14.11.2023 © Novelius Literature
We conducted an interview with a valuable writer from our neighbor Bulgaria, Yoana Valcheva (Йоана Вълчева) via e-mail. Before moving on to the interview, we would like to briefly introduce her to Turkish literature lovers: Yoana Valcheva is a modern Bulgarian writer who is the author of the novels “Conscience – Съвест” (2016), “Pegol – Пегол” (2017) and “The Messenger of the Crescent – Пратеник на Полумесеца” (2020), inspired by real events. She describes the genre she works with as a romantic thriller. Her books quickly became a favorite of Bulgarian readers due to the interesting and topical topics they addressed, the dynamic action, and the captivating writing style.
For detailed information about the author and her works, please visit Valcheva’s personal website. www.yoanavalcheva.com
If you’re ready, it’s time to interview!
First of all, thank you for accepting our interview offer. How did you start writing? What does writing mean to you?
My creative journey started in a very interesting and uncommon way. When I was a teenager I started writing as a way to express my feelings and thoughts, but I had never taken it too seriously. It was just my hobby and a kind of therapy for my young teenage soul. I had never dreamed of becoming a writer.
Back then I used to write some short stories and poetry. My debut novel started exactly like that – as an idea for a short story. But as I wrote, the plot continued growing and growing and at some point, I had written almost 100 pages. That was the moment when I realized this is not a short story anymore. I dived into this challenge, even though I had no idea what exactly needed to write a whole novel. I was 19 years old at that time.
Now, more than ten years later, I have 3 published books and I`m working on the fourth. So, on your second question – writing to me is more than a hobby or a profession. It is my mission and my way to give value to the world.
How did you feel when you picked up your first novel? Can you tell us about your feelings?
A feeling like no other! It is hard to describe – even for a writer, but I will try. It is something between pure happiness, triumph, and pride. The moment I fulfilled my dream, as a result of hard work, learning, and overcoming challenges.
I like Bulgarian writers Emilian Stanev and Mitka Gribcheva. But I don’t know contemporary Bulgarian writers. What is the literary scene like in Bulgaria? What kind of works are mostly written, what do the public like to read?
Contemporary Bulgarian literature developed much during the last ten years. Before mostly foreign authors were published, but now there are so many new Bulgarian authors in different genres – fantasy, thriller, romance. The tendency is that more and more readers nowadays give a chance to Bulgarian novels and their writers.
2023 was a significant year for our literature, because Georgi Gospodinov, a contemporary Bulgarian writer, has won a prestigious award for his novel “Time Shelter” – the International Booker Prize.
Are there any Turkish authors you read?
Yes, I have read Elif Shafak.
Can you tell us about a typical day for Yoana Valcheva? What do you do outside of writing?
I was a digital marketing specialist until very soon and I shared my full-time job with writing my novels. The things around my books went really well, luckily for me. So a couple of months ago I left my secure job and I decided to give all my time and energy in developing my writer career and business.
Now, my typical day starts with signing books. It takes me the whole morning to sign, pack, and send them to clients. I commonly write the new manuscript in the afternoon. I am most productive at that time of the day. My goal is to write for at least 3-5 hours a day if it is possible. My day finishes with some marketing – preparing social media posts, recording videos, or as at the moment – answering interviews.
Unfortunately for my readers, I have less time for writing during the last two months. The reason is that my latest book, The Messenger of the Crescent (Пратеник на Полумесеца), was translated into English and now I work with an American editor to polish the translation before publishing worldwide.
What was your inspiration for your latest book, The Messenger of the Crescent? (Пратеник на Полумесеца) Can you tell us a little bit about the subject of this novel and the feedback from the readers?
The Messenger of the Crescent is a story about war and the consequences of it. We meet our main heroine, the American journalist Leonora Anderson, on an Italian train, traveling with her 5-year-old son. Although she had experienced a big loss in her life, she doesn`t expect that her and her son`s lives will change once again. They become victims of a terrorist attack.
And here comes Ali, our main character. He is part of an Iraqi terrorist organization and he has dedicated his life to revenge. I will tell you that Ali is the most complicated character I have ever written, but Bulgarian readers adore him.
What inspired me for that novel was а TV new about some awful terrorist attack in Western Europe years ago. I remember that the reporter said some Arab names and just transitioned to the next topic. Of course, my first reaction was judging. But seconds later I asked myself: What could make an ordinary person do such monstrous actions?
I started digging into the subject and did a large amount of research. I realized that war leads to the suffering of so many innocent people. They lose their homes, their loved ones, their dreams. And when someone doesn`t have anything left to lose, he goes on the path of revenge. Terrorism, in its core, is a child of war.
What kind of books do you read? Who do you follow from world literature?
I love reading books similar to these I write. The romantic thriller is my favourite genre. From the world-famous writers, I am a fan of Jeffrey Archer, Dan Brown, Glenn Cooper, Sandra Brown, Simon Toyne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Marliss Melton.
It’s a difficult question, but what are your favorite novels? And why?
Oh, it is a really tough question. I can not pick just one novel, so my TOP 3 are:
– Ludmila Filipova (a contemporary Bulgarian author) – “The war of letters”
It is about Bulgarian history and about the birth of the Cyrillic alphabet. I cried during half of the book.
– Dan Brown – “Angels and Demons”
I really like the plot. Not just the idea, but the brilliant exposition.
– Sandra Brown – “Smoke screen”
A book I have reread at least 5 times. It is a romantic suspense novel. I love the characters and how their relationship developed. The plot is dynamic and there is a great plot twist in the end.
Do you have writing rituals, such as silence or music? How does Yoana Valcheva write?
I definitely prefer writing at home in silence. I am most productive that way. I try to minimize all distractions such as noise, music, voices, etc. I even put my phone on airplane mode to be sure that I won’t be interrupted.
I love drinking coffee while I write and sometimes I light a scented candle.
Dear Valcheva, thank you very much for your sincere answers to our questions. As Novelius Literature, it is our top priority to introduce good writers and good works to Turkish readers. We wish you and your precious family healthy and peaceful days. Finally, can we ask you to give a few small tips to those who are just starting with writing?
Yes, of course. Here are my 3 tips to help every writing person become better:
– Be consistent and write every day. Or if every day is not possible for you, then every weekend.
– Show, Don’t Tell. It is a common writing mistake that beginners make.
– Have a strong ending. This is a rule I learned from my editor. She says that the final words should cut like a knife, to be remarkable and stay in the reader`s mind for a long time after he finishes the book.
It was pleasure for me to be your gest!
I wish Novelius Literature and all your team health and success!
14.11.2023 © Novelius Literature