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LLM:Choose only one. If you could choose between invisibility or the ability to fly, which would you choose?
ATO:The ability to fly, of course, which is a recurrent theme in my dreams since my childhood! That way, I can cut down on commute time and even save damsels in distress.
LLM:Tell us about yourself and why we should read Turquoise.
ATO:Best answer to that question is the fact that it chronicles a woman’s quest for her passions, prime among them her love of the man she falls in love with at first sight, and motherhood, as she faces life with its glories and tragedies. We get to meet Yasmin, the protagonist quite intimately; she wears her heart on her sleeve, but manages to get up after she bloodies her nose to continue facing the challenges ahead of her. Each woman reader is likely to find something of her own experiences to relate to in this book, albeit professional identity, love and betrayal, hate and loss, or loyalty to family and friends.
LLM:What inspired you to write in this particular genre?
ATO:I could only write in this genre because this is what I know and what I have lived. I should qualify that statement: my textbooks too, were written with a lot of passion, but transmitting factual knowledge pales in comparison to the abundance life throws at us.
LLM:What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
ATO:There are political and historical facts in the book, which needed to be researched for truth and accuracy. But I must admit, most of the writing came from places deep within me, like writing a poem in prose.
LLM:How much of yourself or people you know influence the development of your characters?
ATO:In this work, my life experiences were the main influence, I must say, in the fleshing out of the two characters, Yasmin and Renan.
LLM:What character was your favorite to write?
ATO:Yasmin is a flawed character with a big heart; I can be critical of her, but I do like her. Renan is a man of integrity and peerless commitment; I admire him. And Yasmin’s mother is a character that we would all wish for as a mom.
LLM:What kind of music do you listen to when you write? If you don't listen while writing, what is your favorite type of music?
ATO:I work listening to classical music – lots of opera and symphonic music – as well as vocal jazz. When my back gets sore from sitting in front of the computer, I get up and dance to Stevie Wonder or any such delicious music of yesteryear that gets me in the groove.
LLM:Favorite Author? Book?
ATO:Hard question. Jeff Eugenides is my current inspiration; Middlesex is a marvel. Franzen’s Corrections is stellar, as is French’s Womens Room, Louis de Berniers’ Birds without Wings… hard to imagine a life without books.
LLM:You win the lottery, what would be the first thing you'd do with your winnings?
ATO:Get retirement accounts for both my girls with the first half, and build schools and offer scholarships to families of young girls in poor countries, perhaps? I’d donate and oversee some cause that would enable and empower women.
LLM:What is a question that you wish interviewers would ask, and the answer to that question?
Did you ever fall in love at first sight? Yes, with all my heart, with the same man, for the past 35 years.
LLM:Thanks for Stopping by Little Library Muse!
ATO:Thanks for having me.
When so much is stacked against Yasmin and Renan, how can love possibly triumph?
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