How you would describe your typical working day? I write in my study room in the mornings, usually from 7 till 10. This is the only time I can write, because later on, real people’s stories drag my attention away from my fictional stories. I work as a psychotherapist and conduct a writing therapy program, which is really fulfilling, but also demanding, so whenever I can, I run over to a nearby café Laganini (which means Easily). In Laganini I often think about the plot and characters or write answers to an interview (as I am doing now) into my yellow-green notebook. In the evening, I usually watch a movie with my boyfriend or hang out with friends.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? When I wrote two thirds of the novel and realized that I had to start leading the story towards an end, I faced some kind of an emotional wall. It always happens to me at this stage of writing. I feel disconnected from the inner world of my heroine and need some time to collect myself. I know her world will become alive again in the mind of a reader, but the process of creation will end, and when I see this from my heroine’s perspective, it’s like facing the end of the world. The borders will be set, the creative movement will stop. For me, this is disturbing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I was nine years old and I wanted to share a secret with my father. I wrote it on a piece of paper and gave it to him. He didn’t really get it, but the paper did. The paper had fully accepted what I wrote – without distortion, without judgement, without advice. I think this was the seed of my love towards writing, which later evolved into writing diaries, poetry and prose.
How did you develop your plot and characters? The idea for Kaleidoscope World was “kaleidoscopic” from the very beginning. First I had the pieces: kaleidoscope as a magical object, cellist with a missing finger and a half-crazy heroine. These pictures/ideas were somehow magnetic to me, and when I put them together, they created the main idea: kaleidoscope as a tunnel to another dimension. Which dimension is real – this one or that one? I won’t explain the cellist’s role, because I don’t want to spoil the reading. What I want to point out is that the plot somehow created itself. I just had to shake up the kaleidoscope bits, and the whole picture was there. Once I had it, I dove into it and wrote Kaleidoscope World pretty smoothly in less then a year.
How much of the book is autobiographical? Everything is fiction, except some supernatural details. In my twenties, I was fascinated by altered states of consciousness such as lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences. I was doing some exercises from the books on these subjects and had some “success.” I walked through the walls like a ghost and flew through space, but I kept wondering if these experiences were real, or was it all just in my head.
After a while, I stopped doing this because I felt sleepy most of the day. Altogether, it was interesting, but at the same time very confusing, so I dislodged it from my everyday life and placed it into my writing.
Are there new authors that have sparked your interest and why? At this moment, my favorite writer is Scarlett Thomas, the author of fantastic novels The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe. There is a certain surreal note in her writing, which I find very inspiring. She’s fascinated by quantum physics and I’m fascinated by human psyche. Through our characters, we both question the nature of this reality and I believe that we share a similar love for big and weird ideas.
What five adjectives would describe your book the best? Intriguing, funny, mystical, brave and crazy.
When did you first know you could be a writer? The first idea came when I was twelve. Until then I was writing children’s poetry about mom, dad, autumn and blue sky, and then I started to write a five-page long “novel” with a waitress as a main character. I remember this feeling. A fulfilling feeling of being someplace else – in the fiction.
When I was nineteen, I started to write my first “real novel” The Age of Splicing. It had no structure or consistency in style, but had a protagonist with tangled vocal cords and a dwarf with garlic-colored hair, which was cool enough to impress my younger sister and several friends. This was so encouraging that I had to write another novel – Basvik. The title was a name of an imaginary town with a whole array of lovely, weird characters. My favorite was a fortune-teller who could see the future from the way people laughed.
At this time I was pretty sure that I was a writer, even though many years have passed before my first book had been published.
Can you tell us about your main character? Dahlia is a sensitive, brave young woman who feels that her mind is falling apart. Her motto is: “When life hands you a lemon, grate the zest and bake a cake.” But, what if the zest is too bitter and there are no other ingredients?
Well, Dahlia will try to bake that cake anyway. She’ll leave her annoying alcoholic mother and move to Barcelona even though she’s broke. She’ll explore weird theories trying to find an explanation for her supernatural experiences regardless of her rigid rationality. She’ll do anything to collect the shattered pieces of her life into a meaningful picture even though this “cake” might be as bitter as hell.
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Genre – Psychological Thriller
Rating – PG