01 December, 2015

#Interview with Ivan Sivec, #Author of The X Factor

About the Author:
Word count: 70,190 
Genre: Young Adult Fiction 
ASIN: B0141JSBC4 // ISBN: 978-961-6868-57-0 

Ivan Sivec is a writer, poet and publicist from
Slovenia, Europe. In his career he published over 130 books in different genres. He is listed under the top five Slovenian bestselling authors. His particular interest goes to psychological novels on issues teenagers face today. He loves his work, probably just as much as he loves pending time with his wife, two children and three grandchildren

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo 

My Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
Books have always been something SACRED to me. I remember my dad reading a lot to me to me when I was little and it seemed to me like his words were laying open a completely new, unknown, magnificent world lying behind the seven seas.
As soon as I learned how to read I felt like the whole world is mine. And it was! Suddenly I could travel Alaska with Jack London, I was discovering the Moon together with Jules Verne, I could fight wild tribes or explore my Slovenian roots. 
I think those first few years have had a big impact on me becoming a writer. I experienced the magic words on a pure intuitive level first and this feeling of freedom I associate with reading or writing stayed with me till today. My profession gives me the chance to not only get lost in complete freedom, but to also enable other people to do so. 

What inspires you to write?
I sometimes feel stories are an individual being living inside of me.  When they decide to come out, they burst out through my subconscious. My inspiration is always true life. The line between fiction and non-fiction in my writing is thus sometimes very thin. The X Factor is no exception. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The X Factor: Confessions of a Naïve Fashion Model is based on a true story of two former fashion models that were willing to share their painful stories with me. I did a thorough research and got in touch with fashion models, designers, photographers and agencies to gather material. After hearing several stories from the fashion biz I just knew I had to share the glamorous fashion world behind its less glamorous scenes with the young readers. And so I started working on The X Factor . It is a warning call for all the young girls out there, contemplating about starting a modelling career. 'Men in their bald years' are the ones controlling the modeling business from the background and Maja, the main character, falls straight into their trap.However, the tragic story does have a happy ending.   

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The scene on the glacier. Maja and her fellow model Svetlana are shooting for a fashion catalogue on top of a glacier. They are tired, it is freezing cold and on top of everything they are being called insulting names by the photographer. The insults are just pouring and as much as Maja and Svetlana would like to work faster, their bodies are starting to shut down. And that’s when Maja – for the first time in the novel – stands up for herself, risking losing the job. She slaps the photographer! A strong message to the photographer as well as the reader: Maja is a human being worth at least a little bit of respect. And she is willing to put her career at risk in order to keep that. A very powerful scene…

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Reading is a magical thing. Every time I pick up a book I get overcome by wanderlust as I know the time has come to get lost in exciting new worlds. Reading feeds my soul. I forget about everything else and start travelling through time and space. I’m a traveler by soul and reading for me is exactly that—a journey through unknown places, times, accompanied by characters I have never met before. They become my new friends, a part of me and stay with me after long after I have finished reading a book.  
Reading to me is passion. A good book enchants me just like first love does. A lot of things in life flow on perpetual tracks, but a great book always shows me layers of my soul I haven’t discovered yet. Books help us discover who we are, what we like, who we want to be and the world we live in. 
When it comes to writers that influenced me the most I have to go with classical writers such as Jules Verne and Jack London. I have read them in my teenage years when I started to form myself as an artist and they have stayed in my heart ever since. Slovenian literature of the late 19th, early 20th century is another influence. It describes the struggles of simple farmers at the turn of the century that, despite the fact they don’t have a lot in life, stay true to themselves, nature and the people they love.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

This picture was taken on top of the Swiss Jungfrau. The peacefulness and majesty of mountains provide me with inspiration and the Mediterranean Sea fills me with the energy to write. My wife is another source of inspiration for me. We’ve been married for over four decades and I still cannot believe how lucky I am to have such an amazing, strong person in my life. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I would like to take my whole family to Alaska. It is one of the most impressive places I have ever seen and I want to share this incredible landscape with my family. 
Another thing that has been on my bucket list is fixing my roof. Not exciting, but needs to be done :)

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I just finished writing what I think is my masterpiece. It’s a historical set of five books about the counts of Celje. It took me a while to get it completed, but I’m immensely proud of it. Altogether this will be my 131st publication in my career so far. Unfortunately, it will be available only in Slovenian language for a while. The X Factor is the first translated book into English, hopefully more will come soon. I also have two books on traditional Slovenian folk music translated into German. During my prolific career I have been producing different fiction and non-fiction genres: biographies and memoires, historical, sports and adventure novels, travelogues, humorous stories and many more. My passion, however, is writing fiction for younger, teen and adolescent readers (such as fairy tale novels, picture and children books, young adult novels). My particular interest goes to psychological novels on issues teens face today, especially deeper topics like teenage suicide, drug addiction, adoption, AIDS... 

About the Book:
It takes three mistakes to be swallowed up and spat out
by the fashion industry.
You trust the wrong people. You think you know
everything there is to know about life. You take drugs.

The almost 18-year-old Maja is a regular high-school kid, who at the threshold of adulthood thinks she knows everything there is to know about life. As she enters the world of fashion modelling she gets completely enchanted.
However, the more her career thrives she’s less able to see the danger lurking around fashion industry. Maja starts falling in a downward spiral of drug addiction and is torn between the tempting dream of becoming a world famous model and the horrendous thought of destroying her body beyond the point of no salvation.
At a yacht party Maja gets drugged, violently raped by multiple men and tossed overboard. She’s found the next day. Barely alive. Only a shade of her former self, in a gray space between life and death, she realises the fashion industry sucked everything out of her – except one thing – the will to live. Maja wants to be her old self again. Ironically, it means losing the only thing that made her special. She has to give up on her hidden X Factor. 

Review Extracts (as at October 23rd 2015): Amazon.com

''Confessions of a Naive Fashion Model is an interesting book with a different writing style.''

''The deception is what makes the book unique, a glimpse of the horrific ordeals young models go through on their way up in modelling world.''

''I loved X Factor for many reasons, but mainly for Maja's strength to stand up to what she believes to be right. Her sufferings hopefully will inspire a young person to be more careful in life, not to be sucked in by ephemeral promises.''

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