In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Teodora Kostova
We’re very excited to welcome Teodora Kostova to Bayou Book Junkie today. Teodora’s been writing full time since 2010 and has been published since 2013, and to date has 10 novels, with her latest, Kiss And Ride, due out today. She writes both MM and MF (and yes, we’ll be finding out why she started off on the ‘other’ side!). Teodora seems to have lived a very varied life, which she’s going to tell us all about. She lives in good old London town, like yours truly, but as yet, I’m not sure if she’s a ‘south of the river’ (south and west London) girl, or a ‘north of the river’ (north and east London) girl – it’s sort of a weird thing, but SOTR people are convinced their part of London is the best, as are we NOTR guys.
BBJ: Hi Teodora, thanks so much for being here. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your current project(s)! Please proceed to spill the beans – we’re having none of that famed English reserve here.
TEODORA: Hi, guys! Thanks for having me! I just finished writing 2 books in a very short time and it was hectic, so right now I’m taking a bit of a break, planning my next book but not actively writing. I have a ton of research to do, and I’m also overseeing the release of my Christmas book, as well as 3 audio book productions, an Italian translation, and with the holidays coming I just don’t have the time – or the peace of mind – to write. Having said that, I’m really looking forward to my next project. It’s the sequel to Cookies, Shane and Greg’s story. I’m so excited about this book! Hopefully, it’ll be done and ready for publication by February.
BBJ: So, are you a SOTR girl or a NOTR girl? Tell us what’s great about your part of London.
TEODORA: SOTR! I live in South-East London, in a very quiet neighbourhood. We don’t even have a chip shop! It’s leafy and beautiful and I love it. I also love that I live a few metres away from the river Thames. It’s literally behind my house! I love going on walks or bike riding by the river to clear my mind.
BBJ: Could you tell us what made you start writing, because by the sounds of it, you’ve dipped your toes into many, many puddles (dipping them into pies would sound soooo EW!) – I mean: journalist, PA, editor, interior designer and…ahem…’other things’. Can we also have deets about the jobs?
TEODORA: Well… I have ADHD and it’s so hard for me to focus on anything! And once something gets boring I’m done with it. So, yeah, in my twenties I tried a lot of things and none of them really worked out. In between jobs I always started writing more, so in the end, after my son was born and I had to stay home with him anyway, I decided to try and focus on something for longer than 2 minutes for the first time in my life. As for the jobs? Nothing too exciting! I tried A LOT of things, even an ill-advised job at the local radio, but nothing really clicked, you know?
BBJ: What comes first – characters who pop into your mind and make you tell their stories, or a storyline around which you create your characters? Or does it differ book by book?
TEODORA: It’s always the characters. A scene, a dialogue, a smile, a glimpse at a back story – these are the things that usually pop into my head first, and I build from there.
BBJ: Your recent story, A Sip Of Rio, was based on your travels in, and love of, Rio. So you’re well-travelled, Teodora? Where have you been to date and what would be your dream holiday if money were no object?
TEODORA: God, I love travelling! I’d do it all the time if I could! I’d like to think I’ve been to a lot of places, but there are still so many other places I’d like to visit. My dream holiday is very cliché – a fortnight in a water bungalow in the Maldives. I’d love to do that someday!
BBJ: What makes you happy, Teodora, and what saddens you?
TEODORA: Prosecco and chocolate make me VERY happy. My husband and my kid, too, occasionally. LOL. Lots of things make me sad. My husband always says that I live in a bubble because I refuse to watch the news or read newspapers, but the thing is, the world makes me so sad sometimes. And what is worse, I can’t change any of the things that I hate about the world. And that helplessness is what saddens me the most.
BBJ: Name 5 things on your bucket list.
TEODORA: Become fluent in Italian; buy a villa in Tuscany; write a thriller; learn to play the guitar; get a dog.
BBJ: Your blog/website is called THE TIME MACHINE OF WRITING – what inspired the title and why?
TEODORA: Stephen King. In his book, On Writing, which is one of the first books on the craft I read when I was starting out, he says that when writing, authors are effectively building a time machine. Because that moment when they write something and the moment way in the future when someone reads those exact words are ultimately connected through time. That idea stayed with me and inspired me to name my blog after it.
BBJ: You seem to have started off writing MF stories and to our delight, veered into MM – what prompted this change? Was this as a result of your own reading preferences or just a result of the voices of your characters taking you in that direction?
TEODORA: A little of both. I may still write MF in the future – it’s not the idea of it that turned me off the genre. It was the tendencies in the genre. I just couldn’t bring myself to read another book about an asshole masked as an ‘alpha male’ treating women like shit. Mind you, that was years ago. I haven’t read an MF book in 3 years, so maybe things have changed? I don’t know. I hope so. But I just didn’t feel comfortable telling the stories I wanted to tell in that environment. I was experiencing the worst writer’s block of my entire life after finishing my latest (MF) book when I went to see a musical and Jared and Fenix’s story just stormed into my brain, without asking me if I was ready to write MM. Dance was born 2 months later and the rest is history.
BBJ: How has your writing evolved since your first book?
TEODORA: Gosh, I have no idea! It must have, and I hope for the better, but I can’t pinpoint exactly how.
BBJ: Is there a character in your books that you are surprised your readers love or hate so much?
TEODORA: You never know how readers are going to react to your stories, because everyone sees them differently. I was quite surprised when some people hated Quinn (from Snowed In) so much because of what he had to do, even if he had good reason. I was also surprised when some people seemed to love Cedric (from Cookies) and even demanded his own story.
BBJ: You like cooking and eating Italian, and by the sounds of it, most things Italian, or so I’ve gathered from Kiss And Ride. I love eating it, but am not a great cook or a patient one – care to share a simple, tasty and fool-proof recipe with a fellow Londoner, please?
TEODORA: Oh, yes, I love cooking, especially Italian! A very easy recipe is the deep dish lasagna I often make and my family loves it. I don’t have the exact ingredients or anything because when cooking I improvise a lot (that’s the main reason I’m a horrible baker – too many strict rules to follow!). So, what I do is, I usually use the fresh pasta sheets rather than the dry ones, but it works with both. I make a Bolognese sauce (you can buy any pasta sauce from the supermarket and it’ll be fine with it) but make sure you have at least 500ml (2 jars) of it. Also, white lasagna sauce, one jar is enough. So what you do is pour half of the white sauce into a roasting dish, then put pasta sheets on top to cover the whole surface of the dish, then red sauce on top of that, then pasta sheet, etc, until the sauce and the pasta sheets are finished. On top of the last sheet pour the rest of the white sauce and put in the oven at 180C (fan, 200 without fan) for like 40mins? You’ll have to watch it and make sure it doesn’t burn. Then take it out, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and put back in the oven for 10 mins. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
BBJ: Where can readers interact with you in person in 2017? Will you be attending any conferences, in the UK or elsewhere?
TEODORA: Yes! I’m planning to go to the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City in April – the exact date is still to be announced. I went the last 2 years and loved it and would love to go again. Also, I’m planning on going to GRL for the very first time! That’s in Denver in October. In June I’m going to Euro Pride Con in Berlin, and on July 1st I’ll be in Birmingham, UK, for the day for a book signing event called ShiMMer. I also plan on going to Rio again in August and my publisher there has some events planned for me, but I’m not sure exactly what yet.
BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round:
The thing you’re most proud of is My son.
Traditional British fish and chips, or something Italian? Italian
Red wine, rosé or white? White
Of all your leads, who do you have a secret soft spot for? Go on, you can tell us. Fenix
Finally, Teodora, what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done, and were there witnesses to it? Most recently, I spelled ‘easel’ as ‘weasel’ in the entire manuscript of Kiss and Ride, and my friends, who also beta read for me, will not let this go!!! I’m so embarrassed, considering I’d read that manuscript like 5 times before I sent it to them and I never caught that typo!
Thanks for sitting down with us today, Teodora. We hope you had fun and hope to see you again soon!
Thanks for having me, guys! It was a pleasure!
You can contact Teodora here:
Amazon author page: https://goo.gl/kuhbrd