To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his momma): “twisted is as twisted does”- so grab your free copy of Twisted Tales, a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s an eclectic collection of stories by authors from around the globe.
In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Anita Kovacevic. Anita is an author and a teacher of English. She writes various genres, and has self-published and illustrated an urban-legend novella (The Threshold) and three children’s books (Winky’s Colours, The Good Pirate and Mimi Finds Her Magic). Anita’s stories, poems and illustrations appear in the anti-bullying e-book Inner Giant. Her story ‘Passage’ is published in Awethology Light, and her poem ‘Christmas Surprise ‘ opens the December Aewthology Light. She lives with her husband and children in Croatia and doesn’t know the meaning of ‘free time.
Your story ‘Active vs. Passive’ appears in the Readers Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology Twisted Tales. What made you decide that story?
It is a weird thing when people invite you to write a short story, any topic you want and no word limit at all. I was honoured, then nervous, then I started overthinking. Overthinking never does my writing any good; it may help my editing, but only up to a point.
Eventually, I remembered that I already had some stories written, lurking in my files in their rough form, waiting to be spruced up. I chose Active vs. Passive because it is dear to my heart for several reasons. First off, it deals with unnecessary violence and simple kidness, which I both consider relentless, and am always shocked by the first and grateful for the second. Secondly, as a parent and teacher, I consider the story relevant, having witnessed myself how many things go by unnoticed, till it’s too late, for simply not talking about them or listening properly and hearing what the other person has to say.
The story was initially written for my blog challenge, which I organized with some fellow authors at the brink of my writing career adventures, and the mood of the story follows the Inner Giant, an international anti-bullying charity ebook project I participated in with various amazing, selfless educators and artists from around the world. I just had a feeling Active vs. Passive had earned its place in this collection. People ignore the signs of bullying and abuse, sometimes truly not knowing, sometimes burdened by their own issues, sometimes blinded by survival despair. We cannot afford not knowing, especially when it concerns our children.
Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?
Well, I wrote plenty of short stories before, so I never gave it a second thought.
Actually, I never really set out to write a certain format at all. When a scene or character start haunting me, and won’t go away till written out of me, then I write them. It makes no difference to me if it’s a children’s story, a poem, a limerick, a short story or a novel. Some may say writing multiple genres and format means dabbling and still searching for my own author’s voice. In a way, that is true, because I haven’t officially been a (self-)published author for that long, but I have never thought an author had to write one type of texts all the time. But I do believe that different stories have different voices and perspectives, and I try to write them down as I hear them.
Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?
Oh so many people, events and things. First of all, I believe all the books I’ve ever read, and still am, all the stories I’ve ever heard or seen, people I’ve met… everything influences us.
When I was a school kid, I actually wrote a lot, mostly in Croatian, although I dabbled in English as well. As a teenager, I threw away every notebook with poems and stories I’d ever written. My parents rescued them, in secret, but when I found out, I got rid of the notebooks again. My parents were my first fans, he he he, and I treated them like a proper diva.
I am sorry now, of course. It would be fun to see what I wrote about at the age of 10, even 13. And it is funny to think I’d forgotten my writing for a long time, during my university years. It all came back to me later on, as I started teaching and writing stories for my lessons. Once I had my first child, my urge to write again, just write, not for work, but to write the stories out of my head, became simply natural and a necessity. It only became stronger with my second child. Having children who are no fans of sleeping may have contributed – insomnia had me reading a lot and spurred The Threshold.
I have to say I was lucky, and still am, to have the support of my family, friends and colleagues. It was actually my teaching colleagues, both from the school where I teach English, and from an international teaching community (the wonderful people from esl.printables who participated in the Inner Giant), who pushed me into trying to publish. My husband, my best friend and my sister were the ones who gave me the final push when I was on the verge of giving up. They still do. And then things evolved.
Nowadays, in my life there is a group of likeminded authors I am happy to have met through some writer groups and am proud to call my friends. These people have raised the bar for me, challenged and taught me a lot, and are always there to give me an earbashing or pep-talk. You know who you are. Thank you all.
What’s your next project?
After having participated in the #Awethors’ anthologies and the RCAP Twisted Tales, I am looking forward to any future projects they dare to invite me for. They are all amazing, inspiring people with astounding amounts of energy and ideas, and a wonderful support network.
As for my own work, I am currently writing a light chicklit novel about a garrulous young lady looking for love in her daydreams. (Again, one of those who wouldn’t be quiet.) I am hoping to finish that by midsummer.
There are several children’s stories, a preteen fantasy novel, and a full-length adult novel I have written out, still cooling till I am ready to edit them. There is also an editing challenge an author friend has set for me, inviting me to work on her novel, which is almost finished. Blogging author interviews and book reviews has become a routine I enjoy, my own book promotional activities have become a constant struggle, but are vital.
My writing is (only) a passion. I teach full-time, which takes up a lot of my time and energy, so I write far less than I would like to. Still, there is a time and place for everything, and I am still learning.
Please share a little more of your write background.
My first story and poems were published years ago in an ESL charity book Teaching Children from the Heart. Sadly, the book is no longer available, as the publishing company went under amidst all the financial turmoil in the world. Inner Giant is an amazing anti-bullying e-book I collaborated on with artists and teachers from all over the world, as proofreader, contributor and even illustrator.
I have three children’s e-books available on major purchase sites, all fruit of my teaching experience, and two of the stories have been nominated for Best Indie Summer Award in the category of children’s books. Winky’s Colours, The Good Pirate and Mimi Finds Her Magic all have a positive educational message, with additional activities to help the children enjoy, and the adults read and engage children.
The Threshold, my adult novella, is available as e-book only, although I am working on a paperbook as well. It’s a moral parable with slight elements of horror and paranormal. It was actually the first book I wrote considering it writing, not teaching.
My story Passage is featured in the Awethology Light, and my poem The Christmas Surprise opens December Awethology Light. Active vs. Passive is featured in this amazing new collection of the Twisted Tales. Having collaborated on so many books with authors from around the world has been a huge honour and challenge.
Where can readers reach you?
As time-consuming and tasking as it can be, I try to be active on various social sites and groups, although I may not reply instantly. My links are listed below, so feel free to drop by and say hi. You may even stumble upon an interview with the authors from Twisted Tales, Joseph Mark Brewer included. Have fun reading and don’t forget to review books – your opinion counts.
FB BLOG – Anita’s Haven https://www.facebook.com/anitashaven
LULU SPOTLIGHT http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Anita_K
Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!
Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Kurt Wallander and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s Son and The Thief’s Mistake – and sign up for my monthly newsletter at josephmarkbrewer.com