GVN: Hello Kika! Thank you for speaking with Geek Vibes Nation about your novel, Threads That Bind. Could you start by telling our readers a little about yourself and your novel?
Thank you for inviting me here! Threads That Bind is my debut YA fantasy noir novel, the first in a duology about a detective with the powers of the Greek Fates that tries to solve a series of otherworldly murders while navigating a soulmate romance and complicated family dynamics. A few things about me: I’m a native Greek, I completed my MFA in Writing for Children at the New School in New York, and I’ve worked as a teacher and in foreign publishing in the past.
GVN: Threads That Bind has such a fascinating plot. What inspired you to write the novel?
The first inkling was an image of a girl standing on a rooftop above a flooded city, holding a silver thread in her hands. I’ve long wanted to write a detective story and I’ve always been fascinated by Greek gods that are usually secondary characters in stories, such as the Fates, the Muses, and the Furies – and I thought I’d combine the two! I decided to fill this story with all the different elements I love in books, such as a noir urban setting, a world with elements of climate change, the complicated bonds of sisterhood and, one of my favorite tropes, the soulmate romance.
GVN: Greek mythology is full of fascinating gods, monsters, and heroes. What made you decide to focus on The Fates?
The Fates were such interesting deities in myth: they decide how well and how long the ancient heroes lived and yet they were never the main characters of a story. I’ve always found their triptych fascinating – one sister weaves the threads, the other draws them out, the third cuts them. It seemed like the perfect set-up to explore sisterhood, romance, destiny and choice. But as the story took shape, I wanted to explore fate beyond life and death, and so I invented a world in which the threads connect us to anything we grow to love, be it family, friends, lovers, places, objects, and even ideas. Io, the main character, is the youngest sister, a cutter of threads, and employs her powers as a detective in the slums of her city, which creates a lot of opportunities for both the reader and me as an author to explore the complexity of emotion we all experience.
GVN: Threads That Bind perfectly blends noir elements with young adult fantasy. Did you struggle to balance both genres in the novel?
I didn’t, to be honest, but I did struggle to edit it afterwards, during the many revisions I did before the duology sold to my editor at Razorbill. For a little context: by the time I sat down to write Threads That Bind, I had written and tried to publish a few manuscripts. Having studied and worked in publishing, I could never eliminate the confines of marketing as I wrote. I often ended up simplifying or cutting out elements that didn’t fit into the current market in fantasy.
The whole process had left me drained and a little bit heartbroken, so when I started writing Threads, I decided this story would be for me and me alone. I would fill it with all the things I loved, all the tropes I enjoyed, all the genre-bending elements I admired in other books. I threw all my literary loves into Threads: Greek and world myth, a girl detective, mob queens and gang wars, sisterhood and soulmate romance, a post-climate-apocalypse world. I wrote without outlining or really planning anything, but I did have a few goals in mind: creating a diverse world of descendants of sibling gods from world mythology and placing them in a noir setting with a detective story at its heart. Writing that first draft was pure self-indulgent joy, but I did set myself up for very hard revisions afterwards!
GVN: Io is such a complex, well-developed, and fierce character. What was your process when it came to creating her?
I’m so happy you liked Io! She is very near and dear to my heart. I think what most shaped her character was the fact that she is a descendant of the Fates. She has a very close, complicated relationship with her older sisters, which informed her childhood and upbringing, as well as how she thinks of herself now. She also has the ability to touch and cut the threads that connect people to all the things they love, which makes her very considerate of others’ emotions and ultimately, a little petrified to act on her own emotions.
If you’ll allow me to geek out a bit here, I’m also very fond of Michael Hauge’s theory on the Six Stages of Character Development, which I’ve tried to implement in my work for years. It’s a character arc-building tool that helps you pinpoint some of the crucial elements of a character’s journey in a story. For both writers and readers, I strongly recommend his talk on the Hero’s 2 Journeys on Youtube, where he uses one of my personal favorites (Shrek!) to exemplify his theory.
GVN: How did you go about creating Io’s supporting cast? Do you have a secret for creating lively, three-dimensional secondary characters?
I think all people – and by extension, fictional characters – are a product of their roots, upbringing, and the world they live in. The world of Threads That Bind is a gritty, neo-noir, diverse urban environment in a post-climate-apocalypse setting, which means its characters are constantly trying to survive in a world full of threats. For each new character, I tried to come up with a backstory that would fit into this world and also consider what choices they have made in the past or would make during the course of the story. Besides Michael Hauge’s character journey theory, which I’ve mentioned above, I’d also suggest that writers ground their characters in reality. One of the pitfalls of writing a story with the plot mapped out in our heads is that we often end up forcing the characters into choices that service the plot, but I would recommend taking a step back and figuring out what our own choice would be in the moment. In Threads, I attempted to imbue each character (and especially the dialogue) with the voice and choices that make sense for them personally in that circumstance. Emotions are far more complicated and spontaneous than any plot point or outline, and I’ve tried to reflect that in Io, as well as the secondary characters of Threads That Bind.
GVN: The world-building in this novel is truly astounding. How did you go about building the fictional city of Alante?
This makes me very happy, because I love setting! I think it’s one of the most important parts of a book, especially in speculative fiction, and I enjoy coming up with setting so, so much. When it comes to Alante, I tried to shape it around that first image that inspired the story. The girl was standing above a flooded yet functioning city, which led me into researching climate disaster scenarios, related weather and flora and fauna predictions, and migration patterns. Slowly, the setting of the Sunken City of Alante took shape; in an unspecified time in the past, a natural disaster led to a bloated ebb and flow of the tides that end up swallowing the street levels of the city. From there, the rest of the urban environment took shape, such as rooftop venues and cat bridges, a governing system of city-nations, the underbelly and gangs of the slums, class differences and prejudices against those with powers. I’m working on the sequel and final book of the duology now and expanding this world beyond Alante has been such fun!
GVN: What was your favorite part of writing the novel? Do you have a favorite character or chapter?
I really loved letting loose and filling this story with all the things I love, but I’ve also been blessed with a great team that has made editing this book a pleasure. Some of my elements I’m most fond of are Io and Edei’s relationship, the Muses and their prophecy, as well as my personal favorite: Bianca Rossi, mob queen of the Silts. My favorite scene is the sweet moment with Io and Edei at the end of Chapter 27 and my very favorite line (however random it may seem) is the last, spoiler-y sentence of chapter 30.
GVN: Can you tell us about what you’re working on next?
I’m hard at work on the sequel and final book in the duology, which concludes Io’s story and should be released next year. It’s been amazing to continue working with my team at Penguin and I’ve been loving writing the cataclysmic ending of Io’s story so much!
GVN: Where can our readers connect with you online?
I’m on most social media (Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok) under @kikahatzopoulou, but I’m mostly active on Instagram. I also have a website at kikahatzopoulou.com, which lists the email you can reach me at – I love interacting with readers and answering questions!
In a world where the children of the gods inherit their powers, a descendant of the Greek Fates must solve a series of impossible murders to save her sisters, her soulmate, and her city, for fans of Song of Achilles.
Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante.
But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met.
The investigation turns personal when Io’s estranged oldest sister shows up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players before destruction comes to her own doorstep.
Kika Hatzopoulou writes stories for all ages, filled with lore and whimsy. She holds an MFA for writing for children from the New School and works in foreign publishing. She currently splits her time between London and her native Greece, where she enjoys urban quests and gastronomical adventures while narrating entire book and movie plots with her partner. Find Kika on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @kikahatzopoulou and on her website kikahatzopoulou.com.
Writer. Video Essayist. Film/TV Critic. Pop Culture Enthusiast.
When he isn’t writing for Geek Vibes Nation or creating content for his YouTube channel, Tristian can be found typing away at the young adult novel he has been working on for three years.