I'm delighted to welcome author, Teuta Metra to Jaffareadstoo
Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Teuta. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as an author.
As a child, I remember burying my head in books, and would often fantasize about writing my own stories. I had my own heroines and I could create a world that was only mine. I remember I had two notebooks full of stories. I used to keep them in my grandmother's attic, as I knew nobody would go there and read them. Unfortunately, one day, it rained heavily, and water started leaking through the roof, destroying everything. That didn’t discourage me though. When people saw me reading books while other children were playing outside I heard them say: she will be a teacher one day. But I didn't want to be a teacher. All I wanted was to read books and write my own stories. When I told them I would be a writer or a journalist, they would smile at me, pat my head, and say, "Oh, you poor little dreamer!"
As it turned out, I pursued both of these passions. While living and working in Albania, I worked as a journalist, and I absolutely loved my job. I still miss radio, especially when I'm feeling nostalgic. However, my life took a turn when I fell in love with my boyfriend, who is now my husband. He lived in the Netherlands, so I had to make a choice. I decided to move to the Netherlands and start a new chapter of my life, which is when I turned to fiction writing.
For readers who aren’t familiar with your writing, what can they expect from your novels?
As a person with one foot in Eastern Europe and the other in the West, I write about the blending of cultures between East and West. I cover topics such as politics, women's issues, humanity, and friendship. My first novel was published in Albanian, but I felt trapped within borders. For 50 years, Albania's borders were closed, and people were trapped in a cage. If I wrote only in Albanian, I would feel trapped again, and my stories would remain within borders. I yearned to explore the world, so I decided to try writing in English. It has not been easy, as English is not my first language. Now, I'm not sure if it's my second, third, or fourth language, but I did it. My latest novel, On the Other Side, was published in March. The story follows a young woman who enters the UK illegally in search of her missing boyfriend. But just as she thinks she can start a new life, someone pushes her under a train in London, and she finds herself in a coma. The feedback I have received has been positive, and that means I should start working on my next book.
Do you write the type of books you like to read and which authors have influenced you?
Through my books, I strive to advocate for women's rights in my home country and beyond, as I firmly believe in the transformative power of words. In other words, I write books that I hope will raise awareness about this issues. One of the authors that I admire is Elif Shafak. I think I’ve read all her books.
Where do your ideas for your stories come from, and as one book finishes do you already know where the next book will take you?
I pay attention to what I read in the news, but I'm also a careful listener, so ideas often pop up in my head. The challenge is finding a way to link something that happens in Albania with the outside world. My aim is to write stories that will provoke the interest of the Western reader while remaining true to the heart of the Albanian experience.
Tell us about your writing day - are you disciplined, strictly 9 till 5, or are you more of a have a cup of coffee and think about it sort of writer?
As a mother of two young children and a librarian by day, finding time to write can be challenging. When my friends ask me how I do it, I say: "I invent time" ;) When they were younger, I used the notepad on my phone to write down things that would pop up in my head while they were playing in the sandpit. Now, I wake up at 5 a.m. and write before the kids go to school. Of course, there are days when I can't write and I feel bad about it, but I try to compensate on the weekends when the kids sleep in a bit longer or when my husband takes them to the swimming pool or weekend training.
Can you tell us if you have another novel planned?
Yes, the first draft of my next novel is ready. Now that On the Other Side is in the hands of the readers, I’ll start the editing process of the new novel, which mostly involves deleting what I have already written.
And finally for fun! 😊
Tell us four essential things every writer needs!
Write every single day and at the end of the month you’ll have 30 pages done.
Don’t let your one-star rating bring you down.
Talk to other writers.
Believe in your work.
If your life was a book, what would be its title?
A love story across borders 😊
About the Author
Teuta Metra is an Albanian/Dutch writer living in Rotterdam. She holds a degree in Literature and Linguistics from the University of Tirana and has a background in journalism. Through her fiction books, Teuta advocates for women's rights in her home country. Her latest novel, On the Other Side, was released in March and earned a five-star seal from Readers’ Favorite. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of words and literature. By day, Teuta works as a librarian in Rotterdam and by night, she dedicates herself to writing and weaving stories that inspire and empower.
Teuta, where can we follow you on social media?
Facebook: Teuta Metra - Author
Thank you so much Teuta for taking part in this author spotlight
It's been great fun!