It all started with a dream. When Nicole Vardi and Dana Aljouder first met. A casual hallway encounter at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY blossomed into a beautiful venture – and “the rest, as they say, is history,” Dana smiled. Dana is currently an interior designer in Kuwait who found her passion in writing and performance arts. Nicole on the other hand, is a Los Angeles- based writer and freelance designer who happens to be the second assistant to Bette Midler! Worlds apart, their passion for writing brought them together and created an even stronger bond. But it wasn’t until New Years day of 2012 when they started meeting up in exotic locations to start collaborating on their biggest art project yet, a trilogy titled Evora.
Inspired by Brazilian folktales, Nicole had an idea for a book about dirtwalkers and moonwalkers. Putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – Nicole got to writing the first two pages of her story. And as good things come to those who dream, Nicole dreamt of the collaboration and was encouraged by her husband to pursue her instincts. A world away, Dana got the call from Nicole about the book and the collaboration. While Dana was swamped with other projects, the pages Nicole had sent her were too compelling to let go – and the project was set in motion. “Writing isn’t easy, especially if you’re co-writing miles apart,” Dana started, “It’s a daunting task that can take hours and hours of hard work, but we loved every second of it. Every week we’d Skype, and whenever we can we’d meet up to work on the story.”
Three years after starting work on their novel, it is now published. But still, this is merely book one of the trilogy, with a fourth book possibly in the works. Their message with Evora is simple: anyone and everyone can create their own story and master their destiny. “We come from primarily different backgrounds, yet our imagination has brought us together to create a beautiful world,” Dana added, “The added bonus is that we’re sharing our story with a global audience, which makes it all the more sweet.”
truth or dare questionnaire:
How would your mother describe you in one word?
D: “Like me.”
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
D: “Are you Kuwaitian?”
N: ‘So, do you speak Brazilian?’
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
D: Getting on the wrong boat (to Capri!) or wrong train (to Basel!).
N: Meeting a complete stranger from the Internet at the New York Metropolitan Museum and then marrying him four years later.
What is your theme song?
D: “This Must be the Place” by Talking Heads or “The Purple Bottle” by Animal Collective.
N: “I Saw the Sign” by Ace of Base for the child in me, but as a grown up my theme song is : ’93’ Til Infinity’ by Souls of Mischief.
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
D: Gingerly… We used it once in the story. Whoever finds it can email us and we’ll give them a free copy of the book!
N: Sleep… I love sleep.
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
D: All over Italy, from the backstreets of Naples to the hills of Urbino.
N: Spain, I am hoping to convince my husband to buy an olive grove so I can make my own olive oil.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
D: “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself” -Thales.
N: “Live simply so that others may simply live” – Ghandi.
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
D: A unicorn because it’s mythical and might not exist.
N: An elephant because they’re gentle and protective.
What do you miss about your childhood?
D: A simple life.
N: Summer, when you had to do nothing but play.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
D: Transfixing and mindblowing.
What is the toughest part of your character?
D: I’m moody and grumpy when I haven’t eaten over 4 hours.
N: I tend to skip from one idea to the next. Dana don’t worry, I’ll bring snacks!
Who is your favorite historical figure?
D: Lorenzo de’ Medici.
N: Helen Keller.
What in the world do you least desire?
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of would make the world a better place?
D: Compassion, courage, and humility.
N: If people would just listen to one another- sometimes the only thing someone needs is a person willing to listen to what they have to say.
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
D: I’m blunt and honest – no facades, just myself and I’m not scared to be myself.
N: No matter the outcome, I will always see the positive. Life is too short to always see the bad.
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”
D: The unconscious.
For more information follow them on Instagram @evoratrilogy and to order their debut novel email them at [email protected]. This book, and those yet to come are written in the memory of Dana’s grandmother – with proceeds going straight to charity.