Q: Tell me a bit about those childhood dreams you mentioned.
A: I grew up reading the novels of Jules Verne and dreamt about how wonderful it would be to travel the world. Then, after a while, I started perusing travel brochures, and each night before I fell asleep, I imagined myself whisked off to another land. Somehow I had a feeling that when I grew up, I would make all of these dreams come true, and that I would be able to travel extensively. My other great wish was to write stories. I remember, when I was seven or eight, I re-wrote the ending of a story I had read because I didn’t like the outcome. That was the first time I felt the giddiness that came with creating a story. How amazing it was when a location, a character, or a scenario sparked in your imagination and then became so real, you could almost touch it. I feel the same way today when I write, and this feeling is the true reason why I write.
My dreams are usually realized slowly, but I feel that the greatest dreams always come true if you keep your gaze fixed on them. I think the most important thing is to recall your childhood fantasies from time to time and to ask yourself the question: which of these has come true? Our childhood dreams are very important, pointing like compasses to our future, and if we diverge too much, we can always steer back on track. I’m lucky because my parents always allowed me to follow my own path and to chase my dreams. Even though they didn’t believe that these would ever come true, they never took away my faith.
Q: How did your career as a novelist begin?
A: I wrote my first novel when I was a teenager; I was eighteen when I placed second in a novel-writing competition, but the publisher went bankrupt. Then I compiled a book of interviews I had done with Hungarian musicians, upon commission. It’s funny because back then I only thought I knew how to conduct an interview, just as anyone who isn’t a journalist thinks they can. I learned the hard way when the subjects I interviewed went on and on about themselves for hours, almost uninhibitedly. I was afraid to interrupt them, but then, when I got home, I had to start editing and writing up the interview from five or six hours of raw material. But it was a good lesson, and I benefited from it later. The publisher that had asked me to do the interviews had to close business, and since I wanted to write anyway, I applied for jobs as a journalist. I was studying towards a degree in communication when I was already working as a reporter. I started as a freelance journalist, had lots of ideas, and was very enthusiastic. I quickly landed jobs with reputable newspapers and magazines, and in the meantime I wrote novels for my own pleasure. My first book was published in 1999 under a pseudonym. Bangkok Transit was published in 2008, and this was my first big debut in Hungary. Since then, the book has sold more than 100,000 copies, which is a great success in such a small country.
Q: What do you think the secret of Bangkok Transit’s great success is in Hungary?
A: It is entertaining yet thought-provoking. I think there is an aspect of freshness and momentum in it. It is an international story, guiding you into an exotic world, but it also has Hungarian connections, and it is quite modern. My readers have said that, in addition to this book, my other books are also a ‘therapeutic journey’ for them: while they travel along with my characters in their imaginations, sharing their troubles, they also find solutions to their own troubles.
Q: Do your heroes always travel in your books?
A: They don’t always make actual physical journeys, but there are always spiritual journeys. Of course, as a traveler, I enjoy incorporating the places I’ve visited and enjoyed myself into my novels. When I write a book and the location comes to life in my mind’s eye, I feel like I’m there again. I have fairly good visual memory; I distinctly remember the light, scents, streets, and colors, and my readers say that I am able to convey these memories well in my novels.
Q: Why aren’t you content with only the success you’ve achieved in Hungary?
A: When I was a kid, I also dreamed that people would read my books in English, and that they would be able to buy copies at airports and large bookstores abroad. I was always a bookworm, and I am, even today. I devour novels one after the other, and I believe that my novels are on par with an international standard. I also feel that my readers in the United States will enjoy my books. I write mostly as a cosmopolite and write cosmopolitan novels, and I believe that I can help women not only in Hungary with my books, but also in many other countries of the world.
Q: In what way do Eva Fejos’s books help readers?
A: Firstly, they entertain and help people unwind from their own lives for a few hours, and that is very important. Secondly, they somehow make decision-making easier for them. This is a kind of bonus that I don’t understand to this day, but I am all the more grateful for it: many of my readers write to me or give personal accounts of how the decisions of a certain character helped them resolve important decisions in their own lives. One of my readers, Annamari, had spent years dreaming about how she would love to work in a classy hotel in London, but never dared to take the first step by moving from Budapest to London. Then, she read my book The Mexican, and decided that if my heroine was able to make a life-changing decision and didn’t regret it, then she had to follow her dreams too. Today, she is the manager of an elegant hotel bar in London and always keeps me updated on the things that take place in her life. But she is not the only one who finds her own strength from the courage of my heroes. I myself am often helped by my characters…
Q: How can the characters of a novel help out their author?
A: Before I go any further, I have to explain that I only invent basic situations and make a few textual sketches of characters when I start a new book. Then I begin writing the story. Getting the first fifty pages down is always a struggle, as I try and get acquainted with the situation and the characters. I don’t understand who they are and what they want from me or anything at all. I wonder: will this ever amount to a novel? Then, somehow I am suddenly caught by the drift and the story truly begins to flood while I’m paddling along after it, trying to keep my head above water… but this is always such an amazing feeling. It’s not me who is guiding my characters – I couldn’t even if I wanted to, because they always shake me off – but merely escorting them as they move along. They always manage to surprise me in each and every chapter. Returning to your question: a few years ago I would have liked to travel to Southeastern Asia for a longer period of time (yet another childhood dream), and I tried to think up a way to spend all winter there. The only ‘problem’ was that I had a super job as a journalist at one of the most widely-read women’s weekly magazines and was a novelist on the side. I thought: How could I possibly work this? Then a friend of mine, who saw me struggling with this decision asked: ‘What would one of your characters do?’ I said that they would naturally ask for an unpaid leave and go off… and then it hit me. If my heroes are brave, I can’t be a coward, especially because my characters usually don’t end up regretting being brave. So I went ahead and did what my characters would do, and indeed, I never regretted that winter in Asia. Since then, I have made several important decisions by asking myself what my characters would do. And I act exactly as they would.
Q: So you’re not really the one setting your own path?
A: My heroes live inside my head. Actually, many of them go on living inside of me even after I’ve finished a novel, reappearing later in another book. I am curious to see where their lives take them… This is how Teri from Bangkok Transit appears again as a key character in a later novel. When I finished Bangkok, I already felt that we would run into each other again sometime…
Q: The brave heroine: is this the key idea of your novels?
A: That could be one of them. I think my characters are basically everyday people, the same as we are, but just like us, they too can become special heroes, or at least the heroes of their own lives. At any rate, I believe that making a decision is always better than hesitating, not daring to make a choice, whatever the situation might be. The heroes of my novels give readers the strength to make that choice, and the feedback I receive is proof of that.
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?
Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to 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.
Try it for yourself, and let Eva Fejos whisk you off on one of her whirlwind journeys… that might lead deep into your own heart.
About Eva Fejos, the author of Bangkok Transit
- Eva Fejos is a Hungarian writer and journalist.
- has had 13 best-selling novels published in Hungary so far.
- Bangkok Transit is her first best-seller, published in 2008.
- has won several awards as a journalist, and thanks to one of her articles, the legislation pertaining to human egg donation was modified, allowing couples in need to acquire donor eggs more easily.
- spends her winters in Bangkok.
- likes novels that have several storylines running parallel.
- visited all the places she’s written about.
- spent a few days at an elephant orphanage in Thailand; and has investigated the process of how Thai children are put up for adoption while visiting several orphanages.
- founded her own publishing company in Hungary last year, where she not only publishes her own books, but foreign books too, hand-picked by her.
- Her books published in Hungary thus far are:
Till Death Do Us Part (Holtodiglan) | Bangkok Transit | Hotel Bali | Chicks (Csajok) | Strawberries for Breakfast (Eper reggelire) | The Mexican (A mexikói) | Cuba Libre | Dalma | Hello, London | Christmas in New York (Karácsony New Yorkban) | Caribbean Summer (Karibi nyár) | Bangkok, I Love You (Szeretlek, Bangkok) | Starting Now – the new edition ofTill Death Do Us Part (Most kezdődik) | Vacation in Naples – the English version will be published in summer, 2014 (Nápolyi vakáció)
To be published in spring of 2014: I Waited One Hundred Nights (Száz éjjel vártam)
Bangkok Transit (English version): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HDIT4UY
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Genre – Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author