The Setting in Acquainted With the Night
It’s Greek to Me
I often write about places I've visited, so I was delighted when the characters in Acquainted With the Night went to Greece. While vampire assassins lurk in the background, Jude and Caro end up in Kalambaka, a small town that sits in the shadows of Meteora, the home of the famed cliff-top monasteries.
The notion of vampires was the last thing on my mind when we left Athens on Christmas morning and drove north to Kalambaka. Snow blew across the highway, forcing us to take refuge in a roadside café. While we drank tea and ate baklava, our guide told us stories about Turkish invasions and treasures that were hidden within the monasteries.
When the snow stopped, we headed out again. In my mind’s eye, I’d envisioned a stucco monastery on a hilltop. In the distance I saw giant pillars, and each one was topped with a red-roofed building. They looked like something from a dream. I had, of course, glimpsed one of these monasteries—Agia Triada had been featured in a James Bond movie, and Roger Moore had scaled the mountain to thwart the bad guys.
But nothing had prepared me for the majesty and magic of Meteora.There, in the center of Greece, backlit by the Pindus Mountains. I saw the monasteries: Great Meteoron, Varlaam, St. Stephen, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholas, and Roussanou.
Our guide, Pepe, explained that the monks had built the monasteries with a clever winch and pulley system—the buildings had been literally erected one stone at a time.
We arrived at Great Meteoron and trudged through snow up a series of rough hewn steps. At the landing, an orthodox monk reached up into a tree and his gnarled hand closed on a ripe orange.
As the day progressed, we witnessed more oddities—a room filled with skulls and bones; religious icons; art that depicted the battle between light and darkness. Before we left, a monk painted us an icon and drew lavish symbols on the back: a prayer for our family.
We spent several days in Kalambaka, enjoying the cuisine. Since food is a major issue in our family, we visited many sidewalk cafes and tavernas.
I developed a deep affection for the dark, mysterious, flavorful kalamata olive. I also discovered that moussaka is pure comfort food. I’m a self-taught chef, but I will also happily eat chick peas straight from the can, so I was in Foodie heaven when I found hummus. And for dessert, we feasted on baklava.
At night, we retreated to our hotel room, which faced the giant rocks. Spotlights washed up the sandstone, bathing the obelisks in an ethereal glow, and I began to think, “What if….?” Naturally (because I'm a natural Foodie), I have a desperate need to feed people. I love feeding my characters while I'm writing, so Caro and Jude enjoyed several authentic Greek meals. I ended up cutting some of the descriptions because Acquainted With the Night is a romance and a thriller, not a food-fest, but my characters didn't lack for calories. I sent them on wild goose chases, but I ate baklava and dreamed about oranges, monks, and pillars in the sky.
About Acquainted With the Night
Acquainted With the Night
Berkley (November 29, 2011)
Enhanced Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages
You can read my 4 1/2 Qwill review here.
A woman's quest for the truth...A medieval icon that holds the clues...And an ancient book with the power to shake Christianity-and humanity itself.
London tour guide Caroline Clifford has never believe in vampires- until her uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archaeological site, and a vampire hunter who corresponded with him seeks her out.
Strange anagrams on her uncle's passport lead them to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattering revelation connects a relic Caro inherited to an age-old text on immortality-and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy all they know...
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