7 Minutes in Book Heaven with Taleen Voskuni

Welcome to our new LGBT podcast short 7 Minutes in Book Heaven – a partner podcast to This Queer Book Saved My Life!

We spend 7 minutes in our virtual studio interviewing LGBTQ authors about their new and upcoming books for us to love and cuddle up with.

On our premiere episode, we meet Taleen Voskuni. Her new book is Sorry, Bro. What’s it about? An Armenian-American woman rediscovers her roots and embraces who she really is in this vibrant and heartfelt queer rom-com.

Pre-order the book here: https://bookshop.org/shop/thisqueerbook

Follow Taleen!
Twitter: @taleenvoskuni
Instagram: @taleenauthor


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J.P. Hello everybody! My name is J.P. Der Boghossian and welcome to 7 Minutes in Book Heaven where I interview Queer authors about the new books they have coming out for us to love and to cuddle up with. With me today is Taleen Voskuni. Hello!

Taleen: Hello!

J.P.: So, per the rules of the game Taleen and I are going to spend exactly 7 minutes in this virtual studio talking about her new book Sorry, Bro while also getting to know more about the amazing human and writer that is Taleen Voskuni. So Taleen are you ready?

Taleen: I am ready!

J.P.: I am going to set the timer and here we go. Would you please describe Sorry, Bro as if you’re sharing it with a celebrity you have a crush on and telling us who the celebrity is of course.

Taleen: Oh all, right! Starting off with the bang! I’m going to pretend I’m telling Kristen Stewart about my book. Sorry, Bro is a book about a 27 year old woman named Nareh or Nar who gets convinced.by her mom to go husband hunting for an Armenian husband at this series of events in San Francisco. Nar doesn’t really like any of the guys on her mom’s list and instead finds herself increasingly being enamored with this woman named Erebuni. Nar isn’t out and she’s had a heck of a time subtly conveying to Erebuni that she’s into women. Maybe you know what that’s like Kristen. It’s a coming out story with a happy ending and a very flirtatious scene involving Armenian coffee. I think it’d be up your alley and you should read it. Wow.

J.P.: I can’t wait to read that scene! Next question, what is a sentence from a novel, essay, poem or other book that moves you every time you read it. It gives you all the feels.

Taleen: I chose this one and you’ll understand why immediately. I know this is supposed to be a lighthearted podcast but it’s the very first line of the poem Perhaps by Sylvia Gaboudikian. It feels especially apt right now and the line is, “Perhaps you became so small Armenia, so we could carry you in our hearts.

J.P.: Oh. Wow. Wow! Thank you for that. Say again poem title and poet?

Taleen: It’s Syliva Gaboudikian.

There is a war in Armenian, perpetrated by Azerbaijan, and we encourage folks to read about it and find ways to support ending it, but we are going to keep moving along here because we have under 5 minutes here. What do you feel is the best sentence you’ve ever written?

Taleen: So hard to pick a favorite but I loved this one when I wrote it and it’s from my follow-up book that’s not out yet, Lavash at First Sight. So the line is “The skies are beginning to pastel splashing colors onto one another and it feels so inviting here. Like if I leaned back, Chicago would find a way to catch me.”

I love Chicago so I just wrote a sentence about Chicago at sunset. I lived in Chicago for a year and it was maybe the best year of my life.

J.P. That’s great! What is the best romantic scene that you feel you’ve ever read?

Taleen: This is going to be from my colleague and friend Livy Hart’s romance called Talk Flirty to Me and it takes place in the back of a minivan. So not exactly where you’d expect me to quote my favorite romantic scene. Oh my God, a masterclass on intentional flirtation. Not a lot happened. I think it’s like a hand over a hand and I almost blacked out! It was so good! I read it just a few months ago, when the book came out.

J.P: What is your favorite scents to write about?

Taleen: I have a lot of scents that I like to write about. I do write about scents in Sorry Bro. They talk about favorite smells. They talk about this Bulgarian rose perfume that has a little bit of edge to it, so it smells like trampled roses. I really like floral and woody things and of course the smell of delicious food cooking which also has a big part in Sorry, Bro.

J.P.: I love asking folks this next question: what is the worst writing advice that you’ve ever got?

Taleen: This was also fun to think about. The one that sticks out in my mind is “the most important thing is talent.” No, it’s not! That could not be further from the truth. Everything I found since then contradicts it. It is not the most important thing. I actually have been thinking about this very much.

J.P.: Unpack that for us. What do you feel are the most important things?

Taleen: I believe that putting in the work, finishing the work, having an eye towards always improving, not thinking you know everything, always trying to get better and then a huge chunk of luck. That’s how you get a book published. You had to do a lot of work, try and get better, finish. and get lucky. That element is absolutely out of your control but the rest you can control.

J.P.: I was going to ask, how do you find luck? Where is this luck?

Taleen: There’s an Armenian folk tale about that isn’t there? About trying to go out and find your luck. I’ll look it up later but I’ll tell you about the story another time because it’ll take way longer than 5 minutes for me to tell a convoluted version of it!

J.P.: So promote yourself! How do we preorder Sorry, Bro? How do we follow you on social?

Taleen: My book is available for pre-order on lots of sites like the Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Bookshop.org, the Penguin site itself and several more. You can also follow me on Twitter: @taleenvoskuni. That’s t a l e e n v o s k u n i. On Instagram it’s a little easier: I’m on there as @taleenauthor. I want everyone to know this is the author one!

J.P. Thank you for that! It looks like we have about thirty seconds-ish left, is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience about Sorry, Bro?

Taleen: Oh, I’m so impressed. I hope anyone that reads it enjoys it. It’s both a fun escape but also has some serious elements and a lot of learning about Armenia which is one of my goals in the book. I want to both help Armenian Queer readers feel seen and also educate non-Armenians about our culture. If you read it. I hope you love it.

J.P.: Wow! You got it right on the dot and I can tell you I have been waiting for this book to come out and so I can’t wait to read it. That is all the time that we have. Thank you so much Taleen for joining us here today.

Taleen: Thank you J.P. This is such a pleasure.

J.P.: This has been 7 Minutes in Book Heaven which is a partner podcast to This Queer Book Saved My Life!. Transcripts of all of our episodes are available on thiqueerbook.com. We are on Facebook as well as at @thisqueerbook on Twitter and Instagram. My name is J.P. Der Boghossian and stay tuned to this space every Tuesday for new episodes of 7 Minutes in Book Heaven or This Queer Book Saved My Life! Until then, see you Gays and allies in the bookstores.

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