Soon, I will be venturing back to Europe to meet family which I have never met before. Budapest is an amazing city which I am really looking forward to returning to- slightly off the beaten path, with amazing architecture and a rich, but dark history, I think it has all the makings an author would ever need to become inspired. Once there, I will be visiting a small town called Zalaegerszeg where my family is from, and where they were all nearly killed during the 1956 Revolution. I’ve been thinking lately about writing a novel based around Hungary- from the talks I’ve had with people and the research I’ve done, it seems the Eastern European country is largely an unknown quantity.
When Budapest or Hungary is mentioned to somebody, they don’t know what to think- no pictures immediately form in their mind. The same cannot be said for France, Greece, Italy or America, which are all incredible countries with diverse icons and well-publicised events. If I said to you that my next novel is based in Rome, those who love Italy would likely take an interest, and those fascinated with the idea may want to read my book. But what I’d love to do is to innovate, invigorate and to a certain extent, take a risk (or as author’s like to put it- show the audience something they have never seen before). I want to offer my book and tell you it is based in Budapest, and have you curious as to what it could all mean. I love and relish the fact that you have absolutely no idea of what to expect, and know next to nothing about the dark horse city. I love that I can teach you something real, something brutally honest and reflective of the world around us today- and put it in novel form to spark your desires.
If an author develops worlds which readers can enter and explore, then I want to offer you ones that you can visit in real life. What I write is what I see, what I feel and what I have experienced- if I can package this into an interesting, innovative and original novel, so that at its conclusion it is impossible for you to compare to other reads, then essentially I remain on my own. No one knows what the future holds, but if you read a book about a place you have never heard about, then hopefully you will be encouraged to visit and make the book a real life experience, and a personal joy that you can keep close to your heart forever.
Authors have styles, and authors also have voices. Being an author and placing your words out into the world is one of the most selfless and giving things someone can do- because it is so personal, it has to come from me- I would never imitate someone or try to re-write the Bourne Identity. Lots of people have enjoyed Vagabond, and it means a lot to me because I didn’t create a formula for approval, validation or positive feedback; it means a lot to me because Vagabond- its style, words and voice, is me. I don’t think I’m striving to be the next “insert famous author here,” I’m striving to give readers a deeper look into themselves, and the world around them.
Authors should innovate, not imitate, and give those who love to read a reason to speak your name in passing conversation, to read your books, interact on social media (you can Like me to the right) and ultimately, feel good about discovering a new voice. Being a writer is about giving something special, unique and original to the world, and no one should forget that!
Vagabond is my debut novel, released as an eBook on both iTunes and Amazon in 32 countries. It became a #1 Bestseller on iTunes Australia and still remains in the ‘What’s Hot’ features list. If you’re interested in reading a sample, please click here
Check me out on Facebook to the right and join the discussion!
‘Vagabond’ has been entered into the IPPY Awards and I’m eagerly awaiting the outcome. I just received a notice stating that the judging panel will commence shortly, and to be honest I’m a tad nervous about it! I’ve never been in a competition before (this is my first one, for anything) and I don’t know what to expect or what will happen; every day I learn something new from an independent stand point and in general, I try my best to take it all in. I have had a lot of kind people say very nice things about my book, which makes me really happy! Lots of people tell me they’ve read it, and then re-thought everything about their life, what they are doing for a living or what they’d like to achieve. I’m also asked a lot if there will be a part two, people seem really eager for that to happen. I’m just organising a few things for my second novel, but have been taking it slow as I don’t want to pry away any much needed time for ‘Vagabond.’ There’s just always so much work to do, and so many hats to wear. The ironic thing about my entry into the IPPY Awards, is that I couldn’t sleep one night and tried to find a number of things to do. I don’t watch much TV, aside from documentaries and a few foreign films on SBS, and decided to enter! So hopefully that slight case of insomnia is a catalyst for something positive! Either way though, there will be a lot of great authors who I will have the chance to discover, so it’s a win-win!
The awards ceremony will be held in NYC, which is an amazing and fascinating city of epic proportions. Apparently a few agents and publishers are also there, so it’s a great night for independent authors as they celebrate. This website has seen a sharp peak in US visitors lately, and on the flip side, a new country- Finland :) I get excited seeing new countries pop up, my facebook fan page is the same, however I have a majority of fans from Brazil, Argentina and the USA- probably about 70%! Hopefully I can one day pay the fans a visit, and do a book signing on a Brazilian beach ;)
In other news, I have a couple of newspapers in Budapest who’d like to sit me down for an interview in July, so I’m excited about that as well! I’ll be meeting my family, who I have never met before so it’s going to be a great moment for me, both as a writer and a person trying to understand more about the Karakai family. Hungary is such a beautiful and hospitable place, it is definitely a must-see destination for those interested in Eastern Europe! I may also have some other exciting news (really exciting) to share, so watch this space :)
I recently did an interview with Morgen Bailey which you can find by following this link here.
It’s probably my longest interview to date, and I found it fun to chat about ‘Vagabond’ and the publishing industry as a whole. In other exciting news, I’m going to try to complete my second novel before June and while I can’t promise anything, I’m most definitely going to try!
Random mention of the day: I just discovered two hubs of fans checking me out, from the Philippines and Tunisia. Lately, ‘Vagabond’ seems to be creeping in and throughout Africa which is quite revealing and unexpected. I hope they enjoy it over there, I’m trying to work out, since watching KONY 2012, if there is anything more we can do aside from donate. I’ve always been a hands-on person and while I’m not saying I can arm myself and trek through a jungle (although I’d give it a shot), it seems crazy that this stuff just continues to rage on endlessly. Africa seems either forgotten or ignored when it comes to the hostility, genocide, extreme poverty and HIV epidemic sweeping the continent. KONY 2012 was a film I was reluctant to watch at first, as I thought ‘How will Liking a Facebook status impact a war lord in Africa?’ but I do see the premise, and my initial reluctance has been quashed. KONY 2012, if nothing else, showed that some where out there, people care enough to devote their lives to the real issue. The people with the decision making powers don’t stand up until the threat is on their doorstep, but it’s the wrong approach.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of Joseph Kony’s out there. There is recent criticism about the delegation of raised funds by The Invisible Children, but I believe what they are doing is correct. The money that is raised is partially put back into advertising, ensuring that the problem doesn’t fade away in an era where yesterday’s news barely survives the week. At any rate, $20,000,000 USD will hardly make an impact in military investing. If that money were to go that fast, there would be no backup funds to keep the issue in the media.
I recently had a close friend of mine who had to return to the hardships of Zimbabwe after living for many years in, and thoroughly enjoying Melbourne. This guy is one of the most intelligent, creative, well-thought, caring, and optimistic peoples I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The disparity between the opportunities of Australia and Zimbabwe is painfully explicit. When the government turned down his visa, I couldn’t believe that they’d let such an intelligent and hardworking person slip through the grid, and into the troubles of Zimbabwe. I know you know it too. You see some people in your own country who don’t give a damn, who never bother looking for work and who do nothing more than cause trouble in their communities. Then you witness first hand, as a close friend, somebody with so much potential get deported. If only they could trade places with the people we see who really don’t care about contributing to their society in a positive way. It saddens me to see a bright light burn out, and a massive potential fade away. In a country such as Australia, where the economy was built by immigrants who gave so much, you’d hope the trend would continue so that other people, just like ourselves, our parents and our grandparents who were given that shot, could also have a chance. But I won’t dabble into politics, economics, foreign policy and the like.
There’s a struggle going on in Africa and KONY 2012 has put light on the issue we all knew was there, but somehow ignored. I was so reluctant at first about the agenda of the film, but in the media you will always find detractors and reactors. I support what they are trying to do, and that is to spread a message in order to gain power in numbers, so that other people, just like us, can have a fair shot at life.
Since the beginning of this website in early 2011, I’ve forever had a link to UNICEF, where you can find out more information about helping those in troubled regions. Just click the Golden Heart to the right of this post, to show you have a heart of gold! Maybe you will find something you can get involved in, or know of somebody who would like to contribute in some way.