Greek American writer Eva Konstantopoulos talks to Neos Kosmos about her supernatural horror stories and her life as a writer in Los Angeles
When writer Eva Konstantopoulos dreams, it’s more than just thoughts, images and sounds that occur during sleep. Her dreams, the Greek American says, are a unique source of inspiration for her stories.
“I do write down my dreams but they’re more like impressions or feelings and trying to capture and then building the world around that.”
She explains, for instance, when she was little she would have these dreams of her dad’s small village in Greece and while she was growing up she always thought it was this magical place.
“There wasn’t a lot to do there so your imagination could go wild,” she says.
So wild, in fact, that now she is writing a horror story originating from a dream image of a girl being consumed by locusts.
“I want to go back [to the dream] and see why that would have happened or what sort of haunting story could emerge from that visual,” she says adding that, rather aptly, she loves genre. Horror, sci-fi, thriller, action and adventure and Konstantopoulos is on board.
“Anything where the world is a little tilted from reality,” she says.
These stories that are a little tilted from reality are ones that Konstantopoulos says she’s been writing since she was little: about mythical creatures and the like, influenced largely from what she describes as her superstitious family.
“I grew up mostly in New York and I think my parents, my dad especially, who is an immigrant from Greece, likes telling stories a lot. I have a lot of superstitious family. They just liked to talk about stories a lot and I think that inspired me to want to tell stories too, when I was older.”
Imbued with a writer’s sensibility and imagination, Konstantopoulos unsurprisingly wrote from an early age preferring the written word to mathematics or science.
She went to school at Emerson College in Boston and during her last semester found herself interning at Lionsgate Films in Los Angeles.
Although she’d never really considered moving to Los Angeles after college she worked various jobs in New York and road-tripped to Los Angeles with a friend and stayed on where she completed a Master of Fine Arts at University of California, Riverside and began a transition to screenwriting.
“It was kind of great actually because it was fully funded and I got to teach and write for about three years. They had dual focuses in the program so I was doing literary fiction and also focusing on screen writing.
“I think I’ve always been really interested in both. Although now I seem to be more in the screenwriting realm but I do love fiction.”
Enter Hush. Her book about four 20-somethings including an orphaned brother and sister who run an exploitative medium service but eventually are served their comeuppance was recently picked up by Netflix and retitled to Malevolent. Here Konstantopoulos weaves a kind of malefic thread around her misguided troublesome characters and perfectly demonstrates that off-kilter, askew world that Konstantopoulos seems to tap into so well.
“I had heard this story of people taking advantage of elderly, lonely strangers and I wondered what if they got their comeuppance?” she says.
“Or what if these people were taking advantage of those in mourning and they bit off more than they could chew and ended up in over their heads. I feel like people take advantage of people all over the world. It was vaguely based in reality and that sparked the journey of these characters.”
But the story also shares another story of a young woman – Angela – coming into her own and trying to recognise her own power inside her. This, says Konstantopoulos, is something that she has struggled with or seen friends struggle with, coming into your own power and not being afraid of what you can do.
“It’s something I’m interested in exploring in characters just how they sort of learn to be in the world and interact with those around them. I do think that sort of transformation is in my and a lot of other stories,” Konstantopoulos says.
But, she says, she hopes that her stories, which also now include episodes for Disney Junior and Nickelodeon that they help inspire people or help, teaching empathy or kindness.
“I feel like I’ve learned something from everything that I’ve written. I am proud of Hush, I wrote a short film called RE/COLLECTION about a shop that sells memories that I’m proud of,” she says bashfully.
For 2019 her writing will of course continue, introducing her readers to new intriguing tilted worlds, and even a supernatural horror script that takes place in Greece, inspired a little by inspired a little bit by the landscape in her dad’s village.
“I’m excited for 2019 and to see what happens next,” she says.
“I really think the best things are yet to come. Maybe that’s being too idealistic? It’s important for me to move on to the next story so that I can continue to learn and explore.”
This appeared in print January 19 and online.