Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Q&A with Linda Moore




Linda Moore is the author of the new novel Five Days in Bogotá. She also has written the novel Attribution. Also a longtime gallery owner, she lives in San Diego and Kauai.


Q: What inspired you to write Five Days in Bogotá, and how did you create your character Ally?  


A: In 1991, I was invited to exhibit works from the Linda Moore Gallery at the first art fair in Bogotá. I was excited to be included with big name galleries and failed to investigate the security situation in Bogotá. Many experiences in the book happened.


Is Ally me? Are all novels autobiographical, as some would say? There are parts of Ally that are me, but she is much more clever than I am and more physically fit too.


Q: Did you need to do any research to write the book, and if so, did you learn anything that especially surprised you?


A: If the FBI ever seized my computer, I dread what they might conclude from the topics I've searched. For example, the physical dimensions and weight of a pile of $20 million in cash. 


More than three decades have passed since I did the art fair in Bogotá and I needed to revisit memories, records, and photos, talk with artists who were involved back then and dig out the historical facts about Colombia and U.S. policy at the time.


I learned, but wasn't surprised, that the U.S. had a variety of undercover groups both legitimate and clandestine. The good guy-bad guy dichotomy, favored by politicians and the press, represents a false paradigm.


Specific details did shock me like the fact that the Tequendama Hotel where I stayed was owned by the Colombian military. A year and a half after I was there, Pablo Escobar's wife and children were detained in the hotel. U.S. “advisors” and the Colombian military tapped the hotel phones to track down the cartel kingpin and assassinate him.


Q: The author Ron Currie Jr. said of the book, “Part thriller, part historical fiction, part glimpse into the small but intriguing world of international art dealing, it's great fun and a worthy read.” What do you think of that description?  


A: Ron knows this book well, and his description is accurate and appreciated. 


The world of international art dealing involves a relatively small number of players but the global art market did $65 billion in sales in 2022 with approximately half of that in the U.S.. Global art sales are many times larger than the dollar value of drugs coming out of Colombia.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the novel? 


A: Women can find the strength to save themselves, protect their families, and succeed in their careers without the help of a male savior.


They do it every day.


Troubled countries are more than what the press highlights. All countries are inhabited by people who want the same things we do: personal safety, a happy family, to live the life they want, and to be proud of their culture and heritage. 


Art and literature connects us to those shared human qualities and creates empathy essential for global understanding. 


I hope readers will learn something new about the U.S. and its policies, about the many facets of Colombia, about contemporary art and art dealing.


Q: What are you working on now?  


A: I have written a novel about conflict minerals set in the DRC in Africa. The story needs serious revision and as yet, I am not certain which publisher is right for it. 


Also, I am thinking about a story of two women friends who have shared decades of wonderful experiences and truly care about each other, but their disagreements about politics have destroyed their friendship.


I wanted to explore how we can overcome the current epidemic of political discord. Can the friends recover their love for each other in spite of their differences?


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I have visited over 100 countries and have stories from all of them. I have met with over 90 book clubs and groups and love sharing those stories with readers.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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