VESPER - Interview with Alysia Helming: "Protogenesis" now in Greek
July 18th 2018, By Terry Paganopoulou
When was your first book published?
I first published the book on December 20th, 2016 and soon it became an amazon best seller in its category for three weeks in a row! Normally it requires a couple of years for a self-published book to emerge into an international publication. As soon as it became a best-seller it was quickly picked up by Black Rose Writing and now I am happy to say that it’s officially available on Amazon as well as many bookstores in the United States. Here in Greece, I had the privilege of Livanis Publishing to obtain my book and release it in Greek across Greece and Cyprus.
How do you feel about the Greek Version being published?
I am very happy and excited. It’s something special to have it translated in Greek by an acclaimed Greek translator, Mr Christos Kapsalis, as Greece and its culture has been a main source of inspiration for me in my writing. The story takes place in Athens and what is very interesting is the fact that it’s from the perspective of an American girl.
Protogenesis is a series of 7 books. Is the main plot already organized or do you form it in the process?
When I first started writing my book, I contacted my friend Kelly Fullerton, a professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television as well as the MFA screen writing program at Hollins University, to guide me. She is a young adult TV Writer for some successful Hollywood Series. She helped me rearrange my ideas. We mapped out the seven book series and now we have the full outlines for books two and three on which I will be working on this summer.
Is the whole series based on the same characters?
Yes it is. The story unfolds within a period of 5 years approximately. As my main character grows older you can see some changes in Greece too. Some good changes for Greece that I really wish would actually happen in real life too. People say that I have a gift in foreseeing things. I’ll tell you this, when my husband and I were trying to build our first business together we faced a lot of difficulties. To get through those difficult times, as a therapy I enrolled to the UCLA screenwriting program. I then wrote a story of what was going on in my life but I wrote the ending that I wanted. I’m happy to say that we finally succeeded.
Are we to expect a short film or even a movie about Protogenesis?
Well we have already produced and released a series of short films called Footsteps in Athens which is inspired by the story of Protogenesis. These films take you around Athens and the sites of the book, staring Kostas Martakis and myself as the hosts. We really hope that through these cinematically crafted films we can help project the beauty of Greece to the world. At the time we are also working on an American TV Series, based on my real life story behind the writing of Protogenesis, that is under a Hollywood contract right now and several US networks are looking at it. There is a comedy aspect in that series because things for me happen in a humorous kind of way.
What is your business relationship with Kostas Martakis?
Well everyone knows the story of how we met. Kostas Martakis was the person that inspired one of the main characters in the book. I picked out his picture randomly on the internet, I didn’t even know he was Greek. Then when I traveled to Greece to get to know the country better for my writing research as I was driving from the airport to the hotel I saw a nightclub billboard with Kostas’ image on it. Then a few trips later I actually met him in person and that’s when the collaboration began. He has performed the soundtrack of the Protogenesis novel, Forever and Tonight, and as I mentioned earlier he also starred with me in the Footsteps in Athens short films.
Protogenesis has almost become something like a community effort as many people in some way touched me along this journey. They invited me into their homes and they all taught me something about Greece that helped me with my writing. Kostas Martakis is one of them! I am very happy because my vision is an international collaboration between Americans, Greeks and more people of different nationalities who are making all this happen.
As a teenager you were always involved in art projects, like dancing, acting and writing, but how did you decide to study economics. Why is that?
I was actually a ballet dancer. I was about to dance for the Kansas City Ballet but when I started there I had an accident and I injured my ankle. It was the Achilles tear and you can’t easily recover from that. I decided to become an actress. I went to LA and I was going to get into UCLA, but it’s funny how in life you go in one way and it takes you a different way. I was actually disappointed, going there at a young age and not knowing anybody. So I randomly took a class of economics and I really liked it. My professor actually pointed out that I have a strategic mind and I should consider it as my major.
So you don’t regret following these studies?
No, of course not. I have to say it helped me a lot with the book and the projects that are related to it. Through Protogenesis Media we’ve built much more than a book. For instance, I’m a co-producer on the TV Show we are developing, so instead of just selling my ideas I have a saying of how they will be brought to life.
Do you have your husband’s support in this project?
My husband and I have built nine companies together. All these years I have been very supporting to him and now he encourages me to follow my passion. He backs me up all the way. He’s on the board of my company and always offers advice and support. As for the TV Show, he is one of the main characters in the story!
How about your ten year old son?
Well I have to say that I used to be an over caring mother before. Now that I go on all these trips for my work he has become stronger and more independent and I think that I have become a better parent.
What are your plans in the near future?
I am currently working on the next two books of the first trilogy of the Protogenesis Book Series which we expect to be released in the next two years. As soon as the trilogy is out we will be discussing the books’ film adaptation with movie studios. I’ve been on a book tour for the past two months for both the English and the Greek publication of Protogenesis, traveling around the United States and then to Greece and Cyprus.
I am very pleased that I have connected with the Greek communities in the U.S. and that I have received generous support by the Greek Councils in various cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and more to come! They have been very open and excited to support our efforts in promoting the story of Protogenesis and through that to project the beauty of Greece to the world! Protogenesis Media was also a sponsor at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival in June 2018.
When I want to focus on my writing I go to the Mountains. What I like about the Rocky Mountains is that Yellowstone is located there. It’s the largest volcano in the world and I can feel the energy that is stored within it! It helps me write. That is my personal writing retreat, a peaceful place where I can relax and concentrate on my writing.
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