Interview with Erika M. Szabo!

Today I welcome fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, Erika M. Szabo! If you visited my blog last week, you know that the first book of her series, Ilona the Hun, Book one, BIRTHRIGHT BESTOWED, was published last week!  Now that you’ve got to hear about the book, it’s time to learn about the author!

What inspired you to write?
I’ve been educating my patients as a nurse all my life, and when I received my PhD I did Alternative Medicine consultation for a while. I realized that it was not enough. I could share my knowledge to only one person at a time, and I don’t really like to talk too much. I decided to write educational books and share my knowledge with many. My daughter gave me the nudge to write fantasy novels. She said when I complained that I didn’t have anything to red: ‘If you haven’t any book to read, than write one!’
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I absolutely don’t have any schedule. Some days I write for half an hour and some days ten hours straight.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Well, I’m an organized person and my house is pretty neat. However, I can’t stand neatness on my desk where I work – sometimes on three computers simultaneously.  I need chaos and mess on and around my desk – books stacked  and sticky notes hanging everywhere, bowls of nuts and fruit to munch on- , and I forbid everyone to touch my stuff.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
I am a plotter when I write medical books, I plan what I want to say and put it in clear and logical order. When I write a fantasy story I am definitely a pantser. I enjoy tremendously playing with the characters, let them develop as the story progresses and go back to change a romantic and lovable character into a villain if a new idea pops into mind as I write. When I started writing Ilona’s story, I only had a sketchy outline in my head. I played with some ideas in my spare time at first, but soon the events and characters came alive and kind of developed on their own as the story progressed. Elza surprised me the most; originally I planned her character to be an older, wise, steady and reliable aunt. I guess she didn’t like her assigned role; she became a little younger and more alive. Zoltan will change the most in book three, which I wasn’t really planning. It still amazes me, how much one accidental sentence can change the whole character, his values and personality        
Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?
I include some historical events in my novels. However, the real events are incorporated into a fantasy story. I can’t really say my characters are based on real people although some of my characters slightly resemble people I know, either in appearance or bits and pieces of their personality. In Ilona’s story, there are some personal experiences. I am ambidextrous and I can’t cook just like Ilona. Elza’s character resembles my favorite sister-in-law, and I worked little stories into the book about my cat Miss Mirci Catchmousky as well as my gentle giant dog, Gypsy. I wrote about some personal experiences as well, from my years working as an ER nurse.
Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Write about what you would like to read as a reader. Keep your own unique voice, don’t follow the popular – churned out by the thousands – book formulas.
Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?
My Hungarian medical books are published by traditional publishers and my English books are self-published. My Ilona the Hun trilogy is in the publishing process by 5 Prince Publishing.
What are your current projects?
I’m working with my editor on publishing my magical-realism/fantasy/alternative history novel’s first two books Birthright-Bestowed and Secrets-Revealed, and writing the third one Destiny-Altered. Also, getting my Healing Herbs series ebooks compiled into a paperbook. 

Book blurb:

Birthright – Bestowed, Ilona the Hun novels book one

Ilona is a descendant of the True Hun tribe, which means nothing to her until her twenty-ninth birthday. The True Hun society is secretive and complex, with strict and fiercely enforced rules revealed only to those who have come of age. Ilona is a rebel who is determined to control and guide her own life. Resourceful and daring, she crosses the line and breaks those rules. She must face the consequences, even while discovering she has growing magical powers – powers she could never have dreamed of – powers tied to ancient tribal secrets.
The comfortable and uneventful part of her life ends as she enters adulthood – by Hun standards – and her journey of self-discovery begins. Ilona finds out that her birthright is to become a Healer. This legacy is in her hands, and in her heart and soul. Ilona’s destiny as a Healer runs alongside her desires as a woman. She is secretly and hopelessly in love with her best friend, and her hope is that one day he will present her with his Red Tulip – the symbol of devoted love. He seems oblivious to her feelings.
As Ilona grapples with this confusion, a dashing stranger explodes into her life. Will he break her heart, or bring her true happiness? And will she be able to balance her life’s calling with this complicated love triangle? The barrier created by her insecurity kept others out, but also kept her caged in. She has to break the barriers to discover her true identity. Her unusual heritage forces her to open her mind and heart to the unimaginable. She has to learn how to save her own life, the future of the Huns and her own sanity. Destiny forces her to take a leap from idle to warp speed overnight. She has no choice, she has to accept the ride and find out everything by herself. She has to learn how to fit the puzzle pieces together.
It is the hard journey of a naïve girl growing into a confident woman, unveiling the well-guarded secrets of the Huns. Ilona is a very modern heroine who grapples with the same questions many of us face today. What if we could wipe out disease? What if we could find a true soul-mate no matter the obstacles? And, most profound of all:  if we knew we could use our innate abilities to do absolute good or absolute evil, which path would we choose?
As her life settles into a slower pace, she begins writing a journal. She wants to take a look at her life from an outside perspective, hoping it will help her understand what happened to her and why. Others playing a major role in her life join her by writing about their own experiences. This journal depicts their struggles, heartaches and happiness, and it takes you to the mysterious world of the Huns.


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