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About the Author:
Eva Fejos worked in one of the largest Hungarian women’s magazines, Nők Lapja (Women’s Journal), as a journalist from 2001 until 2012. She was the recipient of both the Award for Quality Journalism and the Award for Excellence.
She is tremendously fond of traveling. Her many experiences give a personal touch to her exciting, propelling, and exotic novels. Fejos’s first Hungarian best-seller book, Bangkok transit, reached the top of the best-seller list within one month of its publication.
Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she has gone on to write twelve other best-sellers, making her a publishing phenomena in Hungary. According to the many accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
Connect with Eva:
To view the entire Bangkok Transit Tour, click HERE
MF: Your first novel, Bangkok Transit, is rooted in your travels there. Are the characters based on people you met in Thailand?
EF: Not really. My characters were born in my mind, all of them are fictitious. But of course I met many Thai people, and they inspired me and the characters of my novel. I am a journalist, and consequently I am always asking questions – many questions, especially when I am very interested in the topic. I visited Thailand many times and wrote even a series of reportage from that country. I spent many hours on Soi Cowboy (Bangkok’s red light district) talking to a madame and her ‘girls.’ It was an overwhelming experience to see how those girls kept smiling; while attempting to rationalize the life they led, and admitting they were just tools and toys, who were used (and abused) by sex tourists. They explained me that they felt their lives being still easier, than the lives of their families living up north. I met a girl sold for prostitution by her parents, so the family could scrape by and make a living. The girl was not even fourteen years old. I really had many staggering encounters. I visited Thai orphanages and what I saw there was truly heart-wrenching. I think I saw many things that tourists don’t ever really come across in Thailand. And I saw much more than I could include in my book.
MF: On your website you say, “I only accompany my characters. They live their own lives from the moment they come alive as I write.” Do they ever lead you down paths you don’t really want to go?
EF: No, because I have already learnt that my characters live their own lives from the moment they are born in my imagination. I only can accompany them. I know that my imagination leads me while writing, and I believe in my heroes. At the beginning of Bangkok Transit, David was a negative character in my eyes. I tried to “punish” him somehow, but he didn’t allow – he had his own life, he had his own strengths and weaknesses, and he made his own decisions.
Sometimes, when I start writing, I think that the character X will be the hero of my book, but then somehow I lose interest in that person, or he ends up slipping into the background. The opposite, however, also occurs: when I start out, I decide to include some characters only for the sake of a few scenes in a certain storyline, but then they end up sticking around, and their presence becomes a lot more important than I originally intended.
MF: You have also said, “My heroes don’t always make actual physical journeys, but there are always spiritual journeys.” Are there messages in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
EF: Strange enough, when I write, I don’t want to send messages to anyone. At that time, my only concern is getting the novel to entertain me, as if I were a reader and not the book’s author. I’m the only one I want to please; I want the story to be appealing. Writers can be steered off track if they try to live up to someone else’s expectations, or if they deliberately attempt to place a ‘social message’ into the novel.
Even though it’s not my intention, I know that somehow I still do send messages through my books. I know it from my readers, who often tell me – and I am really proud of it, that the heroes of my books have helped them to make important decisions. It’s probably because my heroes (and that’s their common feature) are brave. They take their lives in their hands, and they follow their dreams. They often make wrong decisions, but they are not afraid from what the future may bring.
MF: Tell us about having your books translated from your native Hungarian to English. How closely did you work with the translator?
EF: We met a few times while she was translating the novel, and we talked about the chapters and the characters of Bangkok Transit.
MF: Are there obstacles to marketing your books in the United States that aren’t present in Hungary?
EF: I work with a limited budget, which would not allow me for a huge marketing campaign in the US. Situation is a lot easier in Hungary, where I am a well-known author, but also a journalist, so consequently I receive many media enquiries – I give interviews, I contribute to women’s magazines with articles on different topics. But my name is not yet known in the United States. When Bangkok’s translation was ready and I started exploring the possibilities and opportunities in the US, I was really surprised to discover who active the book bloggers were in the US. I think it’s a great channel and a good opportunity for new authors with a limited budget – like me. I believe in the power of the word-of-mouth marketing, personal recommendations being the most trustworthy communication channel. I do hope that sooner or later, this type of marketing will become more popular in Europe as well. In the same time, the PR and advertising companies may lose on their importance, due to their traditional media campaigns not being enough personal and efficient. In my view, blogs and social media can better bring the readers and the writers close to each other, and it happens in a very special way.
MF: Do you have any unusual writing rituals or quirks?
EF: No, nothing. I just sit down with my laptop and start writing. When I’m deeply involved in the story, nothing can disturb or interrupt me.
MF: Name at least two of your favorite authors and tell us how they have influenced your writing.
EF: I love Anna Gavalda’s empathy, I like the way she builds up a story. Her books helped me to feel free in writing dialogs, in building up characters… Nick Hornby’s novels helped me finding my humorous tone in writing. Books of Marian Keyes made me brave to involve more characters in my stories.
MF: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
EF: Writing action is a hard part for me. I am very excited when I’m writing those parts of the novel and I want to help my heroes – but I can’t. The story “writes itself”, and I have to survive the action scenes somehow…
MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What has been the best compliment?
EF: As I never know what the next chapter will bring (because I let my characters lead me), I am very curious and write very quickly. The best criticism was that I have to slow down, especially when I’m almost in the end of the story.
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
EF: Hunting and Gathering from Anna Gavalda. She has fantastic characters in this novel.
Purchase Bangkok Transit:
Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?