Friday, 9 March 2012

Author Interview - Loukia Borrell

Loukia Borrell, author of "Raping Aphrodite," joined us today for an interview. Thank you, Loukia, for taking time out of your busy schedule for us! 

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.


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Do you see writing as a career?
I had a real focus on English when I was growing up, so I gravitated toward that as I made my way to college. There, I decided to be a journalist and worked at the college newspaper, eventually becoming editor my senior year. After graduating, I spent about 20 years working for various newspapers in Virginia and Florida. When I had children, I wrote less often. It was more of an off and on thing. A few years ago, I started my first book, "Raping Aphrodite." I didn't see myself as an author 10 years ago or even five, but I think you have to evolve as you age and keep moving. Some writers can make a career out of it, those who have popular series or blockbusters every year, but I am not in that group. Maybe, someday. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 
I don't have hours and hours of free time because all of my children are still young. My primary responsibility is raising them and running the day-to-day schedule in the house. That includes the yard, groceries, cooking, laundry, etc. My mother, who has dementia, stays with us weekdays, so I have a lot going on all the time. Still, I find the time to do what I want to do. I write early in the mornings, while people are sleeping, in the afternoons when the kids are in school, and sometimes late at night. I wrote most of "Raping Aphrodite" in my bedroom, on a sofa. It was pretty straightforward. I don't have a private getaway or a writer's studio.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
There is a rape scene in "Raping Aphrodite" and some consensual sex scenes I felt awkward writing about. I felt they needed to be in the book to fully detail events in a character's life or to better understand the relationship between two important characters. 

What or who do you see as the influences on your writing?
For "Raping Aphrodite," I was influenced by my own heritage. Both of my parents were born in Cyprus and my maternal grandparents disappeared when Turkey invaded the island. I heard many stories about the island's history and that particular summer that have stayed with me through the years, so that back story definitely influenced the book.

Can you tell us a little bit about Raping Aphrodite? 
"Raping Aphrodite" is a novel with two story lines. The first story line is about a woman named Tash Colgate, who owns an art gallery in Norfolk, Va., and agrees to have an exhibition of items from Cyprus. In doing so, her life unravels as long-held secrets about her past bubble to the surface. Her husband, Christian, learns his wife isn't who she thinks she is. The second story line goes back to 1974, when Cyprus was invaded by Turkey. A young American Peace Corps volunteer is taken hostage, escapes and begins to walk to the island's capital to get help for the others in her group. Toward the end of the book, both story lines come together. 

What are you working on now?  
I am working with a book designer to get "Raping Aphrodite" out in soft cover with CreateSpace. I also am answering questions like these for bloggers. Later, once I feel ready, I plan to begin the prequel to "Raping Aphrodite," which will focus on Tash and Christian's relationship when she was in high school.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
I take very long walks to think things through. I also ride my bike, watch movies, and write in my journal. Once or twice a year I get away with my family and take a trip. 

What book are you reading now?
Patricia Highsmith's "Ripley Under Ground." 

Thank you for having me as a guest. I am on Twitter @LoukiaBorrell and also on Goodreads and Book Blogs. "Raping Aphrodite" is an e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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