and her current project, which we are very excited about!

 

All Windows Open by Hariklia Heristanidis at Colour Box Studio Pop Up Book Shop

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I used to a graphic designer who dabbled in writing, now I’m a writer who dabbles in graphic design. As a creative person I like to think I observe the world around me, and especially the people in it, in a way that others may not. I am always looking and listening as though I’m in another place, say over seas, and not in the city I was born in. I am mindful that inspiration is everywhere.

Describe your creative practice.

I write stories to entertain and engage readers. Just as I have been transported, delighted, amused and edified by writers such as Truman Capote, Steinbeck, Donna Tartt, Jane Austen and Jeffrey Eugenides (to name but just a few), so too I hope to take my readers with me on an adventure. I also like to make them laugh. There’s a fair amount of dry humour in my work. It’s the place my not very nice, (but funny) side can come out.

How did you come to it?

I always say that I began writing when my Aunt Alexandra gave me a diary to record a trip to Greece. I was born in Melbourne and went to my parents’ place of birth when I was ten, for a holiday. When my Dad’s sister gave me a gilt edged diary with a small lock, I thought it the best present I’d ever been given. It set up a habit that I kept up for over 20 years, through puberty, adulthood, heartache, obsessions, disappointment and joy.

Tell us about your past projects. What has been your most treasured creation?

My first big project was, and to some extent still is, my blog (www.hariklia-what-she-said.blogspot.com) I started it just over three years ago as a way of getting my writing “out there”. I wanted to make it different from all the other blogs or I suppose unique to me and so based it initially on my old diaries. Since my diaries date all the way back to when I was 10, I figured I had a ton of source material. The initial concept was to post a diary entry dated from the same day and month as the blog post, but from any year.

In 2011 I was thrilled to be the winner of the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award, in the eBook category, for What She Said – a month in a decade in a lifetime. The eBook was based on my blog.

Judges’ Comments:

From a diary, to a blog, to an eBook, Hariklia Heristanidis allows readers into her life, her mind and heart in a lifelong journey full of passion and dreams. This is a true story, full of beginnings and endings that takes place in different times and spaces. Her digital footprints can be followed from the past to the future, through the clever use of images and web links. ‘What She Said’ is about life, the unexpected and hope through the passage of time.

Where did you grow up and has it influenced what you create?

In my novella “All Windows Open”, my protagonist Chrissie says, “I grew up in Thornbury, in Melbourne’s inner north, on a wide treeless street with deep bluestone gutters. Nature strips were for those who lived on the other side of the Yarra.” So a definite “yes” on that!

What is your current project?

I am in the process of writing a novel – the final frontier! Writing stories and my novella have been very satisfying, but I know from my own reading that a longer work enables the reader to be fully immersed in a story and the characters, so this is what I would like to achieve next.

Who or what was your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from being the child of immigrants. Sometimes I think we all feel like “the other”, even tall, blonde, good looking Anglo males. But certainly as a short, average looking, “wog” girl, I always felt outside of the mainstream. This gives me my own way of observing the world and our society/culture.

Where do you feel most creative? 

Walking. Walking seems to clear my head of day to day rubbish and opens up my imagination. Whenever I go for a walk, I come home with ideas of where my characters are going and where my plot is heading. It’s great for smashing writer’s block!

What can visitors to expect to see from you in the Colour Box Studio Pop Up Shop?

I have only one thing on offer, my book “All Windows Open”. It comprises of a novella (of the same name) and seven short stories. Some stories are set within Melbourne’s Greek community, but in others you can meet a variety of interesting characters: Elizabeth, a sticky beak at open house inspections, Steve, a collector of household gadgets, and Eric who is divorced, drunk and living in a London share house. I like to think they are an amusing and fun read, while still having something worth while to say.

 

To read more about Hariklia please visit her blog: http://hariklia-what-she-said.blogspot.com/

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