Our Interview with Erika Szabo!

Erika M SzaboProduct Details Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

I was introduced to the art of healing with herbs by my grandmother at a very early age. I realized how much I learned from her when I studied Alternative Medicine. I publish educational books regarding Alternative health and healing in Hungarian and English. I focus on disease prevention with healthy diet, lifestyle and supplements. My Healing Herbs series I point out the benefits as well as dangers of using herbal remedies. Recently I’ve exposed my softer side too, I dared myself to publish my debut novel Ilona the Hun and the “baby book” of our seven orphaned fox pups.
I love challenges. I’ve been told that I dance to my own tune (or so to speak, because I never really mastered the art of dancing:). I’ve been told all my life by family and friends what I cannot do. It all began when I was a kid.
“You cannot use the umbrella as parachute!” Of course I did, jumping off the garage roof. As a result of my rebelling stupidity, I received a cast on my broken leg.
“Honey, guns are for boys! Do some embroidery, be a good girl.” Of course I joined the club, and I competed in target shooting for years (I was pretty good at it too).
“You cannot move to America! You will be alone in that huge country without knowing a word of English!” Of course I followed my dream, and I’ve been happily living in the US for twenty years.
“You definitely cannot go back to school. It cost too much and you’re a successful nurse, you have a wonderful job. Be happy with who you are.” As you might have guessed, I did go back to school and got my PhD in Alternative Medicine.
“Are you kidding? You cannot write a novel! You have an accent and English is your second language.” Of course I published my Ilona the Hun novels.
I’m not a daredevil by any means. I have reasonable dreams; I just don’t like it when people try to box me in and try to assign me a role in life. I often wonder where I would be today, and most of all, who I would be without my strong will to follow my dreams…
                                                      Bio provided by Author
It was our pleasure to get a chance to interview Erika and learn more about her and how she came to be an author. Erika is a strong and determined person who when someone tells her she can’t. She does it anyway. So please sit back, get comfortable and give a warm welcome to Erika!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I can talk about my only novel so far, although I have some ideas for my next one. The inspiration came from ancient Hungarian history. In my fantasy world, I blended the past and present into a fantasy tale with intriguing tribal secrets, magical heritage and the exciting and dangerous life in a secret society.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I like to think that I’m an organized person; however, it happens sometimes that I make minor mistakes. I’m just a human after all. When I wrote Ilona’s story, I only had a sketchy outline in my head. I played with some ideas in my spare time at first, but soon the events and characters came alive and kind of developed on their own as the story progressed. Elza surprised me the most; originally I planned her character as an older, wise, steady and reliable aunt. I guess she didn’t like her assigned role; she became a little younger and more alive. Zoltan will change the most in book three, which I wasn’t really planning. It still amazes me, how much one accidental sentence can change the whole character, his values and personality…
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I don’t have a schedule, sometimes I write an hour, but there are times when I can sit by the computer and write for ten hours straight. I only write when I really feel up to it, otherwise I think it would quickly turn into a job.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I have many favorites, I cannot choose. I love to read about our past, but not only the dry facts and events. I love to read from authors who can make the past more real and bring our ancestors alive and closer to us in their stories.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
Writing comes easy for me, but learning about the cut throat publishing business was hard, especially the jungle of book promoting. Now, that is hard, if you don’t have the financial freedom to hire someone who can do it for you.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
Right now I don’t read anything new, I’m reading the “Three musketeers” from Dumas – probably the fiftieth times. I can relax with a good and familiar book more efficiently when my mind is in overdrive.
7. How did you get started in writing both the herbal books and the romance books? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
My grandma inspired me to write herbal books, she pointed out to me a long time ago how dangerous herbs could be if they’re not used correctly. In my books I list side effects, contraindications and interactions with prescription and OTC medications. In Ilona’s story, there are some personal experiences. I am ambidextrous and I can’t cook just like Ilona. Elza’s character resembles my favorite sister-in-law, and I worked little stories into the book about my cat Miss Mirci Catchmousky as well as my gentle giant dog, Gypsy. I wrote about some personal experiences as well, from my years working as an ER nurse.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
I have tried traditional publishers and many other sites as a self-publisher, but so far, Amazon gave me the most flexibility and opportunity to grow.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I’m writing Ilona the Hun’s third book Destiny, as well as healing herbs for diabetes.
11. Who would be your first choice to play Ilona from your book “Birthright, Part 1”?
I can imagine, Natalie Portman playing Ilona. I think she could portray her quiet charm, vulnerability, loneliness, self-doubts and great inner strength well.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Well, I would love to meet certain people from the past, and I would try to talk some sense into them before they made terrible decisions… My question would be, “Do you know what you’re doing?”