Today I would like to welcome Anita Kovacevic.
Anita Kovacevic is an author from Croatia. She has been teaching English for over 20 years, and lives with her family in a small town near the Croatian capital. She has recently started self-publishing and illustrating her stories (two children’s books – “Winky’s Colours” and “The Good Pirate”, and an adult paranormal novelette “The Threshold”. She is currently teaching full-time, editing her children’s books and a YA fantasy novel, and having another novel read by her beta-readers. Three new novels, a crime story, a horror and a light romance comedy are still in their early stages. As a member of an international teaching community, she has also participated in a worldwide charity anti-bullying project Inner Giant, published as an e-book on Amazon, which, among others, will feature some of her short stories, essays, illustrations and poems.
Her greatest inspiration and critics are her children and students. She enjoys reading and writing stories which mix life and magic, reality and fantasy. She writes poetry, children’s plays, stories & fairytales, fantasy, drama, horrors, flash fiction and has a special fondness for writing limerick stories.
You can also read her interviews with indie authors and artists on her WordPress blog Anita’s Haven, as well as book reviews and some free stories, poetry and essays.
You can find more about Anita and her work here:
FB BLOG – Anita’s Haven https://www.facebook.com/anitashaven
LULU SPOTLIGHT http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Anita_K
When did you start writing?
Funny thing is I thought I started writing a few years ago, and publishing last summer. But after talking to some other authors and readers, I realized I started writing at an early age, in my elementary school literary and drama clubs, as well as throughout high school. My teachers had sent my work to competitions and I was published in some school magazines. At university, I usually excelled in essay-type exams and literature, and when I started teaching, I made tons of teaching materials from my own texts, sharing them on an online teaching website. My colleagues from that site, as well as teachers I work with at a school for foreign languages in Zagreb, have all encouraged me to do a little bit more with my writing and try to publish. Having wasted 2 years on the publishing jungle, I started self-publishing. I know my work is far from perfect, as it is all diy for now, but I have learned so much since I self-published, from an amazingly supportive group of authors (The Books GS Facebook group), as well as learning from my own mistakes, that I now know my work is improving, and will continue to do so. I now know what I don’t know, so it is much easier to ask for help.
What motivated you to start writing?
The stories which are stories, not teaching materials, have been with me for a long time now, ever since I had my first child (so 12 years now), but it was all just writing for myself. The turning point to publish was the support I got from my family and friends at the crucial moment.
I had been helping on the Inner Giant project, writing, illustrating and proofreading (fantastic, selfless group of people – educators and artists from around the world inspired by a teaching colleague F. Letras), and started learning a lot about writing. At the same time I was in the middle of my latest work in progress (now being read by my beta-readers – may they be gentle yet just), and I felt it was getting better and better, the feeling of writing and the actual text itself. I talked to my husband and best friend, and they said ‘Go for it!’ So I decided not to wait till it’s too late and then spend my retirement wondering ‘what if’ and ‘if only’! Budget was (is) an issue, so I self-published through Lulu where I got a free ‘kit’ and wonderful support. Clicking ‘publish’ was eerie and exhilarating at the same time.
What is your favorite book and what is your favorite author? Why?
That is impossible to say. So many books have stayed with me, even without my being aware of it. I love Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, J. K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, A. C. Doyle, A. Christie, Ante Tomić, Marija Jurić Zagorka, Andrew Davidson, W. Shakespeare, J. M. Auel, Mika Waltari… I am enjoying reading new books from indie authors these days, some of which are really promising. I hope they stick around and don’t get lost in the jungle of the (self-) publishing world today). Favourite book? Hopefully always the one I am reading at the time.
Where did you find inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere. Sometimes it’s just one word, like in The Threshold, sometimes my students and what they need (like in Winky’s Colours and The Good Pirate), sometimes just scents in the nature (like in The Forest of Trees). My current WIP novels started while I was still writing The Forest of Trees (one was born from a flash fiction break I took from a particularly nasty family scene in The Forest, one woke me up at night after a storm in The Forest, whereas the third one is a complete opposite from The Forest, and for now, feels like a summer vacation from the hard work in The Forest. Whether anything actually comes out from these three…. Well, time will tell.
Are your stories based on someone you know or on events you have experienced?
Always, but not precisely. We cannot and should not escape writing what we know, but it’s all blended, there is no straight line you can draw and say ‘This is my friend who did this and that…’ or ‘This is what happened to me when…’ Most of the things in Inner Giant are really related either to me personally or to events I have experienced as a teacher. I would say my poetry is definitely based on personal stuff, but ‘perhaps I shouldn’t have said that’, to quote Hagrid.
When I’m writing I need silence. So how about you? Do you like to hear music while you are working?
It depends on the day and the story. Mostly I like to write in peace (S. King says ‘get a door’ and I know what he means), which mostly comes only at night. Both our kids not partial to sleeping, I lost a lot of sleep in the last 12 years, and now that kids are sleeping well, my characters keep waking me up. Must have something to do with the fact that I was born during the night;) – my time of day!
How many books have you written?
Hmmm…. That is a difficult question, because I have written several, but only published 3 so far, and participated as a contributor in two. The five together make a nice banner. Apart from that, I have two novels still to edit and several children’s books as well.
What can you tell us about your next project?
It seems there is never only one project going on! I will try to save some money to give The Forest of Trees the attention it deserves, providing it with a proper professional editing and cover. For now, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my beta-readers don’t bury it in its conception. I believe in the story, but then I believe in magic, too, so some people would call me crazy! The Forest is definitely top on my list. Meanwhile, I will be editing the rest, and writing whatever the ‘little people’ in my head tell me to. Sorry, couldn’t resist quoting Robin Williams from The Fisher King! I remember him every time my characters wake me up and start jabbering!
About your book…
Spanning over a few centuries, this urban legend revolves around a mysterious house and its alleged secret treasure. The original owner is obsessed with the house, but once he enters it, he never leaves, till his death. Over a century, a creepy urban legend develops about it. But nobody tampers with it till a real estate mogul wants the property to build a business tower on the site. To gain legal control over it, he strikes a deal with the city officials, and starts a reality show in which contestants are asked to enter the house and retrieve the treasure from it. The show does not go as planned, and the newly built tower will hold deadly secrets of its own. Who will end up having the upper hand – the tycoon or the threshold?
What is your book about?
The Threshold is sort of an urban legend. It’s a short novelette. It revolves around a cursed house which affects the lives of many people through several hundred years, from the time it is being built, till the time it is torn down, and perhaps further? There are some horror/paranormal elements in it, nothing too gory, but all deserved. It deals with the merciless vanity of some people, who go after their dreams at the expense of others, thinking they would get away with it unpunished, or even unnoticed. And then they face themselves for who they really are. I hope I have said enough to tease your interest, but not to spoil the story.
Can you tell us something about the main character or characters?
There are several characters, and what I found interesting is that different readers have grown attached to different characters. Some like the independent modern TV producer Sally Jenkins, a proud single mother trying to make it, some love to hate the ancient villain Clarence Thibedeaux, some his sad wife, some love the sexy and cocky 20th-century tycoon Scott, and some are charmed by old Mrs. Poole, the quaint little lady at the beginning. My personal favourite is… (OK, I love them all), Mike, the main character. He goes by barely unnoticed and does the most important thing, changing the course of the story, or perhaps putting it right back on track, without ever having planned to be the hero. Which is precisely why he is. In my book anyway.
Would you like to send a message to the readers?
My ego says – I hope you learn to love my books, get them, read them, review them and recommend them. But my ego is a little spoiled brat who sometimes needs to be put in the corner to think about his actions, so feel free to disregard him if my books are not your cup of tea/coffee/cocktail.
My heart says – read books! Read whenever you can and whatever you need to read at a certain point in your life! And read to and with others! Learn from books – they help you in real life! And share your knowledge – share stories with others! And if you find books which touch your heart and mind, go back to them several times in life! There is something magical and powerful to re-read them – you always get the same feeling, yet you see things from a different perspective as you grow in life!
PS: If I may, I would love to draw your attention to the charity e-book I was part of, because it deals with bullying and abuse, helping children and adults find their Inner Giant, and all proceeds go to charity. You will get 400 pages of stories, poems, advice, essays, poems, songs, photos voluntarily contributed by educators and artists from all over the world. And please review and recommend it!
“INNER GIANT” http://www.amazon.com/Inner-Giant-Frank-Letras-ebook/dp/B00X83THMI
Thank you Anita for stopping by, it was a pleasure to have you here.