Amanda Boaviagem, always eager for exciting adventures around the world, brings together her experiences as a tourist to offer her contribution to Odeporic literature – a genre that encompasses travel memories. In her fourth book, entitled The Green Dream, she invites readers to embark on a journey across Ireland: from the Cliffs of Moher to the iconic Temple Bar, a pub in the vibrant cultural district of the Irish capital. Aboard the DART, a train that runs along Dublin’s coastal region, readers will be able to feel the atmosphere of the Emerald Isle as if they were there.
During her vacation, Amy embarks on a journey with her boyfriend and records all the experiences in a diary. It is in this narrative that she discovers a long-forgotten family secret, involving her best friend, Lisa. From this revelation, our protagonist embarks on a journey of investigation into her own past, while at the same time getting involved in a love triangle and delving into the charming Irish traditions, which give a magical touch to the plot.
As in a dream, the story presents elements that challenge the reader’s perception. Some elements are intertwined, such as the names of the two characters Amy becomes involved with: Derek and Erik. In addition, the chapters are narrated by different characters, testing the reader’s immersion and perception.
The author’s own experiences during her stay in the European country, some years ago, were the inspiration to write this novel. She was also influenced by the English writer Jane Austen, mentioned in a passage during the masquerade ball. Pop culture references are also part of the book, such as “easter eggs” as well as in the series “Sombra e Ossos”, and number 42 of the saga “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, by the Englishman Douglas Adams.
Amanda Boaviagem holds a postgraduate degree in Public Law and works as a public servant in Recife (PE), her hometown. Fascinated by stories since childhood, she began writing in diaries and, over the years, found her place in the universe of poetry, chronicles, short stories and novels.
In addition to being the author of four books and co-author of seven collections, Amanda was selected in 12 literary contests and is Immortal and Paladino Literário 2022 by Academia Independente de Letras (AIL). In the literary area, she is also dedicated to promoting national authors through her Instagram account and organizing social actions with books, such as Amigo Secreto Solidário Literário Virtual, which collects and donates works for children from the NGO Sonhar Acordado Recife.
The odeporic genre encompasses travel memories. How did your experiences as a tourist influence the creation of the book “O Sonho Verde”?
At first, this book was just going to be a diary of my first international trip, which, like Amy’s, was to Ireland too. I was, in fact, in several places that she and the protagonists of the book visited, I took several walks… However, the idea changed to, instead of a diary of remembrance for myself, a fiction. That’s when I created the characters and their stories. Not all the places in the book have actually been, some tours I didn’t get to do, but I have a practically Irish friend who helped me with some tourist spots and I did a lot of research.
The plot of the book involves a trip to Ireland and the discovery of a family secret. How did you build this plot and what was the inspiration behind it?
I’ve read many books, watched soap operas, series, period stories… there’s always some “bullshit”, some confusion, family secret kept under lock and key and that, when it comes out, causes commotion. Unconsciously, I think I ended up absorbing this and projecting it into the plot of O Sonho Verde.
In addition to the famous sights, the characters experience Irish traditions. How did you delve into the local culture to bring those elements into the story?
Ireland is my “darling”. Amy’s list of reasons at the beginning of the book of “why she chose Ireland as her first international trip” easily applies to me. Movies like “Once”, “Leap Year” and even “Darby O’Gill” (an old Disney movie that Irish people don’t like as they say it doesn’t accurately portray their culture) inspired my curiosity about this place. Even more so when I found out that it’s the land of fairy tales, a genre I’ve always liked since I was a child. From there it was research, programming, the trip itself, conversations with my friend who lives in Ireland and folk songs from there to help get in the mood for the book – I listened to these songs on Spotify while writing the work. It helps so much with my writing, I always create a playlist of my books and “O Sonho Verde” was no different. Who wants to access playlist, just type in Spotify: “O Sonho Verde (OSV)” and you will see the cover of the book. I just warn you that the playlist is not yet fully ready and that it needs some Brazilian songs too, to reflect this mix of cultures from the Northeast (Brazil) and Ireland.
The plot features some confusing elements, such as the characters’ names and the alternating narrative. What was the intent behind these choices, and how do you think they impact the reader’s experience?
I don’t like obvious narratives and I wanted to make sure the reader paid attention to the story so that they could understand it. Yes, the intention was to confuse, even the names of the characters. I wanted the reader to ask himself: “Wait, did I misread that name? Wasn’t it another? Did I change?”. Even the alternating narratives, it’s a type of reading that I really like, being able to see the same situation from another character’s point of view and I thought it would be interesting for the reader. But it’s also not like the whole story is retold by different characters. I used this in a few chapters as I didn’t want it to get boring for the reader.
How did your own experiences in Ireland influence the writing of the novel? What were the most striking aspects you wanted to share with readers?
This book went through several versions before arriving at the version that is now in the hands of the reader. He would say that, before the more drastic changes, the travels I took influenced 25% of the book. Afterwards, I ended up mixing and alternating the chapters, because I thought it would be more dynamic. I didn’t want to lose the Irish immersion experience for the reader, but I also didn’t want it to be too descriptive and a lot was cut. After all, I think maybe 15 to 20% of the book was devoted to tours and sights, also because I wanted to encourage the reader to do literary tourism, something I love and I know a lot of people do too. I even intend to go to Ireland again, I don’t know when, but to visit all the places Amy went and I didn’t. The trip served as an inspiration, but the plot is pure fiction.
You mention Jane Austen’s influence and pop culture references in the book. How were these references incorporated into the narrative and what do they add to the story?
It happened quite naturally. Jane Austen is my favorite author in life, so I couldn’t not mention her in one of my books. The prom scene itself (look at the spoiler) was inspired by the proms that always took place in her books. Despite “O Sonho Verde” being contemporary, I managed to fit a dance in the middle with an “à la Austen” touch. As for pop culture in general, the references came as I created the story. In a certain scene, when the number 42 appears, I knew I had to include the reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”; in another, I saw something that reminded me of “Lord of the Rings” and so on…
The book explores the context of the festivities of Saint Patrick and the leprechauns. How did you approach these folkloric and magical elements in the plot?
The book begins and ends with the feast of Saint Patrick from one year to the next. I was in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and I knew this had to be in history. I ended up giving a certain prominence to leprechauns and legends in a way that I didn’t even expect so much at first. Even, maybe some people think it’s a fantasy book before reading it, for having these references, but it’s not. Maybe this came a little from my personal taste for fairy tales and I didn’t even notice it so much. But it turns out to be more of a joke than anything else.
In addition to the Irish setting, what other themes and messages do you want to convey to readers through “The Green Dream”?
A message of hope and positivity that yes, it is possible to pursue your dreams and that while they don’t come true, you can simply go “enjoying the scenery” and this great journey that is life. That we can always improve and change the course of our lives, but only if we really want to and make an effort too. That friendships are worthwhile, whether human or animal. That we should help others whenever possible and not just stay in our bubble, focused on our own interests. I always like to place my characters, at some point in the plot, making some gesture of solidarity for those in need, as a way of inspiring other people.
It was like this in “Amor nos Tempos de Quarentena”, my first book, where Manu, Maris and Lorenzo, who are doctors in the story, help homeless people by providing free medical care together with the NGO Anjos da Noite (which, in fact, exists in Recife – PE. The contact of the NGO is in a footnote of the book so that those who want to help can contact them).
In “O Sonho Verde”, the protagonists Amy, Lisa and Erik provide help at a shelter for needy children in Dublin, Ireland, where the story of the book takes place. In the footnote, I brought the curiosity that the inspiration for this shelter came from the NGO the daydream, which actually exists in Recife and other locations in Brazil, and which carries out continuous work with underprivileged children.
What was the research process like to create an authentic Irish atmosphere in the book? What were the sources of inspiration used?
The trip itself, research on websites that made me revisit tourist spots online or even go to some without having been there, at least my characters were. Also songs, movies and books about Irish culture. I once went to a St. Patrick’s Day party at a pub in my hometown that offered that experience to anyone who wanted it. You were wearing green, wearing a top hat, tie, shamrock… Just as if you were on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland itself. But that was years after I had already been there, it was more to remember.
How would you describe the reading experience of “The Green Dream” and what kind of readers do you think will most identify with the story?
It’s a light read, but one that allows you to travel within it. I wanted the reader to feel on a trip to Ireland with Amy, exactly as it would be if they were there. I think it will attract young people, especially the female audience, and also adults who are establishing themselves in their careers. People who like traveling, animals (there are puppies in the story) and who are also in search of self-knowledge, to rediscover themselves; Amy herself goes through a whole process throughout the plot (and which has not ended, as this is only the first book), of learning, of seeking to be a better person. I also think that people who do some kind of volunteer work or who are thinking of doing it will feel attracted by the characters’ actions and maybe this will be the starting point for them to follow that desire. Oh!
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