This week I welcome back a woman who first appeared on Ink Drop Interviews back in January of 2012. At that time, it was to promote her book, Raping Aphrodite. Today, please help me to once again welcome, Loukia Borrell, as she talks about her new release, Delicate Secrets.
IDI – Hi Loukia, it’s great to talk with you again. Let’s start with your new release, Delicate Secrets. You self-published Raping Aphrodite several years ago and have recently self-published its prequel, Delicate Secrets. Tell us about their similarities and differences.
LB – Raping Aphrodite is historical fiction and alternates between 2009 and events happening in the lives of a young married couple in Virginia, and 1974, when an island in the Mediterranean was being invaded. They begin to realize they have a secret connection to the 1974 events and both story lines come together at the end of the book. Delicate Secrets is the prequel to Raping Aphrodite. It lacks the historical aspect and takes place in 1993 and 1994, when the couple, Tash and Christian, has just met. They begin a secret, taboo relationship that abruptly ends and threatens to derail both of them for the rest of their lives. The books are both part of ‘The Aphrodite Anthologies’ and feature the same lead characters.
IDI – What works for you? Give us a rundown of your ‘writing process’ from beginning to finished product.
LB – There is usually a spark, something that happens to me or someone I know, that gives me an idea. When my oldest daughter was in sixth-grade, she had an English assignment where she had to place a fictional character into a real historical event. She chose the 1974 invasion and division of Cyprus, a Mediterranean island where her maternal grandparents were born. During that crisis, all of our relatives living there either became refugees or were killed as Turkey invaded the Northern third of the island and took control of it. After I helped her with the paper, I decided to take a try at writing a book using the same model: Fictional characters, real event. I started writing in 2009 and, a year later, had 70,000 words. That English assignment led to the publication of my first book, Raping Aphrodite. I used real history from the crisis and mixed it in with the fictional aspects of the book. I just wove it together, using my knowledge and imagination. Some days I wrote for several hours, and other days, I didn’t have a clear idea of the direction I wanted the book to take. So, I waited it out until I knew what I wanted to say. On days I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about doing so. If you chip away at something, eventually, it will be completed.
IDI – Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
LB – My target audience is mature women, women who have some life experience and have tasted success and failure so that they have more perspective and maturity going forward. The lead female character in both Raping Aphrodite and Delicate Secrets is Tash. In Delicate Secrets, she is a young woman, 18 years old, and ready for whatever is next. She is strong and adventurous, but she gets burned, like so many of do at that age. In Raping Aphrodite, Tash is in her mid-30s and has learned more about life and what she wants. She’s had her ups and downs. Other women can relate to her because she has known disappointment and things haven’t always turned out, but she has the confidence to continue on her path.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
LB – When I was young, all I thought about was having fun and making money. As I have gotten older, there is a lot more information going through my mind and more for me to draw from when I am writing. Some sources of inspiration include my marriage, personal challenges, the death of family members, dealing with adolescent children, running a household, and supporting other people so they can get done what they need to do. Those elements are in both of my novels. I drew from my own experiences as well as experiences I knew about that are universal to everyone.
IDI – How important are your reading habits to your writing habits?
LB – If you want to be a writer, a blogger or a journalist, whatever, you have to know what other people are doing. What is out there? What does the public want to read? Those are questions you should be asking yourself, so you are aware of holes you may be able to fill for readers. Dig deeper. You can answer all of those questions by being an avid reader of all types of books, whether they are self-published or put out by a big publishing house. Read newspapers, follow bloggers, watch TV. You get more ideas and knowledge by keeping up with world events.
IDI – There is a lot of commotion about the effect ebooks are having on brick and mortar booksellers. Do you think ebooks have reached their climax or do you believe they still have room to expand in the market?
LB – I think there will always be printed books, but they will be fewer in the years ahead. It is just simpler and less expensive to read a book on a tablet and the younger generations will likely go in that direction. People who grew up reading hardcovers and paperbacks will probably want to keep a book in their hands, even if it costs a little more.
IDI – How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
LB – As a self-published author, I devote a certain amount of time each day to promoting my two books. I am on Goodreads. Sometimes I post something or make a comment in one of the groups I am in so other people can get to know me and see my work. I do the same on LinkedIn and Twitter. I also try to support other writers and bloggers by giving them shout outs, liking their comments or posts. It is all mutual. I wish everyone well.
IDI – Everyone has visions of where they see themselves in the future, be it a year or five. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?
LB – Five years ago, I was still living in the same house I am in now, raising my children and beginning work on my first novel, Raping Aphrodite. Five years from now, two of my children will be grown and the youngest will be in high school. I hope I will have completed my third book and am still healthy and married to my husband. I think if I can reach those goals, I will have done well.
IDI – What is the hardest or most frustrating aspect of writing? Ideas, getting started, writer’s block, re-writing?
LB – The hardest part of being an author, for me, is promoting my work and finding the time to write.
IDI – They say know the rules and then you may break them. Which ones do you find yourself breaking the most and does it work in your writing?
LB – The only thing I can think of is that 90 literary agencies turned down Raping Aphrodite, so I self-published. That is breaking the rules. And I did it again with Delicate Secrets, except I didn’t even try to find an agent or a publishing house. Any author who takes that initial rejection and turns it around has a wild hair and breaks the rules, in a good way.
IDI – Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
LB – My husband, Gordon. He has been part of my life for 27 years and knew me back in the 1980s when I was a journalist. Sometimes, through circumstances, people have to give up on their dreams and he didn’t want to see me do that. He genuinely supports me and knows I need positive feedback to keep going.
IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
LB – Don’t be discouraged. If you have something to say, say it. Do your thing.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
LB – I can’t speak about other authors, but I thought, when I published Raping Aphrodite a few years ago, it would be discovered. I was wrong about that. I had to work hard to get out the word about my book because I don’t have a literary agent or a publisher behind me. It is just me. If you are going to write a book, your hardest work may still be in front of you as you try to promote it.
IDI – What’s the best advice ever given to you, and by whom?
LB – My husband once told me not to wait for other people to give me an opportunity to do things. Create the opportunity you want and other people will follow you. My late father taught me throughout my life to keep going, no matter what.
IDI – Define a great book.
LB – A great book is one that keeps your interest, makes you want to turn the page and stays with you long after you have finished it. It has meaning, speaks to you beyond the writing.
IDI – What do you do when you’re not writing?
LB – It depends on the day of the week. If it is Monday or Friday, I am visiting my mother at her nursing home. She has Alzheimer’s Disease and I know she won’t be around much longer. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I am usually closer to home, at appointments, planning meals, running errands, taking care of the yard. We have a very busy family with children in different schools. I usually take Saturday and Sunday to rest before the week begins again.
IDI – Where can we find you and your books?
LB – I am on Twitter @LoukiaBorrell and I always follow back! I also am on LinkedIn and Goodreads. “Raping Aphrodite” is available for Kindle and in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Raping-Aphrodite-The-Anthologies-Book-ebook/dp/B0063W6KMG and also at BN.com for Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raping-aphrodite-loukia-borrell/1107015445?ean=9780615564326 “Delicate Secrets” is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.ca/Delicate-Secrets-Aphrodite-Anthologies-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2ZX67Y and for Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/delicate-secrets-loukia-borrell/1120213269?ean=2940150454835 Delicate Secrets comes out in paperback in Spring 2015.
IDI – Thank you so much for appearing with me today, Loukia. Congratulations and I wish you the best and continued success with your latest release. By the way, I love the cover!
LB – Thank you.