Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Interview: Anne-Rae Vasquez

Today we have the pleasure of hearing more about Ann-Rae Vasquez's novel, Almost a Turkish Soap Opera


Anne-Rae Vasquez www.anne-rae.vasquez.com  admin@anne-raevasquez.com   Twitter: @write2film

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera, a novel adapted into an award winning feature film and web series. Details of the film and web series are at: www.almostaturkishsoapopera.com
1. What was you inspiration for this book? I wanted my novel Almost a Turkish Soap Opera to shine a light on the popularity of Turkish TV series and their popularity in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The Turkish soap operas are full of drama, action, romance and cultural conflicts which I am certain North American readers will find entertaining.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven of character driven? The story is character driven but has a strong plot line. The characters face the obstacles that many new immigrants face when they first arrive in a new country.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character? Adel Emre is an attractive fair skinned, blue eyed Turkish 25 year old man from a middle class Muslim family in Istanbul. He dreams of leaving his dead-end life in Turkey to seek opportunities and wealth in the USA. Completely fed up with his father's weakness to stand up to his grand uncle to demand for the land and property owed to him from his father’s inheritance, Adel is determined to be successful financially and will do anything to achieve this.

4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write? I did not find any of my supporting characters challenging to write. I had imagined all the characters very clearly in my mind before writing the story. Every character has a part to play in moving the story forward so it was not difficult for me to focus on each character. I loved bringing out the character's personality to focus on their weaknesses or fear to either bring humour to the scene or to add some cultural drama. 

5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. Adel and Kamil, two young good looking Turkish men try to immigrate to North America. Adel's
ruthless grand uncle arranges him to marry Yonka (his spoiled obnoxious cousin) in exchange for his immigration status in Canada. The problem is Yonka and Adel hate each other. The drama heats up even more when Adel has an affair with Nora, his beautiful English teacher which ruins Yonka's plans. And to add to this, his best friend Kamil has a big secret of his own. How did his life turn into a Turkish soap opera?

6. Why did you choose this genre? I chose cultural fiction and soap opera genre because I have always been fascinated with learning about other cultures and languages. I have been scribbling poetry, short stories, cartoons ever since I was in Kindergarten. In grade school, I started making my own satirical audio shows, based on my cartoon stories, which focused on a multicultural, multi-generational family's every day trials and experiences in Canada. The stories were based on my own family life where two different cultural traditions always made for drama at home between my parents, my aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. I recorded the weekly shows on my ghetto blaster at home, acting out the voices of all the characters. I shared the audio cassettes with friends and family who enjoyed them so much, they encouraged me to make more.

7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? I also wanted to share with readers the struggles that new immigrants face as they try to survive in a new world with only the
basic things in life. 

8. Who are your favorite authors? Anita Daimant author of The Red Tent and Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner are two of my favourite mainstream authors. I have a growing list of indie authors who I am growing very fond of such as Owen Choi author of Tendrils of Life, Cid Andrenelli author of The Burqa Master, Osman Gulum author of Climbing Mountains, Khaled Talib author of Smokescreen and most recently DelSheree Gladden, author of the Destroyer Trilogy.

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? The only ritual I have is making sure I'm watching a good TV show while I'm writing. Without some visual or auditory stimuli, my mind usually goes blank.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? I am currently writing a series of fictional novels called Among Us which delves into the world of the supernatural and how it intersects with the every day lives of seemingly ordinary people as catastrophic events around the world lead to the end of times. I have made writing the novel also a transmedia project where I have six readers and four authors participating in a role-playing alternate reality writing project. Basically I have assigned each of them a character from the novel and then give them a weekly mission. I describe to them a scene in the current chapter and then ask them 2 questions. If they answer the questions well, the outcome of the scene will be weaved into the storyline.


I wanted to make the writing experience to include my fans and my author friends.  I didn't realize how successful it would be.   Feel free to join in the fun by participating in the Truth Seeker missions or if you prefer lurking, that's okay too.  Go to:  www.amongus.ca  for more information.


Stay up to date on Anne-Rae's projects by connecting on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and her Website

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera is available from Amazon