Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Post -- Loukia Borrell

Morning All,

   Today I have Loukia Borrell, the author of Raping Aphrodite, doing a guest post for us, telling us the challenges of being a writer.

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I consider my novel, “Raping Aphrodite,” to be in the historical fiction category. That was a challenge, because I had to write about an event in history that, in my experience, is not widely taught in academic settings.

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia, was invaded and divided by Turkey in 1974. There were about 2,000 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot citizens who vanished and upwards of 200,000 people who were refugees, driven out of their villages into other parts of Cyprus. Some people left the island to start new lives in the United States, England and other parts of the world.

At the time, the United States was immersed in Richard Nixon’s downfall and the final months of the Vietnam War. The events in Cyprus were covered by mainstream news outlets, but they dropped off after a while, and the island was, for the most part, forgotten. It is still divided to this day. There are people who have never found loved ones, and those who did survive, were forced to make new lives elsewhere.

I had to figure out how to tell that story. I wanted it to be intriguing, suspenseful and also give readers a history lesson. I created a married couple who have survived challenges and stayed together, so readers who have withstood similar events could feel close to them. Then, I created a second story line that takes readers back to 1974, and the invasion of Cyprus, with characters from research and stories I remember from my childhood. I didn’t feel like I could make the book work if I approached it from a non-fiction perspective. I am Greek-Cypriot, but because I was born in the United States, I don’t consider myself an authority on Cyprus, so leaning toward a combination of entertainment and education for the reader seemed the smartest thing to do.

Once I figured out how I wanted to write the novel, I asked myself: Am I Greek enough to write this? Am I qualified to take on that summer and what the Cypriot people endured? Although I was not born in Cyprus, my parents were, and it is a special feeling to be able to say, “I know where I’m from.”  I felt the responsibility to tell the island’s story because once my parents pass away, I am the last true Cypriot in my immediate family. My children are only 50 percent Cypriot, so the ties to Cyprus are weakened and will continue to be so, as future generations pull away from our roots and form their own history. 

Getting people to want to learn about Cyprus will be the challenge as I move forward. I want to  educate them about the history and culture of Cyprus, and sell the book as entertainment.  I just hope the people of Cyprus will be happy with it, because this is really their story, above all.  
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wishing Loukia Borrell all success
Abhishek Boinapalli

1 comments:

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http://www.togetherfornature.blogspot.com
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