Happy Thursday, Reading Nook!
Today, we're pleased to present a Q&A with author Ella Leya, who has written a beautiful book called The Orphan Sky.
Read on to see what she thinks of her responsbility as an author representing Azerbaijan in western culture, and how she combines her music and writing passions!
Author of The Orphan Sky
Set at the crossroads of East and West during the Cold War, The Orphan Sky is a story of a young woman's rare musical talent, impossible choices and hard-won courage.
The story was always there. The pain of loss had brought it up to the surface, demanding something more cerebral than music. Something that would take me back to my past, allow me to live it again and again, changing it, searching for answers.
I can never balance the creative process. It is all or nothing. Music had to wait while I was composing this book. Would I have changed anything? Not a bit.
Definitely. I hope that The Orphan Sky will turn a small spot on the world map into a real country of an ancient soul, culture and beauty, where real people live, suffer, love, and create. And I hope that this book will seduce my readers into visiting Azerbaijan, walking the streets of the Old City, climbing the steep steps of Maiden Tower, and standing on its crown, seeking the bird-princess in the azure of the Baku sky.
Life is a braid made of the light and the darkness. But the external darkness is nothing compared to the darkness we harbor in our souls. The greatest human challenge is to transcend this darkness and to strive for the skies.
Q: In an interview with NPR in 2011, you reflected on your Secret Lives of Women CD, saying that creating songs charting the complex lives of women like Anne Boleyn, helped you learn more about yourself and where you’re going.
Leila is a beautiful mess of my past and feature triumphs and failures. I watched my girl struggling with her choices, tried to stop her from repeating my mistakes, only to learn that some mistakes are to be made and to be learned from.
I’ve always crisscrossed different musical genres: ethnic Russian, Eastern, American jazz, European pop… Now I seem to be bending more toward classical music, composing for a string quintet.
I am lucky to be collaborating with a legendary jazz writer on our next novel. As for music, I would love to co-write a really special piece with and for my dear friend and an immensely talented musician and singer Janina Gavankar.
Just recently, I’ve attended a few performances of the Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts in London. There is definitely young talent there. What role this talent will play in the development of Azerbaijan? Hard to predict.
New songs. Next novel with lots of music that takes place in 1969 New York. New places, faces, dreams, choices…
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