LifeOfWriters feel very pleased and honored to have had the chance to interview Author Gabriel Farago. Read below and get inspired! He is about to release his next thriller – The Hidden Genes of Professor K – on 9 November.
As a lawyer with a passion for history and archaeology, I had to wait many years before I could pursue another passion – writing – in earnest. However, my love of books and storytelling started long before that. I remember as a young boy reading biographies and history books with a torch under the bed covers, and then writing stories about archaeologists and explorers the next day, instead of doing homework. While I regularly got into trouble for this, I believe we can only do well in our endeavours if we are passionate about the things we love; for me, writing has become a passion.
The best way to describe my books is to call them mysteries for the thinking reader. I have written four thrillers, namely The Forgotten Painting, The Empress Holds the Key, The Disappearance of Anna Popov and The Hidden Genes of Professor K which is about to be released. All four books are part of the Jack Rogan Mysteries series.
I was born in Budapest, and grew up in post-War Europe. After fleeing Hungary with my parents during the Revolution in 1956, I attended school in Austria before arriving in Australia as a teenager. Through my travels I have become multi-lingual and now feel ‘at home’ in different countries and diverse cultures. I hold degrees in literature and law, speak several languages and take my research and authenticity very seriously. Inquisitive by nature, I have studied Egyptology and learned to read the hieroglyphs. I travel extensively and visit all of the locations mentioned in my books. To create a seamless storyline, I try to weave fact and fiction together, blurring the boundaries between the two, so that the reader is never quite sure where one ends, and the other begins. This is of course quite deliberate as it creates the illusion of authenticity and reality in a work that is pure fiction. A successful work of fiction is a balancing act: reality must rub shoulders with imagination in a way that is both entertaining and plausible!
My home is now in the Blue Mountains in Australia, just outside Sydney, where we are surrounded by a World Heritage National Park. The beauty and solitude of this unique environment give me inspiration and the energy to weave my thoughts and ideas into stories which, I sincerely hope, will in turn entertain and inspire my readers.
-When do you write best?
When I am in the middle of a ‘project.’ For me, that is the most exciting time. Writing a book requires a lot of discipline and planning. For the sake of authenticity, I visit all the places mentioned in my books and do all the research before I start writing. When writing begins in earnest, which usually happens in my ‘attic’ in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, I virtually ‘lock myself away,’ remove distractions and focus on writing. For me, that is when I can let my imagination run free and let creativity take over. This is when I do my best writing.
-How do you come up with the characters in your books?
Most of my characters are based on real people I have encountered. I have had a long and colorful legal career with a lot of exposure to criminal law. As you can imagine, this has provided fascinating material for my storylines and characters to draw upon.
-Can you describe your writing process?
I do have quite specific writing habits. Serious writing is a solitary endeavour and requires a lot of discipline and routine. I do most of my writing late at night. I begin at about 10 p.m. and go through to about 3 a.m. In the morning I review what I have written the night before. During the day, I think about the next section I will write in the evening. I go through the plot, the dialogue the settings and so on. At that stage, it’s all in my head. When the time comes to write it all down in the evening, the material has taken shape and is ready to go. I have several computer screens and refine my research as I write. I always have music playing in the background.
I am definitely NOT an ‘outliner’. I have a clear concept in mind at all time as to where I want to go with the storyline and the plot, but the detail remains fluid. I believe this is essential as the flow has to appear natural and spontaneous at all times. My characters are the drivers here. I LIVE with my characters and always carefully imagine how they would react in certain situations, what they would say, and how they would say it etc. Dialogue is critical here, and I read the dialogue out aloud. To outline this in detail in advance would be like wearing shackles! My chapters are short which gives me great flexibility in dealing with my characters and the plot, build tension, and keep my readers focused. In my view, short chapters are the key to an exciting, page-turning plot.
-How do you edit your work?
I don’t believe in self-editing. I read everything a write many times over to fine-tune and refine the text. I read the dialogue out aloud which I find very helpful. However, as far as final editing is concerned, I engage a very experienced, professional editor who has become part of my ‘team.’ I firmly believe that every serious writer needs an experienced editor and proof-reader to help shape his work.
-How often do you read and what do you like to read?
I am an voracious reader and read all the time. What do I read? Not surprisingly, I love reading thrillers. However, I have a degree in literature, and also like reading the classics, especially Russian, German and French classics by authors like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Pushkin, Goethe, Schiller, Thomas Mann and Günter Grass. French writers like Dumas, Flaubert and Balzac are favorites.
As for who inspires me in my writings, well, somehow all of them do. I draw on literature generally for inspiration and try to hone my craft by studying the work of many authors.
-What would be your top 5 writing tips for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself.
Refine your craft by learning from other writers and professionals such as editors, proof-readers etc.
Only write about subjects that inspire you and you find exciting.
Be very diligent in your research. Authenticity demands that.
Never give up!
For a few more ‘tips’ may I refer you to my personal guide to self-publishing - Going It Alone: Why Writing Your Book Is Not Enough – which is available on Amazon and all other major platforms.