by Horvath

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Horvath’s work through Bard & Book

*Author Interview*

Q1: Why do you write?

I write because I have to, really.  I feel all bottled up if I don’t.  Sometimes, it’s worse than that:  I feel like my characters and stories are locked within the cage of my mind, when they really ought to be free to roam the minds of others.  I know that sounds like I’m assuming that other minds would welcome them, but that part is really irrelevant to me.  It doesn’t matter if others like what I write.  I’ve got to write.  My creations have got to be free.  Otherwise, I just don’t feel right.

Q2: How would you describe your writing ‘method’?

I’ve never suffered from “writer’s block.”  My problem is lack of time and opportunity.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), many of my stories “live” inside my mind, often fully formed, until such time as I can get them down on paper.  A good example is my first published book, Fidelis, of the Birth Pangs series.  This story essentially played itself out in my mind in its entirety before I sat down to actually write it.  It was as though I were witnessing the events and it was merely my job to record them.  When I did finally sit down to write them, the 155,000 words or so spilled out in just a couple of months. It took longer to edit it than it did to write it.  In the meantime, the other five as yet unpublished books play out in my mind, almost relentlessly. It can get a bit annoying; sometimes, I’d like to just some peace and quiet in my brain.  When I do finally sit down to let my creations spill out of my skull onto paper, I don’t like to be interrupted until I am done.  So, I will often postpone a project completely until I know I’ll be able to finish it.  I don’t know if that’s a good habit or not.

Probably bad.

Q3: How would you respond to the classic question, “Is there Christian art, or artists who are Christians?”

Since I believe that Christianity is true, not merely my opinion, I think that all art is Christian.  Since we are all created in the image of God, and our creative natures reflect God’s creative nature, we cannot create and not in some way be revealing the glory of God–as Christians understand him. This leads me to re-cast that question a bit.  Creation should be done for creation’s sake.  Art for art’s sake, as it were.  I think sometimes Christians put stuff out there that is not of very high quality but figure that since it has Christian content, or has a ‘higher purpose’, that’s ‘ok.’   Worse:  Christian publishers put out this stuff.  Presumably, because it is safe–it preaches to the choir. I think genuine art will resonate with both believers and unbelievers.

Q4: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Genuine artists are always trying to improve their craft.  Writers, painters, musicians… and even engineers, software coders… all who create strive to create the best they can.   If you are the sort of person who has to write, or they’ll die, I doubt very much you’re not the kind of person who tries to improve their writing.  However…

Realistic expectations are critical. Absolutely critical. What is it you want? Do you think that your writing is meaningless unless it finds a publisher? Will you release your stories from the cage of your mind, only to see them confined to your desk drawer until your death, simply because you can’t find a publisher?  I think there is a lot of that going on, and often because authors feel like they need to be validated by others.  Unfortunately, publishers are producing a lot of crap these days–and here I am referring to the ‘traditional’ publishers–and if one of them picks up your work, that doesn’t at all mean you’ve been validated.  I think one of the pitfalls authors fall into is that they seek validation for their work but not honest and earnest criticism of it–and if a traditional publisher releases the work, obviously the work must be so good it can’t be criticized!

But that kind of attitude wars against the artist’s instinct to improve their craft.

There are oodles of ways to get your content out these days.  If you have to create, you can create, and you don’t need to wait around to be patted on the back.  At the same time, this means you can open yourself up to feedback from others, because negative responses don’t necessarily mean the death of your ‘dream.’   For under a thousand dollars, these days, anyone can achieve their ‘dream.’  So, I say focus on producing the best, most satisfying creative piece you can and then let the pieces fall where they may.

Q5: Which of your creations has brought you the most joy?

I have a work, yet unpublished, written for pre-teens to early teens, that made shiver run up my spine many times while writing it.  I can’t wait to finish it and let it out of its ‘cage.’ It presently has a terrible name: “The Mammalites.”

Q6: Which has brought you the most heartache?

Probably my short story series imagining Antony Flew, Mother Teresa, and Richard Dawkins dying and going to heaven. This short story collection was discovered by a somewhat famous blogger who fronts as a biologist at a public university in Minnesota, who proceeded to review it, without, it seems, comprehending even the tiniest aspects of it. His followers, in turn, issued their own reviews of the stories–not based on their own reading of them, but based on their reading of the aforementioned review. It seems that in this case, my creation got out of its cage and behaved like the proverbial bull in a china shop.  There has been some good that has come out of it–but only in the cases when the ‘china’ happened to be alive and breathing and could move to get out of the way.  That is not normally how you find fine china, as the reader well knows.

Sales have not been great;  probably because the aforementioned blogger violated the law in posting one of the stories at great length on his web page.  Oh well.

Q7: Is there anything you’d like to say?

The publishing market has been turned upside down. If history had been reversed, and we started out with Ebooks and print on demand technology rather than Gutenberg’s press, the whole distribution system would look nothing like how it looks today. That system is on its way to collapse. In the meantime, most of the avenues for promoting one’s book still harken back to marketing approaches in the decaying system. Be on the lookout for new ways to get your work out to the public, and make your expectations correspond to those new ways.