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#Giveaway Interview SCENT OF BUTTERFLIES by DORA LEVY MOSSANEN @doralmossanen @sbkslandmark

Book Description

Scent of Butterflies

 January 7, 2014

A novel singed by the flavors of Tehran, imbued with the Iranian roots of Persepolis and the culture clash of Rooftops of Tehran, this is a striking, nuanced story of a woman caught between two worlds, from the bestselling author of HaremCourtesan, and The Last Romanov.

A Love So Deep Can Forever Scar the Soul

Such audacity she has, Soraya, a woman who dares to break free of the diamond-studded leash of her culture. A woman who refuses to accept the devastating betrayal her husband has perpetrated. A woman who refuses to forgive her best friend.

Soraya turns her back on Iran, fleeing to America to plot her intricate revenge. The Shah has fallen, her country is in turmoil, her marriage has crumbled, and she is unraveling. The cruel and intimate blow her husband has dealt her awakens an obsessive streak that explodes in the heated world of Los Angeles.

Yet the secret Soraya discovers proves far more devastating than anything she had imagined, unleashing a whirlwind of unexpected events that will leave the reader breathless.

About the Author

Dora Levy Mossanen is an American author of historical fiction. Her published works include Harem (2002), Courtesan (2005), The Last Romanov (2012) and Scent of Butterflies (2014). She is a graduate of the USC Masters of Professional Writing Program and is the recipient of the San Diego State University Editor’s Choice Award.

Dora was born in Israel as the country was gaining its independence. She moved to Iran with her family when she was nine.

Joining a family whose roots went back 2,500 years in Persia, her first inspiration and invaluable source of history was her grandfather and renowned historian, Doctor Habib Levy. Dr. Levy introduced Dora to life in Mahaleh, the Jewish ghetto, anti-Semitism, and the challenges of being Jewish in a Moslem country.

The Islamic Revolution of 1979, the fall of the shah, and arrival of the Ayatollah Khomeini forced Mossanen and her family to leave Iran. They settled in California and became part of what is now the largest Iranian community in the United States.
In 1986, Dora obtained a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California Los Angeles, and in 1990 completed her master’s degree in Creative Writing from University of Southern California.


 Is there a song that really reminds you of your book?

Yes. “Bridge,” a song by Googoosh, a popular Iranian singer tjat reminds me of Aziz and Soraya’s love in Scent of Butterflies.

There’s a scene in the book, where I describe musicians tuning their instruments in preparation of a party in a neighbor’s garden. It is Sunday. A luncheon. Cars are arriving. The band begins to play “Bridge,” an old song of Googoosh. “Help me weave a bed of flowers for our innocent sleep of love…help me weave a tent of songs to shadow us…I am not scared of night because you handed me the sun…let our hands be a bridge to ….” I created this scene with a measure of sadness and nostalgia for a time I remember back in Iran, when music was revered, but that might have been forever lost now.

 What was the easiest thing about writing this book?

Easiest? Is there anything easy about writing a book? If there is, I don’t know much about it. I wish you’d asked what was the hardest thing about writing Scent of Butterflies, and I’d easily come up with a long list. But for the sake of answering the question, I’d say that although not necessarily the easiest, but the most rewarding, which in a way feels like easy writing, was the way fiction gave me license to give life to my protagonist, Soraya, an exceptional woman who dares act in ways I would have loved to, but never had the courage to act.

 Is there a word you love to use?

Yes. Thrust. Yank. Resonate. And many others that I won’t trouble you with, since I make sure to search and delete or change these words once I get to the last drafts of my books. These are the words that resonate with me, so I make sure to yank them off the page, thrust them back into oblivion …. Ok, enough of that. You get my gist.

What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?

I remember my mother getting me a library card in Israel when I was three-years-old. The sad fact is I don’t remember the first book I read, until we had moved to Iran, and even then, I remember reading comic books first, my favorite was Little Lulu, a curly-haired girl, who was a mischievous leader and the first feminist I came to know. But, the first real book I remember reading was at the age of twelve. Are you still considered a child at twelve? I got my hands on Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, but my mother, who didn’t speak English and had read the novel in Farsi, announced that the book was not age appropriate and forbade me to read it, which made me more eager to read it, of couse. Night after night, I’d sneak the book out from under my mattress and read it hungrily, shaking from fear and suspense. Little did my mother know that it wasn’t the classic gothic story of Rebecca that she should have banned, but the cheap romance novels I bought from our corner mom and pop shop that summer, devouring them at the rate of one a day.

How does your garden grow?

My garden grows fast and furious and lush like Soraya’s garden in Bel Air.

 Here’s an excerpt from Scent of Butterflies that will give you a pretty good idea: “my garden has evolved into, the lewd excess of raging colors, overpowering scents, and dizzying array of butterflies reminiscent of a whore’s den. A violent kaleidoscope of climbing jasmine overwhelms the gazebo. Rodents nestle in dense bushes, water lilies in ponds, mites in blossoms, and grasshoppers on the birds of paradise.”


Ends 2/1/14

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  1. Thanks for this post! I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR. Enjoyed the interview as well. :))
    My favorite butterfly? There are several different types of Swallowtail butterflies and I love them all! Especially the Emerald Swallowtail.

    1. Hi Jill, I wish you luck and know you'll enjoy Scent of Butterflies and the depth of research that went into studying butterflies. You'll be surprised at some of their strange habits

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the great post, I'd really love to read this book and the interview as great. :)


    1. Hi Erin, thanks for your kind words. Stay in touch and let me know what you think of my protagonist, the marvelous Soraya!

  3. Thanks for interview would love to read the book.

    1. Enjoy Scent of Butterflies and don't be shy about sharing your thoughts with me. Soraya, my protagonist, has a way of stirring the emotions of readers.

  4. Sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway. jtretin at aol dot com.

    1. Hoe you enjoy Scent of Butterflies and share with your book club.

  5. Monarch is my favorite butterfly.

    1. oh, my! You'll love Soraya's obsessive luring of monarchs to her garden. Did you know that monarchs are poisonous?

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm sure you'll also find Scent of Butterflies an interesting journey into a different culture and the world of love, obsession, and butterflies!

  7. The Swallowtail Butterfly. Congratulations and best wishes on the release of Scent of Butterflies which would be unforgettable and very profound. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. I like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.

  9. My favorite is the Viceroy, whose major defense against predators is purported to be mimicry, specifically of the Monarch (though whether that mimicry is Batesian or Müllerian is a subject of some dispute).


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