While Amery might be locally “famous” for it’s plentiful lakes, quaint parks and unique businesses, it seems the city’s notoriety has now spanned across the globe.
Charissa Vasileiou, a resident of Elateia, Greece, always wanted to be a writer. She said when her first creation started to form in her mind, she envisioned a “Small Town USA” for the background of the story.
Vasileiou had a long conversation with a friend about it and this friend, Giota Tachtara, happened to know quite a bit about Amery. Tachtara is married to Will Stroebel, whose parents are the owners of a farm in the Amery area.
Currently, Tachtara and Will Stroebel live in Princeton, New Jersey, but are about to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Vasileiou said, “I wrote this book some years ago, back in 2015. It took a long time to find a publishing house, mainly because the publishers preferred the story to develop in Greece. I insisted on my initial choice, so things remained stagnant. In 2018, Okeanida ("ΩΚΕΑΝΙΔΑ" in Greek), one of the most well-known publishing houses in Greece, with many successes in their assets (including the Greek editions of “The Bronze Horseman” trilogy by Paullina Simons and the “Tea Rose” series by Jennifer Donnelly, accepted my book as it was, with its plot and everything.”
The book entitled, “Shadows From the Past” was finally released a few months ago and since then Vasileiou said many of her friends and readers have discovered the beautiful city of Amery.
The crime novel resolves around the main heroine, Kristen, a young reporter who lives in Chicago and returns to her hometown, Amery, to attend her best friend’s memorial service. While there, she will be confronted with the sudden disappearance of the other daughter of the family, Cassandra. The question is: Did Cassandra leave her home for personal reasons or there is someone who wants to cause more harm to her family?
“I love your town as if I have already visited it. By the way, a trip to Amery is on my bucket list! I love to see photos from there, I feel like I have visited your beautiful lakes and the main street, the shops and the parks,” said Vasileiou.
“To be honest, I never expected to create such a bond with a town I have never been to. Amery will always have a special part in my heart - after all, it's about my first “child”,” she said.
This was Vasileiou’s first “official” book, but in the past various short stories of hers have been included in collections that have been released. She is currently working on my second book.
While Tachtara was recently in Amery, spending her summer holidays with family, she brought the book around town and photographed it with some of Amery’s famous landmarks.
Unfortunately, for now the book is available only in Greek. Vasileiou said, “It would be great if it could be released in English too, but it's quite difficult – especially for a Greek book. But you know what they say: Keep dreaming!”
“Vasileiou said, “It is an especially difficult time we are going through now with Covid-19. I read and learn about case numbers in the U.S. daily and I am very sorry for all the people who suffer. I just want you to know that in faraway Greece, in a small provincial town with as many inhabitants as in Amery, there is someone who thinks of you and she has your beautiful town in a special part in her heart and thoughts. I send you a warm hug and my best wishes. Stay united, stay strong!”