From Greek to English - Gregory Kontaxis

9 May 2023

When I started writing my debut novel five years ago. I never imagined my journey as an author. Originally, I wrote this novel in my native language, often wondering if it would be better in English.

After some trials, I was convinced that writing in a different language wouldn’t result in the desired outcome. I decided to continue writing my story in Greek.

I believe that most fantasy authors have an idea about a specific scene or a character and around this idea, they develop their world. I had an idea about a Queen who is about to lose her crown and get murdered and then, just before her end, a boy will appear and try to save her. I liked this idea, and I developed a medieval world around it.  I faced many obstacles after I wrote the first chapters of my story. I wanted to create a realistic world and I spent a lot of time reading about sieges, war, politics, and the structure of medieval society.

After almost three years, I finished my story and tried to publish it in Greece. I signed with a small publisher that wanted to expand in the UK and was excited to see the outcome of my first novel. Some events led to the cancellation of my contract some months later. I signed with another publisher in Greece and then, I decided to translate again my novel, since the translation I received from my first publisher didn’t capture the spirit of my story in the way I wanted.

At this point in time, I realized how hard is for a foreign author to translate his work having the same standards–in language terms–as an English author. I tried many different translators, until I found one that did great work and then, I started sending samples of my book to some fellow authors and bloggers. I was lucky enough that Mark Lawrence gave me invaluable information about the English market and different writing styles.

My book was written in an omniscient style which is common in Greek but not common in the English market. I knew that some great English authors use this style but it is always accompanied by flowered prose. Thus, it would be very hard to support it with a translated novel. I followed Mark’s advice and changed the style of my book. Then, I tried to find a good editor to help me perfect my language and my writing style. Taya Greylock did phenomenal work in my novel and finally, I had in my hands my work in English.

My whole journey to publish this novel lasted five years. Through this time, I learned many things and I met wonderful people who supported me from the beginning. When I started thinking about translating my novel, many fellow Greek authors advised me against it saying that I would be disappointed with the outcome. It’s true; Greek is a difficult language, not easy to translate to other languages, and Greek authors are not really known around the world. However, I decided to not give up and chase this dream. Today, I look back and I realize that the journey was long, but I am really happy with the outcome. My debut novel will be out soon and many bloggers and fellow authors already expressed positive reviews that prove my hard work has paid off.

I believe there are many foreign authors out there who are scared to either write directly in English or translate their work. My advice to them is to keep trying and chase their dream. Hard work always pays off and if an author finds people who want to work with him (translators and editors) the result can be great.

After all these years working on this novel and the things I have learned, I am sure that I will keep writing and translating my work for many years. I hope readers find my stories intriguing and unique. For my fellow authors, all I want to say is that there are many difficult days when you start the author’s journey but always keep in mind why we all started writing; writing a novel is FUN, and doing something you love is amazing despite any disappointment.

About the author


Gregory Kontaxis was born on 17th December 1989 in Athens. He studied Informatics and Finance in Greece and the United Kingdom and he has worked as a Financial Analyst in Vienna and London. He currently resides in London where he is occupied with investment risk management and writing. The Return of the Knights is the first book of his planned pentalogy, The Dance of Light.