Sunday 5 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Raping Aphrodite

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Genre - Historical Fiction

Rating -  R 

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The 99th page of the soft cover version of “Raping Aphrodite” takes place in the basement of a coffee house in Cyprus, a Mediterranean island that is under Turkish attack. To give readers a brief history, in 1974, Cyprus was invaded and divided by Turkey, which took nearly 40 percent of the island’s Northern territory. During the invasion, villagers who lived in the North fled to the South, while others were killed or disappeared and never found. To this day, the island – the third largest in the Mediterranean behind Sardinia and Sicily - is still divided in two.

There are two story lines in “Raping Aphrodite.” The first story line is about a present-day art gallery owner, Tash Colgate, who agrees to exhibit artifacts from Cyprus for a show. As a result, nasty family secrets rise to the surface and Tash’s life begins to unravel.  

The second story line involves an American Peace Corps volunteer, Barbra Duffy, who is caught up in the 1974 Cypriot invasion. That is the story line that is on page 99. Barbra has escaped a hostage situation and is walking to get help for those she left behind. She knows she is risking her life, but the alternative would be to stay a hostage and risk being killed anyway. She would rather die on her own terms, trying to reach a solution rather than letting someone else decide her fate.

Barbra walks at night and hides by day. So far, she has eluded Turkish attention but has come across situations that make her realize just how perilous her journey is. One of those events is  her  discovery of a group of villagers who hid in a loft in an abandoned farm, only to be shot and killed. 

Just after she finds the dead villagers, Barbra goes into another village and finds a secret passageway in a café. Up to now, she is tired, hungry, and fearful but the passageway may mean another night of survival. As she enters the basement/cellar, she finds Greek-Cypriot villagers who are being hidden by Turkish friends who also live in the village. She finds a young college student in the group who understands English well enough to help her pass the time and get some rest before going back out to walk.

My reason for putting this scene in the book was to show how help can enter your life in a helpful way, when you least expect it. This is a theme I believe we experience in our daily lives -  that we have to retain some form of faith at all times, even through our struggles. I also wanted to show how civilians you would not necessarily expect to be allies – Turks and Greeks in this case– help each other.

For many years, Turks and Greeks lived side by side in Cyprus without problems. Those same villagers were the innocent Cypriots who were caught up in the island’s political upheaval, which is a recurring theme in war throughout history. Those who cause the divisiveness and those who pay the price generally are not the same people. It is heartwarming to hear war stories of civilians – and officers – uniting in the name of humanity. 

For example,  a Confederate soldier who is friends with a Union officer during the Civil War, or a German official helping a Jew during World War II. Those stories make you feel hopeful and I certainly felt that when I wrote this scene.  Turkish villagers are hiding Greek villagers for all the right reasons – to save lives. There are other instances in “Raping Aphrodite,” that have a similar message. Because I am Greek-Cypriot, I didn’t want the book to come off as a pro-Greek, anti-Turk rant. There is a place for perspectives of both sides in my novel. 

“Raping Aphrodite” is part of a planned trilogy. 

The book is available for Kindle and in soft cover at, and for Nook readers at This novel is Historical Fiction and is Rated R for sexual content and language.

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