Hey Guys! So today I am introducing you all to the wonderful Loukia Borrell! Her book, Raping Aphroditeis out now! Links to Amazon are underneath the interview! But, before I waste anymore of your time, let’s get on with it!
Hello Loukia! Welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! To start us off, tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know. Well, I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and raised in Virginia Beach. I graduated from Elon University with a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism and for about 20 years worked as a reporter and freelance writer for newspapers in Florida and Virginia. “Raping Aphrodite” is my first book. I am married and have three children. I’ll be 49 in June – but my husband tells me I look younger and I am foolish enough to believe him.
One question I find is always interesting to ask, how long have you wanted to be a writer? Probably when I first felt I had writing ability, which would have been in high school. When you think you can do something, whatever it is – writing, painting, acting – you also have to have the right person or people behind you who believe what you do. After college, when I was just starting out, I had a very good editor at a weekly newspaper in Northern Virginia. His name was Bob Endicott and he just really helped me along, took me under his wing. It was enough to let me know that someone really believed in me. After him, I didn’t always work for the right people or have the best work environment. Luckily, I have some sort of chemical drip in my head that keeps me going, an inner voice that sends me along on my intended path, even if there are obstacles.
That’s good to hear, it’s always about just persevering! Since you’ve been writing for so long, when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do? I try to find things to do that calm me, so I take long walks, watch movies, read, and try to get away from my house a couple of times a year with memorable vacations.
So now that we know more about you, what about your novel? What is it all about? “Raping Aphrodite” is a novel with two story lines. The first story line is about a woman, Tash Colgate, who owns an art gallery in Norfolk, Va. She agrees to exhibit some art from Cyprus and, in doing so, begins to unravel long-held family secrets those close to her wish would stay hidden. Her husband, Christian, digs deeper and learns his wife isn’t who she thinks she is. The second story line is about a young Peace Corps volunteer who is taken hostage in Cyprus, when the island was invaded by Turkey in 1974. She escapes and begins to walk to the capital to get help for the others in her group. Toward the end of the book, both story lines merge.
It definitely sounds interesting! But what inspired you to write a story in this genre? Both of my parents are from Cyprus and my maternal grandparents vanished when Turkey invaded the island. Growing up, I heard a lot of stories about the island’s history, that invasion and the people in this village or that. Those stories stayed with me over the years. A little more than two years ago, my oldest daughter had an English assignment to write a short story about a fictional character in a real period of history. She chose the invasion of Cyprus and her decision inspired me to give it a try.
Wow, that’s amazing. What, then, would you say was the overall message (if any) that you wanted to get across with your novel? I have always felt that Cyprus’ story is an untold tale. The island sits at the intersection of the Middle East, Asia and Europe and has a storied history. It has very deep, rich beginnings that date back more than 10,000 years. During its history, Cyprus has been part of many different cultures, including the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. It was a British Crown colony until 1960. Despite all that, I regularly come across people who don’t know where Cyprus is and never heard of the invasion in 1974. There are still people missing from that summer. I wanted to tell the island’s story, hence the title, “Raping Aphrodite.” Cyprus is Aphrodite’s birthplace and the invasion raped the island of its peace and tranquility. Overall, I hope the book opens more discussion about Cyprus’ future and educates people who have no idea where it is.
I like the idea behind the title, and I hope others get the message from the book. But, did you enjoy writing your story? I did. This book is not a political document or a formal response to anything. It is a novel, with fictional characters in fictional settings. I enjoyed manipulating my characters and imagining what they would – or wouldn’t – do next.
With that in mind, did you use a structured plan or did it sort of tell it’s own story along the way? The only characters I had in mind before I started writing were the couple, Tash and Christian Colgate, and the Peace Corps volunteer, Barbra Duffy. I had no plan or idea what I was going to have them doing. I just let my fingers type and put them where my mind told them to go. The story just unfolded little by little, until I had more than 70,000 words.
As you started off with just your characters, would you say you had a favourite character in the story? I guess Tash and Christian. I based some of their issues and conversations on personal experiences and people I know. I see them as being very much in love, but with challenges, and I can relate to how that feels. I think many people can.
I think many people would agree with you there! With that in mind, were there any challenging scenes that you felt that you just couldn’t get right? I had trouble writing the rape scene and the sexual scenes between Tash and Christian. People have sex but it is different when you are sitting there in front of a computer trying to describe two people being intimate. I also was keenly aware that people I know might read it and think, hey, now we know what she is doing when she isn’t raking her yard.
Yes, I can see how that would be a daunting project! So, who would you say that your novel is targeted at? Art enthusiasts, people interested in Middle Eastern history, Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, women in their 30s to 50s who may be able to identify with the characters.
And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
Don’t let other people be gatekeepers for your work. Keep moving forward. Just jump it and move.
and a quick fire round; ebooks or hard copies? hard day or night? day reading or writing? both paper or computer? both tea or coffee? neither favourite book of the moment? Mine, of course! most memorable book? “Vox” by Nicholson Baker
Thank you Loukia! It’s been a pleasure talking with you today! To find out more on Loukia, or to chat with her yourself, you can find her in these places;
Twitter: @LoukiaBorrell Goodreads: Loukia Borrell
Raping Aphrodite can be purchased from Amazon by clicking here.
Author: Loukia Borrel Published: October 29th 2011 Publisher: Self-Published Pages: Unknown Format: e-book Goodreads: Add It
Summary: (From Goodreads)
What if everything you know about your life is wrong? In “Raping Aphrodite,” Tash Colgate seems to have everything: a solid marriage, a successful career and a bright future. But all that changes when Tash agrees to display items from Cyprus in her art gallery, opening the door on long-held family secrets that, once exposed, will change the lives of everyone Tash knows and trusts.