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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

#TuesdayTreasures with Author Leonora Meriel

Good Morning Friends!

Today's guest is brand new to our blog and brought to us by B00k r3vi3w Tours.

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

Find out more by visiting Lenora's Website and connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Now let's see what Lenora treasures.....

Sometimes we find special things to add to our lives. And sometimes special things find us.
I moved to Barcelona to start a new life 7 years ago and I bought an apartment – the first I had ever owned myself. The apartment was old and needed a lot of renovation and I stayed with a friend while it was full of workmen and dust. I had put aside a small amount of money for furniture and was working on my debut novel while waiting for the renovations to finish.

Barcelona is the perfect town for wandering around in. The weather is clear and warm, the city is compact, the metro takes you anywhere you want to go, and the streets are filled with interesting, artistic shops. Near to my new apartment there was a small art gallery in between a tailor and a Catalan restaurant. Every time I would walk by, I admired the paintings in there. Eventually, I went in and picked up a postcard of one of the paintings. I took it back to the flat where I was staying and kept it on my desk. I looked at it every day while I worked on my novel and felt happy that these paintings existed in the world.

One evening, about a month later, I was passing the gallery close to midnight. It looked like a party was finishing up. The door was open and there were cava bottles and cups strewn among the paintings and a few last people in conversation. I decided to go in. A few minutes later I found myself drinking a glass of cava and standing in front of the painting that had sat on my desk for the last few weeks. And then the artist came up to me, wearing clothes covered in paint. I explained how much I loved his work and how his postcard had made me happy for the last month.

“Make me an offer,” he said. “I need to sell them.”

It turned out that he was down on his luck. In the past he had sold his work in the US for many thousands of dollars, but creative people depend on a thriving economy and art is a luxury. He needed to sell his work for whatever he could get for it.

I explained I was a writer. “I don’t have enough money,” I said.

“Make me an offer,” he repeated.

I had the small amount of money set aside for furniture. But at that point I couldn’t care less about furniture.

I wrote down a number on a piece of paper and pointed at the painting I loved.

He looked at it and nodded. He gestured around the gallery. “What else do you like?”

I knew which my favorite paintings were. There were two others that I was absolutely smitten with.
I wrote down my entire furniture budget on the paper. I showed him the three paintings I loved.

“Agreed,” he said.

The next day, the artist and I carried the paintings up the 5 floors of stairs to my flat. A year later, when the renovations were finished, they were on my walls. They could not have been more perfect.
I didn’t have furniture for a long time. I used cardboard boxes for tables and buckets for storing clothes.

But those three paintings hanging in my flat gave me happiness and creative inspiration and such an intense feeling of home and happiness every single day. They were part of my journey while I was writing my novel. I felt that they gave me energy and encouraged me to create beautiful art that would touch someone’s life.

It never for one second occurred to me, while I was gazing at the postcard on my desk, that those paintings could one day be mine.

But they were mine. Or, more accurately – I was theirs.

They found the perfect flat and the perfect adoring owner and the perfect walls to hang on.

I will always be grateful for that.

Wow what an amazing story Leonora! Please tell us a little about your book....

 Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.
Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

The Woman Behind the Waterfall is available now at Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

I hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Leonora and Pam,

This is such an interesting blog! The book sounds great. Leonora, you have a fascinating background.

Leonora said...

Thank you so much Jacqueline. I loved the idea of writing about something I treasure. It is such a good blog Pamela has.

Alina K. Field said...

Ukraine is so rich with poignant history, particularly in the last century. You are so lucky to have lived there! I loved your treasure story. Best of luck with the book!