I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite Indie Authors here today. Please welcome Anita Kovacevic. I “discovered” her in a group called Books Go Social. When I read her book “The Threshold” I fell in love with it. Suspenseful and compelling I couldn’t put it down. (see my review here: https://elizabethnnewton.com/2015/02/17/the-threshold-anita-kovacevic/)
So let’s get started…
What is the title of your latest book?
I have only self-published two books so far – a children’s book Winky’s Colours,and an adult urban-legend ebook The Threshold.
What inspired you to write this book?
It was a tough decision which of the two books to talk about, but I opted for The Threshold (I hope Winky forgives me this time;). I was actually reading a book, and the word ‘threshold’ appeared in a descriptive passage. My mind sort of got glued to the word, and no matter how hard I tried to keep reading, I kept going back to that word. Finally I just had to set the book aside, pick up my notebook and write the thoughts down. What if there was a threshold which changed you somehow as soon as you crossed it? What if it trapped you? What if you didn’t like what you became? About three hours later, I realized I was sitting on the floor with half the notebook filled. That’s how it started.
Do you identify with any of your characters and in what way?
I wouldn’t say I identify with anyone in The Threshold, but I do empathize. In the book I have just finished there is a character who might be a bit like me, I guess. Although, I would say we put a little bit of us into each character we create, even without being aware of it. Empathy is the killer here; I may not identify, but sometimes I feel for/with some characters so much that it is difficult to snap out of it.
Would you like to share a little about your next project?
I have finished a full-length novel which is just now in the hands of my beta readers, me biting my nails and everything. It is a weird story I am extremely partial to, about a family who go looking for a calmer life in a small town, but soon realize there is more to the place than meets the eye. Nothing is ever just what it seems. My husband says I have actually painted the picture of the whole town, with all its secrets, angels and demons. I say it’s weird, because it is impossible for me to explain the genre, as it is a mix of social drama, modern-day fantasy and paranormal… Oh well, give me a story to tell any time, just don’t let me promote my own book. I have always been better at promoting others than myself. My working title is The Forest of Trees, which I am not planning to change, because it has both literal and metaphorical meaning. I love all the characters, even the ones I hate, and even the weak ones. I am proud of the ones who find inner strength, but especially the children characters.
There is another project going on as well. Last spring I was invited by Mr Frank Letras, fellow teacher from http://www.eslprintables.com and an author, to participate in a project called Inner Giant. The project is about to see the light of day as an e-book, the proceeds going to a world anti-bullying charity. It is a collection created generously by educators and artists from all over the world (just in case any of them read this – a big shoutout to you all – such a pleasure and honour to have been working with you!). We each contributed a story, essay, poem, song, photo, illustration, worksheet, etc., related to bullying in all its forms. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of bullying and mobbing, even domestic violence, help people speak up about it, do something about it, and, most importantly, find their own inner strength, Inner Giant, which helps them overcome such issues by helping themselves and others.
That sounds very interesting. I know bullying is a very important issue for you and you devote a lot of time to raising awareness.
Have you been inspired by any other writers?
The Threshold was inspired by a single word in Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, although it is not fantasy at all and has nothing to do with wizards. I believe we are all inspired by other authors, even if subconsciously. I love reading. I love and hate to read E. A. Poe and Stephen King, I love Jane Austen, Paolo Coelho, J. K. Rowling, Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens, Dean Koontz, Jean M. Auel, A. C. Doyle, Croatian authors M. J. Zagorka and Ante Tomić, and so many more. It is funny to name just a few, because there have been so many authors I admire. I suppose they have all influenced and shaped my mindset and vocabulary, and reveal that in my own stories.
What is your process for writing? Do you dedicate a certain amount of hours daily? Do you go from beginning to end or just write in a non-linear fashion?
Well, I am quite new to this whole thing, so I will be able to speak of processes after a few more books;). For now, this is it – I usually wake up in the middle of the night and see the whole scene perfectly. I feel the smells, hear the sounds, sense the heat or cold… I am there. If I write it down then and there, my characters might just let me go back to sleep mercifully. If I don’t, insomnia kicks in and I lose that battle and sleep every time. Work and family keep me busy, so writing during the day is usually difficult, although my husband, my children and even I myself… we are all slowly accepting the fact that when the story takes me, I become the crazy lady with a pen and paper ready at all times.
I don’t have a daily routine of writing (shame on me), but my dreamstep is always there;). It also depends on the topic – I seem to have started writing a mystery, which naturally requires a lot of research and planning, so the process will be a but different.
What is your favorite book and why?
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no ONE book for me. There are books I love reading for myself, there are books I enjoy reading with my children (my daughter loves David Melling’s stories and illustrations), there are those I adore ‘infecting’ my students’ minds with.
I have loved and will love so many books for so many different reasons. It’s like with music; some things you liked as a kid and still remember fondly, some you like when you relax, some you need when you are edgy… and you love them all for those reasons. Kind of like people.
If you could make one of your books into a movie, which one would you choose and who would portray the main characters?
My favourite question in the whole world, being a movie fan as well! The Threshold might make a good movie, although it is only a novella, so some expanding would be necessary (btw, no problem at all, in case any offers come;). Although, I have to admit, The Forest of Trees sounds to me as if it would make a good one. Or even a TV-series. As for the actors, I’ll have to get back to you on that! Just thinking about it is… woooow! (Very eloquent, eh?)
What is the most difficult part in writing a book?
Finding the time and peace to write 😉 ! Sticking to the timeline and the little details while writing, and then the endless editing. Emotionally, getting some scenes out of your head and heart, and going back to real, normal life.
Do you read your reviews and how do they affect you?
For now, yes, I do, because there are not many of them. I hope there are more. Of course reviews will affect me – ego is easily bruised and easily fed, but I am relying on my family and friends to keep my head above water and below the clouds. As a teacher, I am accustomed to correcting other people’s errors and getting them to learn from them, so I will try to apply that advice on myself as well. Fingers crossed!
Do you have any special steps or superstitions you follow when writing?
Not really. I just hate it when a really good scene or poem comes knocking on my dreamstep and I deny them paper-presence. They are usually so insulted that they rarely come back.
Some of my friends send me pens from time to time, and I even got a tablet for my birthday, and I like to combine both techniques when I write. I don’t like writing in maths notebooks (something about wll those squares is not inspiring), but give me any old piece of paper, napkin, the back of an old worksheet, and I can write. I actually started writing The Forest of Trees on the back of my old edited version of a dragon novel I wrote. Sometimes I write in silence, sometimes I listen to some Celtic instrumentals, Enya, or even Sade or Ed Sheeran. Mood and topic influence my choice of music.
What makes a good book?
It makes you think and it makes you feel! Plain and simple. This is why no two people ever read the same book; we each see and feel what is within us to see and feel. If in the end, this book also makes you do something about it, something positive, then it’s an amazing book.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I actually wrote a lot, with high ambitions. Then it all somehow got lost, or storaged, during university, but when I started teaching, I shared my love of reading with my students, and started writing a lot of my teaching materials as well. I got good ‘reviews’ for those from my students. I trusted them, because they had no idea I was the author, so they weren’t just begging for good grades. Winky is a result of that – it was polished in my lessons, and I still adapt it to the audience when storytelling. My colleagues suggested I should start writing, and, bit by bit, here I am. Trying and learning.
If you could describe your writing style in one sentence what would you say?
Next question, please! No, just kidding, I respect you too much to skip your questions, Elizabeth. Although this is tough. I submitted a sample paragraph from The Forest of Trees for an online style evaluation, and it turned out my style resembles E. A. Poe! Not complaining at all;)! I guess my readers and reviewers will be the judges of that. My one-liner for now – I always have a bit of magic in each story, because so has life! (Told you I shouldn’t promote my own books.)
What is the last book you read and why did you choose to read it?
I read Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia. To be honest, I was lucky to have received his ARC in exchange for a thorough review. I loved the book, as my inner child loves fantasy and dragons.
If you could choose any person living or dead to read and review one of your books who would you choose, which book would you choose, and why?
Oh my, pure torture! I don’t think I could handle that. Having them read, fine. But review… Just one person? Just one book? Well, I would love it if more than one person read my books;)! OK, perhaps this will sound silly, but here it goes. It would be dreamy to have had my Winky’s Colours read by Audrey Hepburn and to hear what she thought. I mean, just to hear her read it would be pure joy.
In Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 the characters memorize books to “save” them when all books are being burned. They are known as Book People. If you were a book which one would you be and why?
I am not good at memorizing quotes, let alone books. But I will go for one of my favourites here – Pride & Prejudice. Why? Because it always makes me feel proud, yet never vane, and it taught me I was not an insiginificant, mousy, book-loving nerd way back when I was afraid that was all I would ever be.
Thank you so much for sharing your time with us. I’m looking forward to your next book and wish you all the best with your endeavors.