Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review of ‘Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe’ by Kapka Kassabova

The Strandja is a mountainous border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. Also spelled Strandzha, the area is a nature reserve blessed with biodiversity, a region rich with history, and a land filled with mystery. The Strandja is also the backdoor of Europe, a centuries-old passageway that today constitutes an escape route for refugees fleeing the Middle East.

It is into this border zone that author Kapka Kassabova sets off on a quest, a quest to “look into the faces of those who are there, hear their stories, eat with them, learn new words.” For Kassabova, who grew up in Bulgaria during the 1970s and 1980s, the Strandja had been off limits; the border running through it was the division between the Communist east and the free world. As such, it was an area filled with gun-happy troops and fugitives. In her new home in Scotland, Kassabova developed a hunger to see the Strandja, and to understand this border that runs between three countries.

“The tug of the border was powerful among the river dragonflies, like a gravitational force. Whichever way you turned, something was behind you and nothing ahead of you. Perhaps that’s what history is.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Self-Editing: These Words Have Got to Go!

What do you do when you finish writing a book? You edit it! And what do you do when you finish editing? You edit some more.

In my case, I wrote a novel, edited it, signed with a literary agent, got a publishing deal with a large foreign language publisher, saw my book traditionally published, and now I am editing the manuscript once again. (Read this if you don’t understand why).

Self-editing. What is there left to edit?

What could I possibly be editing at this late stage of the process? I am polishing the manuscript, tightening the flow of the narrative, speeding up the pacing, and making other tweaks to the content here and there.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Editing My Novel, a Year after It Was Published

Just over a year ago, my second novel was traditionally published. There was a book signing and official presentations by my editor and publisher. I was interviewed on television, twice, and there were write-ups in online media. My novel was featured prominently in bookshop windows. Readers were anxious to get their hands on a copy.

For someone who has aspired to be an author all his life, this sounds like a dream come true. Yet, something is a bit unusual in my story. A year after my book’s publication, I am now hard at work editing it.