Karolina Kaim: Why have you decided to quit your job and start writing? It must have been quite a decision!
According to the French writer Andr? Gide, "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." I was unhappy with my legal career and wanted to do something more creative. Making any big changes in your life, whether career related or otherwise, can be very scary. I went through moments of self-doubt and worry. But I managed to sail through the choppy seas by stubbornly focusing my intention on my ultimate goal: happiness, artistic expression, and fulfillment.
I also had a life-altering encounter on the streets of Manhattan's Upper East Side.
On a dreary Sunday afternoon in November, an old woman with deep, penetrating eyes stopped me on the sidewalk to tell me she had an urgent message for me about my career. She showed me her card: her name was Christine and she was a psychic. I was desperate for some guidance about my professional life and thought she might shed some light on the matter, so, for some inexplicable reason, I followed her home. Our fateful meeting changed my life.
She told me that I was an artist and missing my calling as a writer. Unless I embraced this talent, her tarot cards told her, I would never be happy. It took a while for this message to sink in (and for me to take this seriously) but after months of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that she was probably right. I handed in my resignation, moved back home and signed up for creative writing classes. I obtained my first publishing contract two years later.
Are there any parts in the book based on real events/characters?
Despite the fact that most of the story is fictional, some characters were inspired by a few colleagues and people I met while living in New York. Some nice, some not so nice....As to which ones, I will let you guess... my lips are sealed
How many books in the series are you going to write? Is there a place for "J'adore Warsaw"?
That's a good question! I'm struggling to answer it myself...I think that there will be at least four, but maybe others as well. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself or on Catherine and Rikash, the main characters.
Have you ever been to Poland? What do you think of numerous versions of your book and its covers around the world? Which one do you like the most?
I have not had the chance to visit Poland yet but I hope to do so some time next year. I can't wait! I particularly love the Polish covers. They are elegant, sexy and modern.
Do you regret years spent working as a lawyer?
No, not at all. Practicing law for over ten years has given me lots of material to write about and the discipline it takes to get to the finish line. Writing a novel can be challenging and exhausting so lots of mental focus is required.
What do you do when you are stuck in a particular place in the book and have no inspiration? Does it ever happen?
Yes, of course, that happens all the time! I attend a yoga class which I find particularly helpful. I also take my dog for a walk in nature and flip through magazines, There's lots of inspiration to be found in there!
Was it hard to find a publisher? What's an effective way to do it?
Yes, it wasn't easy. There is no magical way to do it. You need to send out your work to as many people as possible ( agents, publishers, etc), be very patient and cross your fingers.
Any advice on how to pursue your dreams but not lose the rest of your life along with it?
Don't give up. Keep dreaming, working and striving. Even if it's in your (very) spare time and no matter how discouraged you may feel at times. It's important to remember that it's all about the journey, not the destination.
What would you change in the young generation? Do you think we read too little books?
I think that the recent digital revolution has affected our ability to concentrate for long periods of time and of course, that means reading an entire book. It has affected all of us, not just younger generations. I find myself struggling not to go on the internet and Facebook, etc. when I'm writing a book!
How many languages do you speak?
I speak two languages: English and French.
What are your memories from high school and further studies? Have you always known what you'd like to do in life?
I always had an artistic streak. In high school I would organize school plays, concerts and dance shows. I also wrote lots of stories as a young child. I guess I've had it in me all along.
Last but not least: who is your favorite author and/or book?
Oh that's a very tough question! Here are my top five:
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
- And all books written by Candace Bushnell! ( What can I say? I'm a fan!)