“I had to stand on top of a mountain to realise how gifted I was to have a rock under my feet and a hand in my hand to hold me. It took only a moment for euphoria to take the place of fear. Standing there with him silently, it was borderline romantic.”
The first time I stumbled onto the wonderful person that is Natali Grayling I was browsing through my Instagram feed and came across a ballsy upload of a pretty attractive young lady accompanied with the caption “The face of a future bestseller writer.”,now I don’t know about you but that caption alone would spark interest in any ‘self proclaimed’ bibliophile/writer/hermit (We tend to spend more hours in our hide-aways than in actual reality.) Upon browsing through her feed I was hooked,the tongue in cheek captions accompanied with real life uploads had me wondering who this person was.
Upon further snooping around it became apparent that this Hungarian beauty has a little trick up her sleeve – SHE’S AN AUTHOR!
Natali Grayling is the author of the coming of age novel #Alaska,the first book of the Hashtags and Heartbreaks saga with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 on Goodreads;the plot follows Lena a Hungarian girl who became obsessed with Alaska and even has a long distance relationship with an Alaskan. She decides to surprise him for his birthday by saving up and evidently flying to Alaska,upon arriving things don’t go as planned and Lena is faced with a few obstacles,both internally and externally.
I’ve been keeping track of all the reviews and comments being posted on Goodreads about #Alaska and I found it refreshing that readers mostly connected with Lena on a personal level,as to say “Shit,she’s a character in a book but she feels like a real person.”,and that’s what a great novel is all about – connecting the reader with a character that connects on an emotional level where sympathy and empathy meet to create that little feeling you get when something happens to your best friend.
Natalia and I started communicating a good couple of weeks ago when I finally asked her whether or not she would be keen on doing a little flash interview,without any hesitation Miss.Grayling graciously agreed to take some time to answer a few questions even though none of the questions were conventional ‘Author interview’ questions.
I’m sure we all can agree that to actually enjoy and truly delve into the story we need to know a bit about the author,what was their mindset and who are they as a person – so here follows a few questions on who this young writer is.
- Tell us a little bit about where you’re from,I’m sure very few readers know of any Hungarian authors?
I was born and raised in Hungary, I still live here. I say “still” because I know I won’t live here all my life. This country feels like a fluffy IKEA couch that swallows remote controls and nacho pieces, occasionally a whole Dachshund. It’s comfortable, but I know life happens when I get off it. I can’t think of a better simile. I am prone to laziness and I don’t mean work, I mean laziness in life. Whenever the world feels too much I like wrapping myself in a blanket up to my nose, hug a pillow and pretend I don’t exist. It never actually works but I keep trying. It was only recently that I began to observe my escapist behaviors from outside, and tried to intervene, consciously. “Put on some gangsta rap and handle it.” Kind of. My gangsta rap is traveling, and I “handle it” through writing and connecting with people. Of course, one does not simply throw away a good IKEA sofa just because they start going out more. Hungary will always be my hub, the place I come home to, and I really don’t want to make it sound like a bird cage – however, if I stay here too long I get claustrophobic.
I’m always intrigued by what authors deem as their favourite ‘scene’ in the novel simply because we as the reader can identify this piece as the one which drew out something personal from the author,something they connected with on a personal level.
- What was your favourite piece from #Alaska?
“It felt like we were floating. I couldn’t feel my feet on the ground and gravity seemed to be pulling me closer to the edge. Nature showed me yet again how small I was. We, people, are so engaged in climbing up every ladder that we tend to forget how easy it is to fall down. I had to stand on top of a mountain to realize how gifted I was to have a rock under my feet and a hand in my hand to hold me. It took only a moment for euphoria to take the place of fear. Standing there with him silently, it was borderline romantic.”
This scene on the Twin Peaks trail over Eklutna Lake is, I could say, the closest to my heart for many reasons. One of them is the feeling of satisfaction I felt after writing it, as if I had really been there… I couldn’t afford to fly the five thousand miles to actually see the place for myself, however painfully I’d been longing to, and I still am, it’s still my greatest motivation for success, that one day I will be able to go visit all the places I have written about and compare the experience to my daydreams. I think that would make a pretty cool travel journal. (Idea added to the other hundred writing ideas I doubt I’ll pursue… #justwriterthings)
- Why did you decide to be a writer?
There is something about Alaska that’s had me on a leash ever since I first read about it. People have told me “stop that! Being obsessed with a place you’ve never been to is plain creepy…” I can only disagree. Maybe I became a novelist for the sole purpose of proving the opposite. This is the only legit “occupation” I can think of that does not only accept but embrace having a vivid imagination and an obsessive personality. Honestly, I’ve been asked this question a lot: why do you write? I’d love to have more fabulous answers but if I really, truly want to answer it properly, I have to say I write because I can’t daydream part-time. I’m unable to.
Now the next question is one I love to ask simply because I enjoy books.
- Do you have a favourite book?
Hmmmm. My “favourite” book as such doesn’t exist, my preferences change over time and under different circumstances. Right now, and since you’re hosting me on a page for writers, I would say “On Writing” by Stephen King. It was the first English language book I read about the craft of fiction wiriting, and with its personal, memoir-like tone and honest quirkiness it is easily my favorite in the genre (so far, I have to add. It is always “so far” or “for now”)
Now we all are aspiring writers,lets face it,at some point in time you as the reader either tried or you’re going to try and write a novel – some advice for us all.
- Any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Please, don’t write because you want to sell books. Write because you have something to say. As long as you write about things that get you excited, things you’re passionate about, things you can go on and on about and the people around you are getting sick of listening, you can’t really go wrong. Write because what you know has changed you for the better, and you wish others knew it, too. This way sales or reviews will not determine your success. You will be creating value that is timeless, and is above material wealth or fame.
This is the advice I found the most useful out of all I’ve received. It’s true. At the end of the day what really matters is whether you can look at your reflection in the mirror and say: yes, this is me, I have been working hard to achieve my goals and I will keep at it, never give up, because failure is not an option. Just keep writing, even when you don’t feel like it (I almost never feel like it, yet look at me…). Stephen King said: “sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position”. Let this inspire you: nobody likes the process. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Ask yourself if you have what it takes and if you have the guts to finish an 80.000 word manuscript, trust me, there are few things in this life that you can’t do. ❤ You ARE awesome.
And with that I end this little flash interview,thank you Miss Grayling for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions,it truly has been an immense privilege to have done this!
You guys can follow Natali on Instagram at @n.grayling ( Natali Grayling ) to stay up to speed with all her fandom love and a little sneak peek into the life of an author.
Please show some love and head over to Amazon.com and purchase #Alaska as well as giving it a two thumbs up on Goodreads as well.
Purchase link –Buy #Alaska NOW!
Goodreads link – Rate & Review on Goodreads!
Show the wonderful Natali Grayling some love guys,she’s going places.