This supernatural thriller is the first novel of Viktoria Sema Ballavoski of Woodhaven who, like the protagonist of her novel, is a Turkish Coffee Cup reader, seeing people’s past, present and future.
Born in Turkey and finally settling down in Woodhaven a few decades ago, engaging the supernatural is something that is part of Ms. Ballavoski’s ancestry. Her father had experience dealing with jinns (supernatural spirits) and her mother read coffee grounds for many years.
“Sometimes, during a reading, if they (the client) have someone who has passed away and has a message for them, I will give it to them,” she says.
Pleas of forgiveness, she says, are a common message from beyond. Regrets from those who passed away suddenly (or in accidents) and did not have a chance to say goodbye are common as well.
Ballavoski had wanted to put some of her experiences into writing for many years but, like many people, always found excuses not to. But one day she found inspiration right before her eyes – in her very own coffee cup.
“I saw the image of a lady and she looked so strong,” she explains. “And I saw initials that looked like L.I.U.”
A long search on the Internet eventually led her to various images, one of which closely resembled the woman in her coffee cup. This image turned out to be a mythical and legendary figure called “Lilith” whose background is less than clear, her name being translated variously over the years by scholars as “spirit,” “demon,” “night-spectre,” “night creature,” and so on.
Ballavoski began researching the various stories and legends about Lilith and felt there was fertile ground there for a story and thus, the novel Lilith’s Awakening was born.
The actual writing of the book took a little over two years, sometimes advancing with just 5 or 10 minutes of time spent writing each day. There is a lot of the author in the novel’s main character, psychic and medium Viktoria Nelson, and the production of the book became a family affair when Ballavoski’s daughter, Mercan Bal, did the design work. In fact, it is Bal’s own eyes glaring out of the darkness on the book’s cover.
Eventually the novel was complete and, with a little persistence, Ballavoski struck a deal with a publisher. It can be purchased through Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes and Noble’s website and OverStock.com. Lilith’s Awakening is also being looked at by Meredith Viera Productions with an eye towards a film or a possible syndicated television show.
A portion of the proceeds from each sale of the book go to support the non-profit organization CancerCare which, each year, helps more than 100,000 individuals and families across the United States whose lives have been touched by cancer.
The cause is personal for Ballavoski – both of her parents succumbed to the disease and she greatly admires the work that CancerCare does.
“One of our friends passed away from cancer and his family was struggling and CancerCare came in and really helped them,” she says.
Ballavoski gives readings at her home in Woodhaven, and you can also visit her website (www.turkishcoffeecupreadings.com) for more information.
She will also be a featured guest at the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society on March 27, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Emanuel United Church of Christ at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue.
At the meeting you will be able to purchase copies of her book and three members of the society will be chosen at random for free readings. The entire 2013 schedule of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society will be published next month.