Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Interview with Author Branka Cubrilo


1.            Branka, what inspired you to write your latest book?
I wrote a short story “Pia’s Poem” and the character, a mysterious young woman never left me alone. She had a much more complex and longer story to tell me than the one I had fit into a short tale. When I obeyed her plea one early morning and sat at my desk ready to hear what she had to say, she started to narrate a story I knew from a long time ago. She was just a catalyst for my memory to take me down the path of the history of two powerful families - three generations back, to their uprising, their political influence and might, numerous misdeeds and their inevitable fall, through their journey of peace and war, love and hate, bitter revenge and ultimately - loss.

2.            What do you hope the reader will be left with after consuming it?
The reader will be left with deep thoughts about their own choices, their own existence and the awareness that every choice has its own consequences that can shape lives. I want the reader to think about the importance of ideas and what they’re worth, on a social conscience level and on their own personal and spiritual level. The reader will be confronted with questions about one’s nationality – is that pride and feeling of belonging yet another way of manipulating emotions and minds for someone else’s interests and gains?
3.            What challenges did you overcome to pen it?
The greatest challenge was the thought that I might be called out as someone who dared to portray the truth about the war in ex-Yugoslavia in a very different way. In my view it was portrayed in a fairly balanced and objective way, as I am a writer who writes without mixing my own emotions in the story or taking sides. I am a passive but honest observer and interpreter of a period of time which I witnessed myself. It wasn’t distant history that I learned only from history books, but it was something that I had witnessed. Though it is not a tale of war, there are chapters where my character went to war with prejudices. His awakening was a bitter pill that he had to swallow, as many did!
The other challenge for me is writing in English, as I am not a native English speaker. I love English and the challenge to express myself in a different language.

4.            What do you love about writing books?
Everything! I have been writing books for the past 30 years and so far, I have published 8 novels and just finished my second book of short stories. I write in two languages and I do translate my own work. I love the feeling of creating stories, someone’s life and destiny, I love that creative process when I am in control of every word and comma, yet I love that helpless feeling when I understand that the character has decided to disobey and show their own will, takes that control out of my hand and leads me through unknown avenues. I love that wonderment – Where are we going and what’s next? I love and hate that anticipation and anxiety when the book comes out – How is it going to be received? I love everything about writing books!

5.            Any advice for struggling authors?
A writer needs sound knowledge of the topic they are writing about, hence good research is needed, talent, daily practice of their art and lots of discipline. If you put all those ingredients together, you still need a good portion of luck. Well-established writers follow their own pattern and associations, while new, aspiring writers, probably need some advice. It isn’t easy to give advice to anyone – as there are so many aspiring writers who consider writing to be an easy task, but it isn’t, really. Especially when it comes to something ‘deep and meaningful’, one has to be in tune with one’s own being, well read, well informed and equipped with all sorts of worldly experiences not to mention great imagination. If someone really aches to be a writer, then one must count on many rejections, which means developing a strong, steady character, and not taking everything too personally.
For the novice: weigh it, then put your heart where you think it yearns to be and sharpen your tools; we are always delighted when a new, well-written story or writer dawns.

6.            What trends do you see in your genre?
I never really know how to answer a question in regard to my genre. I don’t really think I stick to any type of genre to be honest. I think the more writing and literature progress, we see a blurring of genres, and we lose more of the rigid structures of genre. I think my own writing has some very similar themes as the undercurrent throughout my books, but I can’t really say what trends are apparent.

7.            If people buy only one book this spring, why should it be yours?
“Dethroned” has everything in it: it is a historical novel covering some episodes of WWII and some episodes of the recent civil war in ex-Yugoslavia; there is an unusual love story with an absolutely uncertain journey; there is lots of mystery as well in the book as the protagonists are dispersed all over the world in search of a ‘better life’ or just because of pure adventure. The characters are varied and situated in different parts of the world, from the shores of the Adriatic to London, Sydney and Japan; they clash, mingle, love and hate one another as they all struggle in their search for their place in a world that seems so broken. Naturally, not everything is quite so bleak, but it is a fast-paced novel with many twists and turns, and with moments that make you cry and laugh out loud.  

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource."

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