Interview with Caroline Doherty de Novoa

What novels and writers do you admire?
I think Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” is a masterpiece in story-telling. I love how it’s a mystery in reverse starting with the murder scene and revealing the culprits on the very first page, and then working back so the mystery is not about who did it, but why they did it. Motivation is so much more interesting than the act itself.

Another favorite is Maggie O’ Farrel’s “The Hand That First Held Mine”. For a start it’s just so beautifully written, and the characters are so well drawn. But it’s also the storytelling that I adore – the way she uses half-truths and distorted memories to build the mystery. When the big reveal comes at the end, you realise that was the only possible explanation, but she’s still managed to keep you guessing. It takes a gifted storyteller to do that.

I also like Nick Hornby. His novels are fun, but my favourite book of his is the non-fiction “Fever Pitch” – after reading that I finally started to comprehend why my husband suffered so much week in and out watching Arsenal play.

There are many more I could mention, but I’ll finish with Anne Tyler. I’ve read so many of her books and just been blown away. “Breathing Lessons” and “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” are among my favourites. And as far as I’m concerned, “The Accidental Tourist” is the example of the perfect novel.
The epigraph in Dancing with Statues is “The only truth is music.” Why did you choose that?
It's a Jack Kerouac quote. The main characters lie to each other, or tell each other half-truths throughout. But when I read the final draft, I realized that they often communicate with each other via music. Music bypasses your mind and goes straight to your emotions. So I was attracted to this idea of finding truth in music – hence the quote.
What advice from famous writers has stuck with you?
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” Neil Gaiman

“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.” ― Tara Moss

“Advice to young writers? Always the same advice: learn to trust our own judgment, learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad – including your own bad.” ― Doris Lessing

“My advice for aspiring writers is go to New York. And if you can’t go to New York, go to the place that represents New York to you, where the standards for writing are high, there are other people who share your dreams, and where you can talk, talk, talk about your interests. Writing books begins in talking about it, like most human projects, and in being close to those who have already done what you propose to do.” ― Walter Kirn

That last piece of advice in particular resonates with me. I didn't go to New York, but I have had the privilege of meeting many aspiring and established writers here in Bogotá. Their support is really helping me fight the fear and launch into my second book.
Dancing with Statues asks the question "will our history always define us?" what do you mean by that?
All of the main characters have had key moments in their personal history, such as the death of a parent or their relationship with their first love, that has shaped their personalities and their approach to life.

One of the key themes I wanted to explore in Dancing with Statues was the extent to which these rites of passage shape us. I was also interested in whether we can consciously change the trajectory of our lives, despite the path these events have set us on.

The backdrop to the story is post-conflict Northern Ireland, a place I love, although it’s still not without its problems. In a way, Laura’s struggle to come to terms with her traumatic past and carve out a new identity for herself mirrors the country’s struggle to move forward and leave it’s troubled history behind.
Published 2017-04-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Belfast Girl
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 92,120. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Belfast, December 1993, a baby girl goes missing. Everyone, including her teenage father, believes she has been kidnapped. Two women know different. New Yorker Janet O'Connell now has the family she's been longing for. Seventeen-year-old Emma McCourt has a plan to escape her troubled past. And the two women never expect to see one another again.
Dancing with Statues
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 89,990. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Hispanic & Latino, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A story of love and conflict set in Northern Ireland and Colombia.