Today I will be interviewing Loukia Borrell, the author of her debut novel Raping Aphrodite. Her novel combines two story lines: past and present day and deals with the resilience of the human spirit to persevere in the face of a militant invasion of their homeland.
To write a pretty sizable book as your first novel is quite an achievement. How did you keep yourself motivated?
I learned very early in life the importance of perseverance. My parents were immigrants and they came to America without a formal education or deep pockets. They had other things though: youth and a clear idea of making it. Their strong work ethic and their dedication to family is something I have felt all of my life. Their story and the story of my relatives who endured the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, are things I have carried around for several decades, but was too young and undisciplined to do the work. Now, I know how important it is to tell their experiences - the story of what happened in Cyprus, to the country and its people. Keeping all of them in mind kept me motivated, as well as my own desire to say, at age 49, "Hey, I wrote a book." I spent more than 20 years working for newspapers, magazines, raising children, and caring for family members who were ill. I didn't want to surrender my belief in myself as an author. So, I stayed on target and made a commitment to finish. I was raised to complete what I begin. I also knew I was alone in this. Without an agent or a big publishing house, my chances of selling the book were even harder, but I decided not to let that stop me. What I felt inside was more important to me than having a best-seller. You have to do what you are meant to do. For me, that is writing. I couldn't agree more.
Writing is a rite of passage. What did you learn about yourself during the process?
I learned I have gotten old enough to do the things I thought were too hard when I was younger. That it is never too late to change your direction, to begin a new project. I also learned that I wasn't afraid of this book. That I put my mind to it, did the best I could and that as long as it was written, I had succeeded.