1. Tell us about your writing and your literary background. What inspired you to become a writer?
It all started when I suddenly realised that all books are written by somebody. That they were not just something that EXISTED the same way the birds exist or breakfast appeared on the table each morning, but rather something that was invented by SOMEONE, a real person. I was astonished. That image of “someone” inspired me – it was then I realised that if SOMEONE can write a book, I can write one too. I was a child then and I was not intimidated by the photos of the writers on the book back covers – they were all “old people”, adults. The second thing that inspired me to write was boredom. I am truly grateful that such thing exists, because without boredom there would be no art in the world. Or, at least, parts of it wouldn’t exist. When you are bored, you have to find creative ways to get out of this state of mind. I found storytelling the best way to kill time – each time I was told to do a really dreary duty at home, for example, to hoe a cabbage field, a story popped up in my mind and took me somewhere else instead of a field of cabbage. You see, it was easy to become a writer, but it takes a lot of courage to remain one. What inspires me now are children that claim they do not read books, especially boys that tell me they absolutely HATE reading – it makes me want to write something they would get crazy to get their hands on.
2. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?
A creative person’s misfortune is that living life (going out, seeing friends, do the grocery shopping) takes away time the that could be spent writing. Another creative person’s misfortune is that writing takes away time that could be spent living. The most difficult thing is not to get carried away too much by the writing or the living, and still enjoy both. The easiest part is to get carried away by the writing and really, really enjoy it.
3. What is exciting about Latvian literature at the moment?
What is exciting about the Latvian children’s literature are the uttermost talented illustrators with their own, unique style and ability to tell stories with their art and the freedom they are given by the publishers to express themselves. Personally I am happy that the local children’s books now sit comfortably next to books for adults and are not considered “less important”, on the contrary – raise a lot of attention.
4. What’s the greatest book you’ve ever read, and why?
My choice would depend on what day of the week or time of the day it is, but there is always a certain book by Astrid Lindgren that I can tailor to my mood. Sometimes it’s The Brothers Lionheart when I’m melancholic, sometimes Pippi Longstocking when I want to break some rules. Astrid Lindgren is the best children’s book writer there has ever lived.
5. How do books for children differ from books meant for adults?
Not much, they are just smaller books with a bigger weight of responsibility to their readers. Other than that, I don’t see much difference.