Recently, I had the chance to conduct an author interview with Tereza Mackova.
Wolfe: Hello, Tereza, and welcome to my blog!
Tereza: Hi, thank you for inviting me!
Wolfe: Let’s start by learning a little about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Tereza: I’m 33 years old, a mother of two, a coffee lover, not a morning person, and a Japanese freak. I love traveling, meeting new people, and long night talks over a glass of wine.
Wolfe: When did you start writing?
Tereza: It was about three or four years ago. I left my job for maternity leave with my older son. Suddenly, I had more time to think and began to consider whether what I had been doing so far was really my “dream job”. I concluded that it wasn’t. I’ve always enjoyed inventing stories, just in my head. And suddenly I thought, what if I tried to write it down? So, I tried. And it went pretty well.
Wolfe: It went very well. Where do you most like to write?
Tereza: In a café. I order my coffee, put on my headphones, and focus on nothing else than writing.
Wolfe: You mentioned to me that English is not your first language. Why did you choose to publish your first book in English?
Tereza: There were many reasons. I have a lot of friends from different countries. Every time when I mentioned that I wrote a book, they immediately asked, “Really? Can I read it? Is it in English?” Also, I haven’t found a publisher for my book in the Czech Republic so far (I believe finding a publisher is difficult for new authors in every country). So, I decided to take this hard but exciting and adventurous way of self-publishing. Self-publishing isn’t that common in my country. People are not used to buying e-books, especially not from independent authors, and the market is very, very small. I knew a few people in the U.S. who published their novels through Amazon. Therefore, I’ve decided to give it a try as well.
Read the review of Tereza Mackova’s book by clicking below.
Wolfe: Now let’s talk about your great book, Tokyo Story. What was the inspiration behind the story?
Tereza: As I mentioned before, I love everything connected to Japan. My obsession started about five years ago when I visited this beautiful country for the first time. When I came home, I enrolled in a Japanese language course and watched a lot of Japanese movies to hear the language as much as possible. When I started writing, I knew immediately I wanted to set my first book in Japan. Then, piece by piece, I put the whole story together until I got it where it is now.
Wolfe: Tell us a little more about the main character, Alice. Is she modeled after anyone in your real life?
Tereza: Not particularly. Well, I think you could find some autobiographical elements in her. She loves coffee and everything from Japan, and she lost her mother in her young age. But otherwise, she is a unique, distinct person.
When I started thinking about the heroine for my book, I knew she had to be Czech. Also, for a young girl to go to an unknown city by herself, she must have had a good reason and a strong determination and a little carelessness in her nature. And so, Alice came to the world.
Wolfe: What about the suave Hikaru? Where did he come from?
Tereza: Hikaru is somebody I’d love to meet when lost in a foreign country. I would certainly want to be his friend. Life is more fun with this kind of bright and cheerful person. Even though he has his own flaws, he’s a little bit of player for instance, he has a pure heart, and he would sacrifice his own happiness for Alice.
In Asian movies, it’s quite common that the cold and rude main hero wins the girl over, someone who is much kinder and more considerate. I wanted to set this straight in my story. That’s how I came up with both, Hikaru and Katsu.
Wolfe: The cover for Tokyo Story is very eye-catching. Who designed it?
Tereza: I was very lucky to meet a wonderful designer through the website called 99designs. The nickname he uses is Kid Mindfreak. An excellent choice to work with. He’s professional, polite and very responsive. I think we got along really well from the very beginning, even though I initially had quite a vague idea of what I wanted on my cover.
Wolfe: What do you like most about writing?
Tereza: I love working with my imagination which drives me into completely different worlds. It’s up to me where to go and what it will be like. When starting a new story, it’s like an empty, wide field in front of me. One after another, I can pull out the elements of the story, characters, plots and places, until I create a unique piece of work. Sometimes I get so lost in my own world that I have a problem coming back to cook dinner for my kids.
Wolfe: I think we’ve all been there. What advice would you give to writers that are just starting out?
Tereza: I’m the one who’s just starting out, ain’t I?
Wolfe: (Laughing) Yes, you are.
Tereza: But if somebody asked me, I would say: It will be hard work, probably the hardest work you’ve ever done. But if you are serious and believe it’s your way, don’t let anything discourage you.
Wolfe: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
Tereza: I’ve received so much excellent advice along the way. It’s really difficult to pick just one, but the most significant one, I would say, is working with five milestones. It’s a concept I learned from my writing coach, Ramy, from Self-Publishing School. Thanks to this, I’ve learned how to quickly and effectively build a storyline. When I originally started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. It took me three years to put the story together and finish the book, but now, I’m pretty confident I can do it in just a few months.
Wolfe: What project are you working on next? Will there be a sequel to Tokyo Story?
Tereza: Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. I have so many stories in my head that I don’t know where to start. A sequel to Tokyo Story is one option, but not the only one. Now, after finally publishing my first book, I have to sit down, close my eyes, and give it some serious thought.
Wolfe: You’ll have to keep us posted. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing or editing?
Tereza: Most of the time, I take care of my kids. They are still small and watching them grow up is the most amazing thing in the whole world. When I’m not with them, I try to master the Japanese language, which seems to be an impossible task. And well, I admit, I also watch Netflix quite a lot.
Wolfe: I think a lot of us are secret binge watchers. If you could go on a six-month writer’s retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Tereza: If I could spend six months only writing? It sounds like an absolute dream! I would definitely go somewhere alone. Just me, my laptop, beautiful nature, a study with a lake view, peace and quiet… I would probably travel to some Asian countries where I can meet some locals and chat with them to find new story inspiration.
Wolfe: Now let’s do some fun, rapid-fire questions. What’s the last movie you watched?
Tereza: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’m always behind with movies and watch them many months after their release.
Wolfe: What’s your favorite music to write to?
Tereza: Anything that doesn’t disturb me from my thoughts. I have a ritual, though. I always listen to Miyavi, my favorite Japanese singer and guitarist, before I start writing.
Wolfe: What are three things you can’t live without?
Tereza: Coffee, coffee, coffee
Wolfe: What’s the last book you read and/or what are you reading now?
Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello.
Wolfe: It’s been great talking to you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.
Tereza: Thank you!
Keep up with Tereza by following her office website: mackovatereza.com
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