I have the pleasure of introducing Dora Ilieva today; she’s the author of The Devil’s Gorge and Faces.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dora Ilieva is my pen name. I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, but I currently reside in Toronto, Canada. I’m sure it is a little trite to say that I love reading and writing, but I’m going to say it anyway. I also like Netflix and have a tendency to binge watch (especially when I’m upset). I almost forgot my number one hobby – travelling. “To travel is to live”- Hans Christian Andersen.
2. When did you start writing?
I’ve always wanted to write, but I only started a few years ago and so far have produced just one novel The Devil’s Gorge and a collection of short stories called Faces.
3. Tell us about your novel’s title.
The Devil’s Gorge is a breathtakingly beautiful and a little scary canyon in southern Bulgaria from where, according to some legends, Orpheus descended into Hades’ kingdom of the dead. I didn’t really know that this would be the title of my novel until I finished writing it. It just occurred to me as a logical completion of the work.
4. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
I don’t really have a favourite character or rather, I like them all, except Alex, maybe. The main character of the book, Sam Angelov, is quite an ordinary guy whose parents immigrated to Canada to escape from the communist dictatorship. Sam goes on a mundane trip to Bulgaria where a twist of fate throws him in the midst of events that could change his life forever. He comes face to face with a reality which he finds hard to understand, yet it has an inexplicable hold on him.
This is my debut novel and my goal was to give the readers some information about a little known country while spinning a story that will keep them reading.
It took me a few years to finish the book. I couldn’t write every day – work, family and daily routine got in the way.
5. Do you have a specific location that you go to when you want to write?
I can write anywhere – in the kitchen, at the beach, in the coffee shop. When I start, I don’t hear what’s going on around me. It becomes white noise. My family get annoyed at this from time to time.
6. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I am neither for nor against outlines. I, myself, don’t use them. When I start, I usually have just a rough idea of what I want to write. The story seems to develop itself once I get into it.
7. What are you currently reading?
I usually read several books at a time. I just finished Burial Rites and I’m still reading Crime and Punishment and Little Dorrit.
8. What is your favorite book?
There are so many books I like, it’s difficult to say which one is my favourite, but when I was a child it was Pippi Longstocking – a book about the strongest and most interesting girl in the world. Even then I loved strong female characters.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
I like both books and movies, but while I think I can live without movies, I can’t live without books.
2. Dogs or cats?
I prefer dogs to cats. They are real friends.
3. Summer or winter?
There will be no summer without winter and no winter without summer, so I like them both.
4. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Being in the air scares me. I’m a car person. You can see much more from a car and you’re in charge.
5. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
The past. There are so many great people that I would love to meet. Also, I’m a little afraid of what I might see in the future.
6. Reading or writing?
Reading is easier than writing, so, honestly, I prefer to read.
7. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
I’m a little bit of a language lover – studying foreign languages is a hobby of mine, and I definitely prefer human languages.
8. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
I know I can easily go without TV for week, but I love the Internet.
9. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
If I can’t speak, I’ll still be able to write, but if I can’t hear, I won’t know what’s going on, so hearing is a lot more important.
10. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
OMG, I can’t live without coffee.
11. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Being two inches tall would be a very interesting experience. People won’t pay much attention to you, but you’ll still be able to notice everything.
12. To have every day be Saturday or to have every day be [insert your favorite holiday here]?
If we have the same day every day, it will become so boring that we’ll start hating both it and ourselves. So I’d like my days to be different – the difficult ones will only make the good ones better.