We’re thrilled to have here today Olivia Becouche-Albukerk from M. J. Joseph’s new novel, The Lübecker. Olivia is her merchant family’s 23 year-old emissary to the political and social milieu of pre-World War I Constantinople, Turkey. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Olivia. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I believe that my younger life and my family’s history should have been more thoroughly presented, but I have to give Mr. Joseph the benefit of the doubt, now that he has admitted to me that The Lübecker represents Book I of The Lübecker saga. He refuses, however, to tell me if I will have my own book, like the character whose name he deliberately allowed me to see him write next to “Book II”. He’s so, how do the English put it, dreadfully cheeky?
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
I believe Mr. Joseph produced a careful, perhaps, hesitant, rendering of my character for Book I, while strongly suggesting deep mystery and an almost unearthly sensuousness, if you’ll forgive my presumption. I believe that I know what he’s up to, especially since he calls me Esther sometimes or admits to calling me Justine when he’s dreaming about me.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
The projection of my intelligence, undiminished by my incredible beauty. What? Should I just say, “my good looks?”
Spitting pistachio shells at Old Benetar.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Easy! Gal Gadot, but with enhanced eyes and lips, of course.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yes, and that’s all you get from me.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
When I took to the wine-dark sea.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Charlotte Meckler, because she hadn’t the power to see her wishes fulfilled.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I am grateful. For now.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
I must suffer, slightly like Durrell’s Justine.
Thank you for this interview, Olivia. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I can’t be avoided. Thank you; this was fun.
Born and raised in Florida, M.J. Joseph maintains membership in the English Goethe Society, the Siegfried Sassoon Society and other literary associations. He is a supporter-member of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, as well as an Associate of Lincoln Cathedral. Prior to retiring, Joseph enjoyed a lengthy and rewarding career with an industrial firm where he served as CEO and managed the company’s merger with a larger international corporation. He divides his time between Europe and his home on Florida’s northern coast. M.J. Joseph and his wife Ann have two children and reside in Florida.