Marina Koulouri was born and raised in Piraeus, the largest Greek port city, a hub of ancient history, diversity, and culture. Her writing journey began in her early teens, when she realized the liberating power of storytelling. As a lover of language and history, she is deeply interested in social matters, psychology, philosophy, and religion, all of which can be traced back to her writing. She writes historical fiction because she is fascinated by the past and firmly believes that knowledge of the past shapes the present and helps to better prepare for the future. War stories move and fascinate her, and World War II is her favorite period to read and write about. She adores cinema, and that is why her stories are very cinematic, or, as she likes to call them, movies on paper. Her favorite subjects in both books and films are the diachronic struggles ordinary people face in love and life, set against major historical events. When not writing, she teaches English, specializing in grammar and writing for adult students of EFL.
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Occupied Paris, 1943. Forced to abandon her family, a young British woman, Winter Pale, finds herself trapped in the seedy Cabaret scene, surviving on her single tradable commodity: her body. Two men offer a glimmer of hope and escape; a sultry, dangerous French Resistance Fighter and a refined, regimented SS Major. But it is more than a choice between two men for Winter. It’s the vicious circle of her fault and guilt that she must break. And she must trust in the power of love. But will she?
The vicious circle of her fault and guilt that she must break.
Book Excerpt or Article
"The story begins with my childhood, my wish to return to its bliss. The tragedy of man begins the moment he is separated from his mother’s womb and adulthood is a snowstorm, for which I wonder if anyone is ever prepared enough. I used to think of life as a fairytale with a happy ending, but I know now it is not. This tale is not governed by the rules of fiction, it pertains to no certainties, and no matter how many pages you skip, there’s no telling when the happily ever after will be, if ever. You stumble and fall. If you’re strong, you get up again. The struggle is endless; only, if you look closely, eventually you see that, with every fall and rise, you ascend to a different level. There will be sunshine, there will be clouds, there will be rain and even snow; you have to keep on climbing."
(excerpt from "Winter Pale")
Winter Pale and I have walked hand in hand for many years now. We have helped each other grow. What I love about this book is that it is mostly about imperfection. The main character, the two secondary characters, and even the lesser characters in the story are all flawed people who hardly fit the stereotype that they are supposed to be.
Since "Winter Pale" is a World War II story, and since history has taught us to look at things related to that time in a certain way, I felt like this was the perfect ground for me to do what I love to do as an author: break down stereotypes, crack through the surface, and reveal what lies beneath. Even though "Winter Pale" is a historical romance, it is more than what you might expect from that. Reading it gives you the feeling of having accomplished something, even if it came at a high cost. This positive feeling does not come from following a familiar path to the anticipated happy ending. I believe that "Winter Pale" is pertinent in any historical era for this very reason. Because it takes enormous effort to obtain the things in life that truly matter—freedom, self-worth, and true love—and because the cost of doing so is far from negligible.
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