“Your book read like a movie in my mind”
by Erika M Szabo
My name is Erika M Szabo. I’ve been writing Alternative Medicine related books in English and Hungarian. I love healing as passionately as I love to write and read. Growing up with a father who was a closet reader (having a macho image allowed him to read only in secret which he shared with me after I caught him reading my book ‘The lady of the camellias’ and he left a few teardrops on the pages) he introduced me to many great books.
I was playing with the idea of writing a fantasy story peppered with historical facts for a while. The history of the Huns always fascinated me – they were my ancestors – although I decided that it was a stupid idea after I started reading about how to write a fiction book – I am not a literary genius, I have no idea how to create a good story line or form characters and make up a plot – I thought, but the idea didn’t leave me alone. I kept adding events and dialogs in my head to Ilona’s story.
Not knowing how to do something properly had never prevented me from a accepting a good challenge before, so I sat down by the computer and began writing. I’ve never been good at following rules or formulas, therefore I discarded the instructions and I made up my own rules. I began writing Ilona’s story as a diary. ‘Just for my own enjoyment, writing down the ideas that are swirling in my head is far better than being hunted by them.’ I thought. I kept writing for months, and soon I realized that I never had so much fun doing anything in my life before. Somehow the characters came to life on their own, and they developed under my furiously typing fingers. Pretty soon I realized that I wrote about four hundred pages already.
I gave the manuscript to my friends to read, and they urged me to publish it. I was elated when I received the publisher’s review about my story that said “I want to give you my overall impression of your work: You have a terrific writing style. You have obviously done a significant amount planning and preparation in crafting your work. Your prose is nicely written with details that capture the reader. Right from the start your plot was very engaging. You do a nice job of slowly making your way through the story with details and a certain voice that allows your reader to really interact with the characters (who are all round and very nicely developed). The greatest value in fiction, it seems to me, lies in what we can learn about our own lives when we take time to analyze someone else’s — even if that someone else is just a character in a story. Characterization is one of the most important elements of any successful story. I always love it when I leave a story feeling like I know the characters. This is true for your prose. So many authors rush through their stories without really developing them. Not you. Your book read like a movie in my mind. You have crafted a quality piece of writing.”
Erika M Szabo about her writing
What inspired you to write?
To write historical-fantasy-romance novels, the inspiration came from my daughter. I was complaining about not having anything to read, and she said annoyed, “Stop whining already! If you don’t have a book to read, then write one!” The idea of writing shocked me at first. Then, I was in her studio admiring her beautiful paintings, and a story began forming in my mind. What if I could write a story about my ancestors, the Huns? Not a historical book, but a fantasy story about a modern heroine who inherits special powers. The Hun history is full of holes, there are not many written and proven facts known about them. What if I could fill those holes with secrets, mysterious events and to spice up the story, a little romance? I played with the idea for a while, and one day I started writing. The story formed under my furiously typing fingers, and I soon found out how much I enjoyed writing.
To write Alternative Health and Healing books, the inspiration came from my family. The ancient art of healing with herbs and food was passed down in my family for generations, which prompted me to further my education and receive a PhD in Alternative Medicine. I wrote a few books that are available for sale only on my website.
Do you have anyone you show manuscripts to and get advice from or are you a loner doing it all yourself?
I am a lone wolf or so to speak. I’m at my best working alone, although tried to show my books to family and friends before I published them, I ended up ignoring their advice every time.
What genre do you normally write in? Also, is there a genre you’ve always wanted to write in, but don’t feel you could pull it off?
I like to write fantasy. I love to play with the characters, magical powers and I like to add historical facts to the story. I would like to write a book about vampires, I’m just waiting for an inspiration. There are so many books written lately about “fuzzy and lovable” vampires, I want to write something different with more sinister, yet likable characters.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Yes, and they have a hunch about it, but I deny everything blaming the similarities on coincident.
What advice would you give to someone who was just starting off in writing?
Follow your dreams and don’t let yourself be discouraged by anyone.
Do your stories tend to have morals, or special messages, included within them?
My message is that we can change our views and beliefs and we can make decisions in the present to create our own future.
Let one of the characters in your book introduce themselves
My name is Ema, and I am one of the main characters in the Ilona the Hun novels. I had dark times in my past which I had a hard time dealing with, but once I find out my destiny with Ilona’s help, I accepted my role as being the mother of… no, I’m not going to tell you that. I am a passionate painter; people tell me my paintings trigger music inside of them. When I paint, I hear the music, see the colors and when everything comes to harmony, I know I’m done. I want to go to art school, but my Hun heritage prevents me from leaving my hometown, however, later I’m forced to live in the past. I find my place, love and role in life there in the 400s. Exciting, isn’t it? Now, can I go back to the book? I have a long and happy life to live in book three, and I have to fulfill my destiny.
Tell us why we would enjoy reading your books?
My novels are filled with interesting known and less known historical facts, the agony of an unusual love triangle, fighting faceless dark enemies, discovering and accepting magical powers as well as living in the story through the characters’ point of view.
Erika was introduced to the art of healing with food and herbs, by her mother and grandmother, at a very early age. She advanced her knowledge of natural remedies; she received her PhD in Alternative Medicine. She's been working in the medical field, all her life. She loves to share her knowledge, she published a few books regarding healing herbs for various ailments. She is passionate about healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as using Nature's pharmacy to keep the body healthy. Erika loves the art of healing, however, it doesn't satisfy her thirst for storytelling. She writes historical fantasy novels. http://www.authorerikamszabo.com