SUCCESSFUL author Anne Zouroudi went back to Sheffield High School last week where she was a pupil in the Seventies to give a creative writing lesson as part of National Crime Writing Month.
“It’s the first time I have set foot in the building since I was 18 and it was interesting to see how it has changed,” she said. “And yet it many ways it’s much the same, the girls still wear the uniform, although probably not quite as strictly as in my day.
“They are bright girls and I was pleased at how insightful some of the questions were. I started to write at a young age and I think that ambition and talent should be showing by their age – which I guess is around 14 as they are Year 10.”
This month sees the publication of The Bull of Mithros, the sixth of Anne Zouroudi’s crime novels featuring Greek detective Hermes Diaktoros, known as The Fat Man, and she is already working on the seventh to be published next year.
“Each one is based on the Seven Deadly Sins so that will be the end but there is talk of a series inspired by the Ten Commandments and that should keep me going for the foreseeable future,” she said.
She grew up in Bradway as Anne Williams, daughter of a one-time managing director of Stanley Tools, and after finishing at the High School left for New York at the age of 18.
Some time later she returned to Britain and got a job in IT with Thomas Cook and ended up in Greece.
There she fell in love, married a local fisherman and had a baby boy. But that didn’t work out and she returned to Britain with her young son and a fund of colourful material to fulfil her ambitions of writing.
She moved out to Stanton in the Peak in Derbyshire and in 2007 her first novel, The Messenger of Athens, was accepted for publication and she hasn’t looked back.
Son Vassilis grew up in Derbyshire but made regular trips back to the country of his birth. “He’s living there now and is actually in the Greek Marines doing his National Service,” reported his mother. “He’s very proud of both his British and Greek heritage.”
Now Greece is very much in the news for other reasons. “So many people in this country – and elsewhere because the books have been published in 10 different countries including Greece – have immense sympathy for the Greek financial predicament and have affection for the place,” said Zouroudi, who will soon be back out there on a holiday-cum-research trip.
The financial crisis has not yet impinged on her plots. “I have always used the drachma in my stories to keep the timescale vague and have been wondering lately if that’s going to change.”