Housewife who wrote steamy novel in secret on scraps of paper and old receipts shocks family by landing major book deal
- Anna-Maria Athanasiou, 47, is originally from Leeds and lives in Cyprus
- Mother-of-two wrote 'erotic but romantic' novel in secret
- She was 'too embarrassed' to tell people she thought she could be a writer
- Would write ideas of scraps of paper and old receipts
- When her brother found out about the book he contacted publishers
- She was offered a book deal and Waiting For Summer is on sale now
A housewife has landed a book deal after writing a steamy novel in secret for the past 14 months.
Anna-Maria Athanasiou, 47, originally from Leeds but now living in Cyprus, hadn't even told her husband of 23 years, Marios, that she was penning the book.
She told MailOnline: 'I'm not a writer by profession and I felt a bit embarrassed to tell people that I thought I could write a book. My husband works nights so I would write when I was on my own in the evenings or before he got up in the morning.'
Secret writer: Anna-Maria Athanasiou has had her first novel published after penning it without telling anyone
Anna-Maria said she's always had a 'big imagination' and had thought about writing a novel for years after getting an idea for a story. She would often scribble down notes and ideas when she was out and about so that various plot threads and conversations between characters ended up being written on any scraps of paper she had handy at the time.
She explains: 'The idea for the story came into my head about ten years ago but I never thought about writing it down. Then after my sons got older and I started to have more time I thought I would finally try and write it and I just became absorbed in it and getting it written.
Inspiration came at inconvenient times: The mother-of-two would scribble notes on scraps of paper until she finally bought a notebook, left
'I wasn't very organised though and I would often get inspiration when I was out or driving. I'd have to write things down on bits of paper or old receipts so I could then make sense of it and type it up when I got home. Eventually I realised it would be beneficial to get a notebook!'
The mother said her two sons, George, 18 and Michael, 12, knew what she was doing as they often saw her working at her computer but never expected she would become a published author.
She describes her book, called Waiting For Summer, as 'erotic but romantic' fiction, saying it contains sex scenes to satisfy Fifty Shades Of Grey fans while having an engaging plot to keep readers hooked on the storyline as well.
Exotic location: The book is set in Limassol, Cyprus, and tells the tale of Sylvie Sapphiris whose perfect life is shattered when she discovers her husband is having an affair
It is set in the author's home town of Limassol in Cyprus and tells the tale of Sylvie Sapphiris whose seemingly perfect
Anna-Maria said she feels the book differs to other romantic fiction on the market as the main character is not a young woman but is in her forties. She welcomes comparisons to Shirley Valentine, which has a similar plot to her book's synopsis, but said it's 'much more unconventional than that'.
She wouldn't divulge further for fear of spoiling the plot for readers.
Those who are intrigued can find the book in stores or download it to their e-readers now after it has been published by Austin Macauley. A second installment will be published in April.
'Gobsmacked': The writer and her family were shocked and delighted when the book was published by Austin Macauley
The mother-of-two said she and her family were 'gobsmacked' when she found a publisher, which was all thanks to her brother, Anthony.
She explains: 'Once I'd finished the book I started to show snippets to my friends and they were all really positive and said I should try and get it published. My mother read the whole book and she agreed. When she told my brother about it he was shocked as he had just been to visit me and I hadn't mentioned it.
'But he then started contacting publishers on my behalf. The big publishers would only deal with literary agents but three smaller ones did get in touch and asked to read more. I was then offered the deal by Austin Macauley. We were all shocked and delighted as it happened so quickly.
'They were all really proud of me. My husband couldn't believe I hadn't told him about it but he was really supportive and said he knew I could do it.'
Waiting For Summer is available now from book shops and Amazon.co.uk. You can also visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/waitingforsummerannamariaathanasiou