BL Pride and Gabriella M.
Two Slovenian authors. Two pseudonyms. Two lovers of novels.
But still completely different.
Gabriella M .: We've never chatted like this at a distance (laughs). I know, but let's go for our readers - where does the pseudonym come from?
BL Pride: A pseudonym is a remnant of my decision that no one will ever know that books are mine (laughs). It was formed from two names and two surnames. I myself would probably never decide to publish books, and my friend, the first one I showed her in writing, convinced me to give it a try anyway. Together we then ‘found out’ that it would be wisest to try publishing in English and she offered to translate things. Our names thus became BL, and the beginnings of our surnames Pride. Time brought some changes, publishing in English slowed down, and publishing in Slovene became the main goal or. activity and because the L-part is also a bit shabby (life just throws its logs and everyone gets tired of jumping over it), I continued on my own. And the pseudonym remains. I'm emotionally attached to it, it reminds me of a precious period, and readers know it (laughs).
What about yours? We never talked about Gabriella M.'s name, I came up with the explanation that you 'borrowed' the name of the heroine from the book, but I don't even know if it's all like that. So now is obviously the high time to finally find out (laughs).
Gabriella M .: Yes it's true. Mia Gabriel was the heroine of the first book, for the second I already knew at the time that the main one would be Ella Mason. Thus arose the pseudonym as a derivative of these names. In addition, the initials of my real name are the first letter in the pseudonym surname. All carefully thought out (laughs). Besides, I wanted it to sound foreign. Otherwise, sometimes it seems to me that I wouldn’t need a pseudonym, but again, on the other hand, it comes in handy when I don’t want to discuss my writing. Yeah, I’m a little weird because I don’t brag all the time (laughs).
It seems to me that we have known each other all our lives. Probably even from some previous one (laughs), but I'm still interested if you happen to know how long ago our paths first crossed. Hint - a fairy tale.
BL Pride: Oh, after the release of The Story of Margot and Ulf, it seems to me. I am right? Supposedly you commented on the cover and then (it went by itself (laughs). It is true, however, that these few years of actual acquaintance do not seem to me equivalent to the feeling that we have really known each other for a hundred years, as you said. Maybe because so much has happened during this time - published books, such and other projects (one unrealized still really hurts me and I really hope we get it under the roof one day), nerging and ventilation, SOS calls… In principle, I do not feel the need for by having someone with me who deals with the same things as me, but I admit that it’s really nice to ever insider comment on how a thing is. Because writing or. issuing is not as very simple as it may seem.
So I'm interested in what you think is the biggest challenge / problem / annoyance in our 'business'. And what do you like best. Is it the writing process itself? Or maybe something else?
Gabriella M .: Maybe we get along so well because we're in the same 'foh' anyway and it's clear to us who, what and why (laughs). Let me first confirm that you are right - it really was that distant December (laughs) when I desperately needed booklets as a gift for my friends, but they didn't have them in Felix anymore. As for the projects, I think this year is perfect for something like that, because we could put something good alongside the events. Well, I’m not saying everything has been bad so far, but in fact, we’ll only remember the years after miserable days in quarantine. Although, in fact, that wasn't annoying all the time either. And here follows my answer to what is the biggest challenge / problem / annoyance in the whole writing package. Writing itself is the most creative, you let yourself flow, you live with the main characters, you paint them in your head, you assign them characters - as if you were creating a film, only to visualize it in your own way. However, good energy, time, will and much more are needed for quality creation. The biggest challenge is definitely to write an interesting story, add a quality exterior to it, followed by more annoying ones (laughs). Anyone who has tried to sell their book will understand.
Speaking of the pros and cons of writing - you also published as a self-publisher. What helped you the most to decide not to go for it anymore?
BL Pride: It's true, only the last book landed with the publishers, I published the rest myself. I probably persevered for so long because of my invaluable sense of freedom, and my biggest concern - well, really mortal fear (laughs) - was working with someone who wouldn’t listen to me, to my story, to my style (and I don’t just mean writing style, far from it). However, after quite a few projects, it all became too much. Taking care of all aspects of creation and release is a big deal, I started at a fast pace and I felt that this is not it. Even though I always had a great team with me. Truth be told, I 'stuffed' things quite well for my notions until the release - the annoyance started with promotion and marketing. Then, after a web of coincidences, I came across Kreativna PiKO and the last book came out with them. A beautiful, peaceful experience that taught me a lot and made me think a lot.
But in this context, I have a possibly provocative question that I will reconsider while you think (laughs). You’ve written a book and it’s ready for the reader. You have two options. First: the book would be published by a renowned publisher, which also offers you a fee (but not exactly millions), but we would like to change quite a few things - the title, the appearance of the main character and to some extent the end, because they want to continue. Second: the book would be ready to be published by a publishing house that has only published one book so far, and only a hundred people have probably heard of it. All the corrections they suggest are purely ‘cosmetic’ in nature and seem perfectly justified to you. Which offer do you accept and why?
Gabriella M .: Hm… Interesting question. But definitely another option. A label with a reputation sounds great, but (laughs)… I can agree to a change of title (maybe their proposal is really better). I would also change the ending because it is possible to get things done by predicting a sequel or not. But the appearance of the central heroine - this is not something that can be decided by the publisher or the editor. If I imagine that my heroine will have orange hair and freckles, she will just have them, regardless of whether the editor finds it sexy. Because if they could convince me to do that, they would probably have the power to change anything. So - no, thank you.
Last but not least, new record labels have to start somewhere. If they have a goal, they will definitely do their best to promote the book as best they can. Because if, as a self-publisher, I sell a little less than two hundred copies, I believe that a publishing house, even a new one, cannot do worse.
The theme of the main characters seems great to me. Men at all (laughs). Your heroes are mostly very tall, and the heroines are just the opposite, so there is a big difference in height between them. Let’s say you come across an editor of this same reputable label (laughs) who wants the heroine to be taller than the man (probably out of self-interest). Would you agree if you knew the edition of your book depended on it? Why or why not?
BL Pride: NEVER and NEVER! I have nothing to add here at all (laughs). Okay, if the book was some totally humorous romance, maybe even a parody, then something like this would be a perfectly great idea. Otherwise, this is really mandatory for me. A man has to be bigger than a woman, whether that sounds cliché now or not. I don’t really have any beauty ideals in either men or women, it always catches my eye when someone has really dark eyes, and that’s that too. Blonde, red, dark, light, black… after that, the attractiveness of men and women does not belong to me (laughs). But an attractive man is a tall man to me. I admit that. And if my male characters are to be attractive (at least to me, well), they have to be tall.
Do you agree? Or - which male character from your works is closest to your heart and why? Was it conceived in the very beginning as a sort of favorite?
Gabriella M .: I agree, of course. But this is such a tricky question, isn't it? (laughter) If I think about it, maybe my ideal, if I may say so, comes from Balkan 'philosophy'. From my youth, I remember the phrase 'tall, black, handsome' (translated as 'tall, black, handsome - oh, what a word') and I have always been unconsciously attracted to such people (laughs). Of course, my first hero Alex had to be exactly like that, too. It would be hard to say that he was my favorite from the beginning, but he was my first and you can't forget the first one (laughs). He just has the advantage of being more alpha than Mattia from Ice Image and holds his status almost to the end. So yeah, Alex is ‘THE ONE’. When I thought about your question, I remembered that after the publication of the Abstract Image, I was accused of inconsistency in names, as Alex was not supposed to be an Italian name. But even then it seemed to me that this name suited him better than e.g. Alessandro. Otherwise, he's a fictitious person - at least I don't know he would exist (laughs) and I have the right to determine his name, age, appearance, and something else, right (laughs)?
What about the covers? You played a lot with the titles - UNHEARD, SECRETS, the last books even have Latin titles. How do you determine which one will be the right one? Do you already have an address when you start, or is it created somewhere during the process? And given that headlines with attractive, mostly male, covers are very popular these days (laughs), we don’t see a tall hero with black eyes on any of them - why not? And yes, this is a provocative question (laughs).
BL Pride: Covers are very important to me, as are headlines, but maybe not exactly in a marketing way (laughs). The title is one of the last things that arises in the process of creating a book, unless a phrase or something similar appears somewhere in between, which I then replay and 'test' for a long time. This is exactly what happened with the Latin titles, as they are part of a well-known Latin proverb that I remembered at the writing stage.
I like hidden meanings, reading between the lines, observing shades and details, so I don’t go for the first ball when it comes to headlines and headlines. I want readers who are creative, daring, open and who feel similar to me - some of my headlines will certainly appeal to such people as a dark-haired nudist (laughs). It is true, however, that in this instant time, many people accept or even appreciate another, simpler dimension. After all, there are tons of manuals on how to write a book, how to sell it, which titles will work (because, for example, they contain words or names that people often google in a given year or period), which pseudonyms are best because you can land on 'more visited' shelves, what images on the title attract attention ('tall, black, handsome', lately supposedly long hair, tattooed for certain groups…) But to be honest, I whistle at everything. I don't limit myself in terms of genre either, because I like to write what I feel, and sometimes it's a fantasy, sometimes it's a sexy novel, sometimes it's youth literature…
What about you? Your published novels could (if we wanted to talk about genres) be squeezed into modern romance, it seems to me. Do you agree with such a definition? If, of course, you even agree with the definition… And what genre or type of books do you never read? If there is such a thing. I read what draws me, but never manuals and books for self-help, spiritual growth and the like. You?
Gabriella M .: Of course, the modern definition is in place in this case. I also always admit that these are beach novels designed to disconnect thoughts and relax. This is most likely something we need in our profession in the summer (laughs). When I embarked on the first book, I did it for exactly that reason. Now it’s the turn of a youth novel I wrote for the competition to be published. While writing, a few things turned around and in the end a novel was created that isn’t entirely youthful, so I created a kind of hybrid - it’s supposedly modern these days (laughs). I still argue that the story is appropriate for youth as well, given that teenagers read all sorts of novels.
What genre do I not read? Self-help books are also not on my reading list because I find it makes more sense to go for a walk and think about everything than to walk and think about reading. And the same seems to me of all possible seminars. What helps is for someone to tell you how you have to be in nature for at least an hour every day if he lectures you for more than two hours in the afternoon for that purpose. Indoors, of course. The other is definitely mountaineering. My love is the sea and everything that belongs next to it - after all, I am a romantic fish and the mountains never called me. I have conquered some low and medium high peaks, but none of my ardent desire (laughs). I must admit, however, that I am very proud of every goal I have won, be it mountain or book.
What are your favorite destinations? Do you use them in your stories? I know that none of them have explicitly defined places - is that for the reason that everyone imagines their own places? If you had to live somewhere else for a year, which city in the world would you choose?
BL Pride: My immortal destination is the Coast (laughs). It’s such a practical, realistic destination that’s always at your fingertips, which is why it also has so many points on my scale. It always pulls me there, even if only for one day, I used to go there when I was still snoring, but for two, pregnant and with toddlers, and I still go there now. Passionate (laughs). My son always says that I look forward to the sea the most. Although I'm also drawn to the hills - not like a mountaineer, because I'm too big a stump. Basically, I'm drawn to everything where I feel that indescribable dimension of the world - the sea, the mountains, I would probably be fascinated by the desert if I experienced it, but I haven't yet. Places, in short, that give you a sense of infinity.
And really in my works the place of events is not concretized. As you have already noted, in order for readers to have the opportunity to co-create a work, to imagine some details in their own way. In Monstum alone, a few places in Romania are concretely exposed, and that is all. However, it is extremely interesting to hear the comments of readers - some see Maribor (Even those who are not from Maribor. Probably because they know that I am from here.), Some imagine the places incredibly similar to what I set myself, at some I wonder if they read the book at all (laughs).
What was the last question? Aha, which place would I choose if I had to live somewhere else for a year. If I had to leave now, it would be Ballybunion. The Irish coast is for my taste something the most magical the world has to offer.
And speaking of magic, I have one very crumpled but at the same time eternal question: if I could have any magical / supernatural power, which one would I choose and why? Although you haven't yet, I'm also interested in whether you're ever tempted to portray (literary or visual) this power and which of the two media you would choose to portray.
Gabriella M .: I would absolutely choose an artistic depiction of power. Because I often express myself in an abstraction that I find ideal for depicting the supernatural, this medium is truly written on my skin. Each of the magical powers has its pluses and minuses, which I don’t see right now (laughs), but if I had to pick one, I’d probably opt for teleportation. So I could visit all those people I have been dedicated to for far too long. I know the lack of time is just a convenient excuse. Although, considering that I love the sun and summer, I would also be satisfied with atmosphenes - weather management (laughs), which is, of course, also a great motif for artistic depiction. I can just imagine a seeming war of colors on the canvas, covering dark, rainy clouds with the warm, bright colors of the glowing sun. If you asked me when it would be made, I would tell you that this summer. Ask me in September. (laughter). Unfortunately, it is human nature to abuse power sooner or later into, above all, one’s own desires and needs. So there is nothing wrong with even people who believe they have some of this not being able to develop their strengths.
What do you think about that? Do you ever have any premonitions or unusual experiences? I’m pretty sure you believe in the supernatural, otherwise you wouldn’t be devoting so many of your stories to this. Am I wrong? Sometimes it seems to me that this is what connected us. But so that it doesn't sound too strange, like we're in a sect (laughs), let's say something about music. Namely, I involve art in all possible ways and as if stories without music could not be perfect, I always have a few songs and / or performers in my head. How many of your stories are guided by music and which one is your favorite?
BL Pride: I absolutely believe in the supernatural. You may not find what I believe in in my works, but it continues to appear supernatural. Even when that’s not really my intention (laughs). And now that you've taken us into the realm of music - a really good piece, I think it's a manifestation of something almost supernatural.
It's exactly the same with me as you said - there is no story without music. Music is the background of my writing, but that doesn’t mean I write next to the music I’m playing, but I design the story while listening to the music. The scenes have specific pieces, each book has a meticulously crafted soundtrack, and it’s most interesting to me when I hear how important a song is after a long time. That's when the living image of the scene in question, the feelings, the sounds… everything is exactly as it was when I lived the story.
Now, it’s probably already a crystal clear answer to your question of how many stories music leads. Everything. Without exception (laughs). The two books, which I find interesting, have the same album as their background, otherwise musical inspiration comes from all winds and from all possible genres. I always jokingly say to myself that I’m a metalhead at heart, but that’s really just a fraction of my musical being. And if metal is ideal for some wild, furious scenes, epic clashes and something like that, romantic, tender scenes certainly don’t find such an accompaniment. At least so far this has not happened.
As for the favorite, however, I couldn’t define myself. My favorite song doesn’t (yet) exist, but there are a huge number of pieces that I love very, very much. It’s always a combination of likeable music and something from my life and / or creation that connects to it.
I wanted to write down a piece or two that specifically reminded me of a particular series or book I had published, but I found that something like this was far too extensive for this conversation (laughs). As a result, I found that (at least for now) some people touch me more than others and I couldn't help but wonder if this was due to some 'favoritism' of my own work, so - if I had to choose a single project ( not exclusively literary), of which you are most proud or to which you have the most beautiful memories, which one would you be? The answer 'family' doesn't apply - it's every mom's biggest project anyway (laughs).
Gabriella M .: Um, yes. Family (laughs) and staying a sculpted parent. Otherwise, one of the projects I’m proud of, and most of all, will forever be one of the positive things in my life, has been Barbati. In a month after vacation, back in 2011 or maybe it was 2010, oh, those years (laughs), I painted a part for the whole show. And then the pictures were first on display right there, in Barbatih on Pag, and then at the end of the same year in Brblarna in Novo mesto. I think I fell in love with Barbate at first sight because they gave me so many new ideas with their whiteness and openness that I just had to portray them. Even today, I am happy that we spent quite a few vacations there, because in addition to the inspiration for painting, I also got new acquaintances and friends. Somehow it was an experience you never forget. Of course, all of you who will ever vacation on Pag, I invite you to visit Barbate, where you can eat something good in the restaurant or just drink coffee on the pleasant terrace overlooking the sea. You may find it easier to understand why my love for this place.
Since you mentioned family and being a top project in every mom’s life anyway, which I totally agree with, I wonder how your family views your mom being a writer? And when you fall into that world of writing, do they understand whether they have the most desires then? Well, I ask, because some of us are already the hungriest at the very moment when I would like to write a page or two (laughs).
BL Pride: In fact, it seems to me that with us, a man always has the most material to chew on just when I 'don't fall' the most (laughs). Otherwise, it seems to me that the kids don’t really care if I’m a writer or not. Whether I write or not. I don't think it means anything to them. You know, kids see you as a mom and the end, just like students see you as a teacher and then they’re surprised to hear that you actually have some life outside of your classroom.
However, I have to say that children are becoming more and more perceptive about my writing, notice that the computer is pulling me, and leave me space, time, and the opportunity to get to work. I really appreciate that, because at the same time we have a lot to do with each other and together we are killing time terribly. We don't waste, of course - the time I spend with them is never wasted.
I dedicate most of my time to children and because of them to animals - literally hours and hours go by every day and because of them many jobs remain unfinished, many wishes for a new piece of furniture or something similar are unfulfilled (laughs). But what does Gabriella M. do to relax from work and the computer?
Gabriella M .: I laughed at the fact that we teachers also have a life outside the classroom. It’s really one such abstract thing for them, and I find that perception more than not impressive. My senior called me a teacher at home a few times instead of my mom (laughs).
There are so many things on my list of relaxation activities that I competed with myself for a while, how much I can do for them in my spare time, and then found that there is nothing wrong with some hobby waiting in the corner for a year, half or even two. In addition to drawing and painting - the cover of the Ice Image is also my work, sewing, boxing - currently not and without worries, I do not practice on my husband's husband (laughs), I dance - I am increasingly inclined to return to the hip- hop in the fall, improvise with cocktails, bake - especially in the winter and of course read. I like love stories that take me through some interesting places, I am impressed by tattooed heroes (laughs), among other things I also reach for books for the adult reading badge, which is organized every year by our library. I'm just reading something that is neither, but I received the book #Break as a gift and I have to admit that it is very promising with its humorous beginning.
It’s slowly coming to an end, even though this is so much fun that we could even write a book (laughs), but let it end when the party is at its peak, or whatever. What else would you like to say to everyone who made it to the end of this marathon of ours (laughs) - something I didn't ask you about, but you think it's important?
BL Pride: We chatted a lot of things, but it’s like a drop in the ocean of everything we didn’t even mention. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has come this far (laughs). (When I saw how much had already been created in the sixth or seventh question, I couldn't believe my eyes, but that's how it is when friends, writers and teachers talk.) My message se to be good to themselves and to each other. And fearless. Let them love passionately and often, let them not be afraid to do things that are not otherwise on the list of ‘safe’ activities, and let them tread the path of their true essence.
Of course, first I wanted to formulate some very clever, writerly message about how much reader support means to us, those moments when a complete stranger comes forward and praises what is read, the joy when we read encouraging words… much more. But below the line, all of the above is 'good' - good work, action with a positive sign, a step that spreads kindness, will, drive lec A reader who comes forward to praise and encourage is invaluable, but any reader who decides for something like this, he has to have a lot of similar, ‘good’ experiences, a lot of dealings with ‘good’ people to feed this will to spread ‘good’ further, among others, even among strangers. So I want - I want us, in fact - to deal with the ‘good’ as often as possible and to leave everything that hurts, confuses, confuses or hurts as quickly as possible and with as little bad will as possible.
We both know that sometimes the aforementioned ‘good’ in the book world seems even more akin to some sort of utopian, fairy-tale concept. And if I’ve already started with the wise tips (laughs), let’s end with yours. Imagine a young budding writer turning to you for advice on what to do with a written manuscript. Which five tips or hints do you find most important in our situation, in our market, in our readers?
Gabriella M .: Do not give up. Send to record labels, but don’t succumb first (laughs) because it’s not necessarily the best. If the earnings are lower than the price of coffee in the bar, it is absolutely so. Self-published. Be sure to find a good proofreader, cover designer, and book breaks - only when you sent them to the publishers and they didn’t respond to whether the earnings would be miserable. We have a lot of printers in Slovenia, send inquiries for offers, there are differences, but it seems to me that not so much in quality. Be prepared for the work to start only when you write END in the text on the computer. Do not give up.
When you encounter positive reviews on social media, give thanks. If the criticism is negative, so be it. All of this makes you stronger and better at your next project. And DON’T DESPAIR (laughs) like the two of us with BL Pride. Well, since we really didn’t give up, we just sent a self-publishing activity on vacation.
Thank you BL Pride for hanging out with me over virtual coffee for the last ten days. We really debated a lot, but I think we could do it again someday.
We had ten questions in mind, but in the end it came out with nine and a game of five-word associations. I hope we brought you closer to our lives outside the classrooms (laughs) and you had at least half as much fun as we did.