Carol Vorvain is the author of A Fool in Istanbul, Why Not?, and When Dreams Are Calling. She is a lawyer and is the founder of Writers Boon, a new platform for writers. She is based in Melbourne, Australia.
Q: One of your most recent books, the novel A Fool in Istanbul, features a workaholic. Why did you decide to write about a workaholic, and why did you choose Istanbul as the setting?
A: Well, I am not only an author but also a lawyer. Lawyers are notorious workaholics. I am no exception. However, I always believed that inside every workaholic there is a happy child struggling to get out.
Atticus, the main character of my latest book, is a typical workaholic. He’s “a control freak who looks perpetually constipated, a prudish know it all, stiff and stern, not here to burn.” Other than that, a fairly nice fellow. The question is can a workaholic get an appetite for something other than work?
Why Istanbul? Because it’s a fascinating, exotic place, a constant reminder that empires rise, fall, then rise again.
In the beginning all that Atticus knows about the city comes from his friend’s Turkish wife. It isn’t much and it isn’t pleasant. She reduces this whole ancient metropolis, once the jewel of the Ottoman Empire, to a rather disheartening summary: “Istanbul is a place with more accidents than drivers.”
Surely she must have meant it the other way around, Atticus hopes.
To his surprise, as he is walking along the noisy streets, the city’s sweet melancholy and past glamor are drawing him in, making him curious to see more. He finds himself fascinated by something he can’t quite explain, something he is confident he would find if he just keeps strolling around.
Maybe it is the centuries-old buildings with facades discolored by dust, rust, and age or the narrow cobblestone streets where kids are playing a mini-game of soccer, or the neighborhood mosques and the little shops selling bread baked right in front of his eyes.
Whatever it is, it makes Atticus feel reflective and brooding, as if he is a spectator watching a show from above, completely removed from the scene, yet part of it body and soul.
Q: Do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing, or do you make many changes along the way?
A: There is a phrase in my book: “Whenever we think we have the answer, God asks another question.”
So, I don’t have answers, I never try to plan ahead what will happen in my books. I simply sit down and start writing. I let my characters go wherever they want to take me.
Q: You've started a new venture called Writers Boon. How did you come up with this idea?
A: I am a highly organized person. As an author, I could not find a well-organized site that would offer everything I needed: structured information and a comprehensive database of resources.
So, I’ve decided to hire a team and build one.
Writers Boon is a platform where fiction and non-fiction authors find guidance, experts, DIY software tools, courses, books, articles, podcasts and webinars, all well-organized on topics and categories. On our platform, writers learn not only what they need to publish their books, they also learn how to market and sell their books.
The topics are arranged in such a way that they mirror the journey of a book from an idea to, hopefully, a bestseller.
We also feature deals and discounts on publishing and marketing products and services which helps authors save money for their next writing project.
To top things off, access to the platform and all its features is free.
Q: What do you see going forward with Writers Boon?
A: My vision is for Writers Boon to become the authors' premier information source. An all-in-one comprehensive platform where they can find everything they need to make their stories succeed.
Q: Are you working on another novel?
A: If travelling, meeting people and having mindful conversations counts towards working, then I guess, yes, I do. Although to me writing never quite feels like working. It’s more like playing, having fun, exploring - yourself, human nature, the world.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: “You know what each house should have? A Duty Free space. Like at the airports. Then I might consider moving in with a woman.” All my friends love this quote from the book.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb