Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Loukia Borrell

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.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Unravelling the thread

I don't usually like the King of the Hill series but, the episode I am about to discuss, I do. For those not in the know, It's from the mind of Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead 'fame', Daria and the most excellent satire Idiocracy. I would describe this series as a realist's interpretation of The Simpsons but with a more subtle humor and bitter-sweet after taste.

This episode covers the story of Hank's wife Peggy and her attempts to rehabilitate herself after a plane crash. Her rehabilitation is agonisingly slow and she loses heart with the lack of progress. That is, until Cotton (Hank's father) decides to take up Peggy's cause. He does not treat her with kindness or patience, but rather, insults and the heartless goal for her to help herself, even if that means having her crawl on her belly to do it. I know the story is schmaltzy but I guess I must be a sucker for it because I liked it ... or at least I liked the message.

In its essence, it is about pushing through the can'ts and won'ts that frame your perception until all that is left is will and can. I don't wait, I don't wish, I don't hope, I don't dream, I aim, I target, I conquer. You are only limited by your desire to succeed and as long as you keep trying it is only a matter of time till you succeed*.

*success is not necessarily guaranteed :)