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What initially got you interested in writing?
Oh, a tough one to start the interview with! In all honesty, it’s hard for me to pinpoint what exactly had driven me to start writing because I’ve been doing that since the moment I learned my alphabet! My mom still has a little booklet I made when I was about three, maybe four years old. The story is about an old woman that went to find water in the middle of the tundra. Plot twist: She didn’t find any. She died.
Laughs aside, I think writing is simply a fundamental part of me. I’ve never veered away from it, regardless of everything else that was going on in my life. However, the output did vary—from scripts and plays to prose, poetry, or, during college, academic essays.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
Initially, I published poetry in my native language (Slovene), so I already had some experience when I went indie. And I think that background gave me the courage to try going down this path.
The main motivation, however, was the fact that I enjoyed writing novels in English (tried it in Slovenian, but—in my very personal and very subjective opinion—our language is perfect to create poetry, not prose), coupled with the realisation that I didn’t want to continue down the academic route.
Although I enjoyed exploring literature on a theoretical level, creating worlds and stories was what made my days complete. Still does. So I decided to pursue it as a career.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Aside from the unique world every book offers its readers, I hope I can give them a glimpse into another culture.
My dream was (and still is) to merge the vast world of Slavic mythology with genres people know and love. That’s why all my titles are either linked to our legends, have characters based on our gods and other mythological creatures, or are retellings of traditional fairy tales.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Everything. I love the creative process from start to finish.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Saying goodbye to a world I created. Which is something I’m going through right now.
Writing every day is easy. But battling the overwhelming emotions as reach the conclusion to a series in order to stay focused on all the details that still need tweaking… It takes discipline.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
I’m a firm believer that you should write the books you’d like to read. But, if you want to pursue writing as a career, things can’t end there.
Research is your friend.
I can’t even begin to say how much I’ve learned since I became a published author, and I continue to broaden that knowledge with each passing day. Editors, covers, tropes readers like/dislike, launches, promotions, pricing, formatting, trends, fads, cultivating habits… There are so many aspects of being a published author that I won’t go into everything here.
It’s all online.
A professor of mine once said, in an outburst of anger, “I’m sick and tired of your Internets!”
Sure, he was talking about people who didn’t double check facts before snagging them off Wikipedia. But he was wrong to look down on something as amazing as the internet.
We can’t study creative writing in Slovenia. And our country is still stuck in a very rigid model of traditional publishing. Without the internet, I would never be where I am now.
And that’s my advice to you. Find writers’ groups on Facebook. Join forums. Read and learn.
I’ve made mistakes in the beginning—mistakes I could have easily avoided if I’d been more thorough in my research. Though they proved to be an excellent learning tool in the end, it would have been so much better to simply get things right from the start.
But, in my opinion, the one thing that matters the most when you decide to publish is the answer to a single question. Indie or traditional?
Both have their pros and cons on paper. I say “on paper” because for someone like me, someone who likes to write several novels per year, values having complete control over every aspect of my work, and actually enjoys marketing, there are no cons. As there most likely wouldn’t be in the traditional field for someone who writes a novel or two per year, likes the actual writing stage of the process but gladly hands off everything else to a team of experts. Or, you can try to capture the best of both worlds, and go hybrid.
So Google away, gain as much knowledge as you can, and create a path, tailored to your specific needs and desires.
What ways can readers connect with you?
Readers can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email. All the necessary info is up on my website: gajajkos.com
About the SPELLBOUND Interview Author, Gaja K. Kos:
Gaja J. Kos is an international bestselling author with a mission to breathe fragments of Slavic lore onto many, many pages of fiction.
Gaja resides in Celje, Slovenia, with her husband (as well as co-author) and two Chinese Crested dogs.
hall housing the Egyptian exhibitions, I immediately noted the change in the
atmosphere. The room was cool and dry, its climate controlled to mimic the conditions
in which the relics had existed in their native land.
had been designed to resemble an Old Kingdom temple. The main lights were
dimmed while strategically-placed spotlights emphasized massive columns and
magnificent wall carvings like sunbeams through temple windows.
room. No other tourists. Even better. I meandered, enjoying the rare
opportunity to linger.
I ran my gaze up each of the columns, reading the images, admiring the palm
leaves carved at the tops like great stone trees. Eyes toward the ceilings, I
turned slowly around, admiring the handiwork of the ancient artists.
to live in those lands and those times? Could an ancient version of my spirit
have been there, stepping barefoot and silently through a sandy temple like
contemplation, I was completely unprepared for the shock of smacking into
someone, bumping him hard enough to lose my balance. I’d have fallen had he not
caught my arm. Wide-eyed with consternation, I stammered an apology to the
handsome but serious-faced gentleman.
not hurt, I hope?” His voice, deep and smooth, sent shivers marching down
my neck, between my shoulders, down my spine.
okay.” I shook my head, too shy to make direct eye contact, wishing I’d
checked my hair and lipstick before coming in. “I’m far too adept at being
grin and I caught a glimpse of nice white teeth. “Temples are places for
spiritual reflection. It is forgivable if your vision was turned inward, rather
than toward where you were walking.”
softened by amusement, he tilted his head toward the pillars. “Majestic,
glance at him—black hair smoothed back into a discreet tail, clear light skin
framed by long sideburns, strong jaw culminating in a square, cleft chin. Like
the other items in the museum, something about him made me want to look closer,
inspect each detail.
warmed my cheeks and ears so I quickly turned back to the heights of the
exhibition. Murmuring a sound of agreement, I circled the column, stepping a
few feet away so I could see both him and the stone. “Do you visit this
allowed me to take in more of his appearance a tiny section at a time. Clothing
dark as his hair. Long blazer, something in between a suit coat and an
overcoat. In one hand he carried a bound book and fountain pen, as if he’d been
calm and steady and entirely on me. Taking a deep breath I permitted the
contact of the direct look. My boldness was well-rewarded. His Paul Newman lips
brought to mind the sculptured busts on display in the Greco-Roman Quarters and
he wore a stern expression that cast a veil of hardness upon his features,
enhancing the impression he’d been carved from marble.
eyes. The Roman busts bore eyes that were blank and white but this man’s eyes
were alive with bright green color. Like gemstones, they glittered and drew my
actually,” he said. “My first time here. Although, I admit, I’m drawn
to places like this.” His voice made music of the words—deep bass notes
and soothing rhythm.
I said. “A man after my own heart.” His left eyebrow arched so
sharply I thought it might disappear into his hairline and I hurriedly
continued. “Are you a professor?”
nothing like that. I do studying of my own, it’s not a living. It’s more of a
hobby. Personal research, of sorts.”
past times is one of my pastimes. It’s my preferred form of
Eyebrow cocked again, he cast a disapproving look at me and swept his hand
around the contrived temple. “Would the gods be pleased to know they are
reduced to the level of entertainment?”
so.” I kept my tone light. Considering the seriousness of his expression,
I didn’t want to accidentally insult him. “Otherwise, they’d have to be
content with staying dead, right?”
over me and I shivered again as if the touch had been tangible, a brush of
fingertips against my cheek.
leave you to your worship. I mean, your wanderings.” He gave me a
conspirator’s wink. “Unless…”
with a quiet clearing of throat as he tucked his notebook and pen into an
inside pocket. “You wouldn’t mind a companion? Sometimes one sees things
differently when seeing through another’s eyes. I would appreciate a new
over, listening to the rain spattering the windows and distant voices echoing
faintly from other rooms. Although I’d looked forward to a quiet afternoon, it
might be nice to spend it with someone who seemed to share my interests. He
certainly was attractive, and his pleasant voice intrigued me.
become used to living inside a shell. This man made me want to step outside for
that.” I smiled at his pleased expression. “I’m Sophie, by the
way.” I stuck out my hand in introduction.
shaking my hand, he bent his head over it and pressed polite lips to the backs
of my fingers. The quaint gesture would have seemed strange and out of place
had we been elsewhere. “I am Marek. Pleased to make your
from the unexpected kiss, I fought the urge to curtsy. “Well, Marek. Lead
me into the past.”
sent a thrill down the back of my neck. “That’s exactly the sort of thing
I’d hoped you say. Shall we?”
heel and swept out a hand with a slight bow, indicating the archway to another
exhibit. For the first time since I’d been coming to this museum, I wondered
what I’d see on the other side, and was surprised to realize I wasn’t afraid to