Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
Bela Gary: Too many ideas. I always have a lot I want to write about, and I need to try to gather together those ideas that go well together. That can be hard. I want to use them all, but I know they don’t all fit together sometimes. I just have to save some for later.
Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?
Bela Gary: Yes, they do support me and I’m thankful for that.
Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Bela Gary: Interesting question. I’m a firm believer that all things happen for a reason, to form the person we are right now. Changing things could change who we have become and maybe even change how we write. I have always written freely, journaling and writing short stories, so I don’t think I would change anything.
Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
Bela Gary: Well, it took me 40 years to write my recent book! My recent book is a mixture of past writings and new writings. I put it together in about 8 months, but I took my time until the Pandemic started. Then I wrote furiously and finished in a month. My current book, I hope to be finished in February, so that would be 6-month turnaround. Wishful thinking, but we will see.
Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?
Bela Gary: Yes, but only to a certain extent. I think when some people feel blocked, they are actually cut off from their intuitive creativity. I write from my intuition, since I have learned to connect through mediation and what I call reflective journaling. I take many of these thoughts and write them into my books. I actually run workshops to help writers connect to their intuitive side and write from their hearts. There is so much inside us that we don’t realize and getting it out is the beginning of creating a story.
Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?
Bela Gary: Anyone can write. You can call yourself a writer once you put pen to paper (or fingers to computer). Even if you never publish or share your work, you are a writer, because you are creating and putting words together that have meaning to YOU.
Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?
Bela Gary: None. You are a writer and an author of your creations. You don’t need to be published.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?
Bela Gary: Writing, as an art is subjective. Enjoyment of the art is also subjective. So, if someone does not like my book or writes a negative review, to me it’s just that. They did not like my book. I accept it and look at the favorable reviews – those are the people who resonated with my book. If it doesn’t resonate, that’s quite alright.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
Bela Gary: Editing! I find that sometimes things must be cut and that is painful. I hate to cut things out, even though I know it will be for the best in the end. I usually delete and then put them in a file called my “reuse” file. So that I can reuse them again in another piece of writing.
Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?
Bela Gary: Since I was about 12. I kept diaries and wrote many short stories over the years. So over 40 years.
Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?
Bela Gary: A. Write from your heart. Get in touch with your intuition, write things that are meaningful to you.
B. Write for yourself. Don’t write to make money or become a bestselling author. Write what you love. It’s hard to make money writing, whether you self-publish or are lucky to get a publishing contract. So, make the best of it, and write for yourself.
C. There are no rules. Following rules hinders creativity. You can always have a good editor look at your work after you put it together.
D. Don’t listen to the critics and naysayers. Have faith in yourself and your creativity. Ignore bad reviews. Art is subjective.
ROMELIA: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
Bela Gary: Good writing has a meaningful impact on those who read it. Whatever genre you write in, people need to resonate with the story. Give it feeling, make it human. The emotions that people feel as they are reading, those are the things to think about, if you want to have an impact. It’s about having a flow, a flow of words, painting a picture so the reader can see it clearly.
Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?
Bela Gary: The characters definitely. But at first, they are fuzzy. I usually give them life as I write. I don’t have a plot. I just start writing intuitively and things come together.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?
Bela Gary: I use my intuitive writing techniques: meditation, reflective journaling, creating emotional challenges for my characters. They develop from there. I do have a general plot, but I don’t know how it will end sometimes. My recent book, for example, I had no idea how it was going to end. I was writing the story as it happened. Eventually I came up with 3 different endings and then chose the most powerful one.
Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?
Bela Gary: Not until a couple of years ago, however, now I know I was always a writer.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?
Bela Gary: Probably the same as many other writers. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linked-In. I share, I follow, and just try to stay involved. It’s actually a little time consuming and I’m not even sure if it’s working, but I’m really enjoying meeting other writers and readers in the writing community.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?
Bela Gary: My favorite part: just getting my book out there for others to read. That was a powerful moment in my life. Least favorite: the standards that books are judged by. Who is to say what makes a great piece of writing? Just because a book is a bestseller does not make it great. I’ve read some bestsellers that were very disappointing. There are so many self-published and indie books that are amazing and have really resonated with me. Like I said before, art is subjective and those are my subjective opinions.
Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?
Bela Gary: If you have graphic design skills and know exactly what you want, then go for it. I hired someone to do my cover because I wanted it to look professional and I have zero graphic design skills. I did tell the designer pretty much what I wanted and the emotions I wanted to convey. He did an amazing job and I love my cover. It’s the first thing people see, so you definitely want to put time and/or money getting it right.
Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Bela Gary: I have written and published one book, my recent one, The Midlife Crisis of a Perfect Woman. I’m working on another book, yet untitled, which I hope to finish and have edited early next year.
My favorite book will always be my first book. It was a cathartic and healing experience for me. It’s partially based on a difficult experience I went through, so writing it and sharing it freed me in many ways from the burden of my pain. The book is part of me.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?
Bela Gary: Believe it or not, the fictional parts of my book were a little more difficult than the real-life stories. It took more effort to put them together, whereas the truth was much easier to write about.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?
Bela Gary: I loved writing about the past lives of my characters. I reinterpreted the lives and relationships of many historical lovers and that was fun. To create a different reality, perhaps creating a different perspective for readers.
Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?
Bela Gary: The main character, of course. We are one and the same. My two main characters don’t have names. They go by “she” and “he” because they could be anyone and everyone.
Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?
Bela Gary: I do have a sequel but will only say this:
Strange things begin to happen, as a woman sees a murky reflection of a man in a mirror.
He looks familiar and she knows he sees her too.
The story involves time travel and parallel universes and Destiny vs. Free Will.
And that’s all I want to say!
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Bela Gary: I feel like I’m writing a dating profile with this question, ha ha.
I’m curious about the Universe, life, philosophy. The meaning of life, the mystical. I love traveling and really miss it. I’m always ready for an adventure too. And I love great food!
What I hate about the world – nothing.
The word hate bothers me because there is too much of it in the world.
What bothers me about the world, is the hate, inequality and injustice. The poverty, the suffering. I’m an idealist and hope that one day there will be less hate in the world.