Why I wrote Nowhere Girls – An Interview with Teuta Metra

Nowhere Girls Blog Tour Poster

Nowhere Girls is the new novel by Teuta Metra. Described as
a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom, it promises to be an intersteing read.

Teuta Metra’s previous experience as an Albanian journalist has helped to make her somewheat of an expert on the struggles of women from her country. Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons.

But I wanted to find out more about what inspired Teuta to write Nowhere Girls. I’m delighted to present, in her own words, the reasons why Teuta Metra wrote Nowhere Girls.

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Why I wrote Nowhere Girls

As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” I love this quote from Virginia Woolf, because I see so much of myself in it. I was born in Albania and now live in the Netherlands. Sometimes I feel as if I’m neither here, nor there, just somewhere in between.

When I started writing this novel, I had no idea it would go so far – I especially never thought I’d manage to finally get my words into English so that it would reach a bigger audience. A great deal of Nowhere Girls was written on my phone, in the Notebook app, and all in Albanian of course. My free moments were few and far between, almost no spare time to sit properly and write. The first chapter of Nowhere Girls was created while my kids were playing in the playground!

The three friends – Sara, Alba and Ina – kept popping into my head, the three representing the different ways women in my home country were suffering. I had to write about them there and then and get it down on paper. The urge was something stronger than me, it was consuming me every single day. Nowhere Girls was an obligation I had to both myself and the women in my country, to speak our truth. I had to find a way to lift the burden of an untold story off my shoulders.

Teuta Metra Author nowhere girls

The book is about three women, three friends, who couldn’t be more different to one another. While Alba is worming her way into the upper echelons of Albania’s richest and most powerful by any means she can, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist, and Ina is a victim of dreadful circumstances surrounding her life. Desperate to escape their corrupt country, the three friends are quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies.

I was eager to do something that would raise awareness of what is going on in Albania, right now. I’m not strong enough to oppose the political system (I left my country, after all), but I’m strong enough to say something through my writing. Something that will reach people outside of Albania.

Every day I’m astounded as to how women are still suffering in the modern world! Sadly, women like my fictitious Ina, Sara and Alba are all too real, denied freedom and happiness at every turn. They are living in a small country, forced to endure travesties behind Albania’s closed borders over 50 years. They are then forced to endure further hardship due to the corrupt men in power, using politics for power play with little regard for those they are meant to be leading and protecting.

Having been a journalist in Albania for many years – just like Sara – made writing this book both easier and harder. Although my background influenced me, and I tried to stay as close as possible to reality, I also had to distance myself from my journalistic experience and remember it had to read like story. It had to keep readers turning the pages. The book isn’t just a realistic account of life in Albania, it’s also a fictional tale about love, friendship, freedom and family.

I hope that through the pages of my book I have been able to demonstrate to English-speaking readers how different life really is for women growing up in this small Balkan country. While tourists enjoy the good weather, the sea, the mountains, the delicious food and the hospitality of the locals – I want them to remember that behind closed doors the reality is not so pretty.

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I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Teuta Metra and her publicity team for making this interview possible.

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nowhere girls cover

Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies. 

When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?

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