One thing we Indians are extremely good at is not discussing any problems that have a sexual angle. This is the reason why we still don’t have reasoned, nuanced and rational debates on crimes against women and why many of us think sex education is a terrible thing.
In all this denial and hypocrisy we have buried and accepted a gross injustice that affects millions of Indians and clubs our nation with some of the most backward, repressive regimes in the world. It is the issue of gay rights, or the infamous Section 377, that still exists in our law books and criminalizes homosexuality. This, despite oodles of scientific evidence in the past decade about the existence of homosexuality as natural, despite almost all medical and scientific experts believing that there is nothing ‘abnormal’ or ‘incorrect’ about being gay.
Morally, while you may argue that men and women are supposed to be attracted to each other and everything else is immoral, isn’t it also immoral to take away someone’s free will?
Anyways! We can’t change the things which are claimed to be as our collected sins.
Hey! Welcome to a brand new episode of ‘The Untold Series’. Today we have among us Nico J. Genes, author of the Reverie series.
Ratnadeep : Hello Ma’am, thanks for taking out time from your busy schedule and accepting the invitation for the interview.
Hello and thank you so much for the invitation to this interview.
Ratnadeep : Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Nico and I am a writer. I was born in Romania and moved to Slovenia after finishing my studies. I also lived and worked in Croatia for almost 5 years. Until recently I worked in marketing, then I traveled a lot and met many interesting and different people who helped me have a wider view upon many life issues. This inspired me to not only start writing novels but to also run a blog where I talk about life issues; attempting to be the friend that most everyone would need at a certain point in their life. I love interacting with people.
Ratnadeep : What inspired you to write your first book ‘Magnetic Reverie’?
Life and imagination, if I had to give a short answer. Otherwise it was when I was in a position to have more time where I felt I could finally transmit my messages to the whole world. In my first book the main message, wrapped up subtly in a romantic novel, is to help awaken anyone that still has any prejudices regarding non-traditional relationships.
Ratnadeep : How did you come up with the title?
In order to have the best title I came up with a few ideas, then I asked my friends and family for their opinion. It was actually my brother-in-law that came up with the final suggestion and when I saw it I knew that was it.
Could you please enlighten us with the theme of your first book, “Magnetic Reverie”?
It is about a woman’s struggle between her dreams and the reality of love after newly discovering her sexuality. Lana, the main character, lives a perfect life in Washington DC with her husband, Greg. Right in the middle of a peaceful and simple life, she awakens from a dream that ironically reveals a new reality to her that questions the very essence of who she is. Enter Claire, a beautiful young woman who Lana is supposedly in a relationship with. Meandering between Slovenia and Washington DC, betwixt sleeping and waking hours, this love story makes Lana evolve and grow. But a decision must be made. Love wins in the end, undoubtedly, but love for whom?
Ratnadeep : The book explores subtle mentions of the LGBTQ community, how far do you think your character would be relatable to the community and everyone else?
I think it can resonate with any member of LGBT community particularly as they may discover some thoughts and opinions inside my book that could comfort them. Or maybe even help someone to better understand what he/she is feeling? On the other side I wish so much that my message could go beyond that. You see, Lana discovers a new side to herself, something that she had no clue existed! The intensity of the emotions, love, passion and addiction darkened by feelings of remorse forces her to make the toughest choice in life. This could bring anyone awareness to the following questions: How well do we actually know ourselves? Can we dare to say that we really know someone, like really, really know them? Often, we don’t have the slightest clue as to what’s really going on in other people’s hearts or behind closed doors. We are surprised when we find out that someone we know is different from how we thought they were, especially when it comes to the choice of partners! Why must anyone hide the person they love?
Ratnadeep : Love stories have always had the clichéd endings, how did you plan to break past that barrier?
I am not a fan of cliché things, therefore nor is my novel. As a reader I prefer to be intrigued and be offered an ending that I am satisfied with. So I just simply created the ending that I thought would perfectly match my preferences and one which would offer my readers what they were expecting.
Ratnadeep : Personally, do you feel you are an advocate of the LGBTQ rights by the means of your book?
This was my initial thought but then the reaction I received has since confirmed this. Bearing in mind that the majority of my readers are not part of LGBT community. However, in general they all had only great things to say about my book, therefore I think I have succeeded.
Ratnadeep : As an author and as an avid reader, what is your take on climaxes of stories? As in should they be abrupt and open to interpretation or have a specific ending to complete the process of storytelling?
I think my previous answer certainly covers part of this question. Additionally, it is so hard to tell. I know readers have different preferences and a book doesn’t exist that could meet everyone’s desires. Some readers prefer just to read a story not having to bother what’s between the lines. Others love to have their mind tickled. And here I come, as a reader and writer.
Ratnadeep : Coming back to your second book, how much justice could you do as the continuation of the first book?
My second book, ‘Reverie Girl’, is a continuation of my first book and offers the answers to this. I believe it is a perfect addition to the first one from all points of view. The second book will bring the story above the fiction level. It is a reality. We can’t be judged for whom we love and we should always follow our heart in order to live happily.
Ratnadeep : Any unlikely or interesting event that took place in the concluding book of the series?
Of course! Although I wouldn’t like to reveal them here in order not to spoil anything for the readers. What I can tell you is that there is something about India. What makes this even more unique is that I am aware that in India there are still so many people having prejudices. I also continue revealing some interesting places in Slovenia and Croatia and include further information about the culture and history. Still, the main focus is the story itself and the intense emotions.
Ratnadeep : Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?
“I couldn’t understand my feelings. I was in despair, but I didn’t know how to help myself. My heart was crying for Claire, but my mind was fighting against her. I was superficial, trying to bury everything related to her, so I could live a traditional life with a man.”
Ratnadeep : Any advice for budding writers?
Write from your heart and try to be unique. Be persistent and have no expectations whatsoever, merrily hoping that with your writing you will touch as many hearts and minds as possible.
A more practical advice to add: be careful with whom you publish your work. I had to learn a lot from this with my first novel and I wish to prevent anyone else experiencing what I have been through.
RAPID FIRE Q&A
Favourite book – Doppler
Favourite author – Erlend Loe
Favourite food – Eggplant salad, Romanian dish, made by my mother:-)
Favourite movie– Café de Flore
Favourite music – Café de Flore soundtrack
Dream destination – any nice and quiet place with beautiful nature
What’s Love according to you? – A reciprocated feeling that gives colour to your world. Without it, one lives in the shadows.
If your book was made into a film, who would play the role of Lana and Claire?– For Claire I am certain I could see the best fit as Ruby Rose. For Lana, I let Ruby decide 🙂
If not writing, then what would you have done?– I have done many things in life before and during writing. So I would say that beside writing I would do anything else that completes me.
Any regrets in life?– One, I’ve never got the chance to go to a Michael Jackson’s concert 😦
About Nico J. Genes-
Nico J. Genes was born in Romania during communist time in a lovely family with caring parents that helped her, her two sisters and brother had a normal childhood, despite the prevailing harsh system at the time. They encouraged them all to study and to have a better life. From the young age it became clear to Nico that if she wanted more from the life she needed to work hard and pursue her plans. The first time she felt the need to write was when she was the teenager, but finishing studies seemed to have the priority. So she got her master degree in Economics and, up to that point it seemed that her life wasn’t much out of the ordinary. But then everything suddenly started to change. Her life became more out of the ordinary: she experienced living in three countries (Romania, Croatia, Slovenia), learned the languages, traveled, met lots of interesting and different people who helped her have a wider view upon many life issues.
In time she gathered so many thoughts and topics that she felt the urge to write about them, but there was always lack of time. After almost 16 successful years of working in marketing, facing some health issues, she had to quit her dream job in a cosmetic industry. It was then when she realized that her future should take a different course. Having more time for herself, family and friends she felt that writing and helping people is what fulfills her the most. Finally, there wasn’t anything or anyone coming in her way. So she started a new adventure, as an author.
Her first book Magnetic Reverie , published in May 2017, was written on the magical coast of the Adriatic sea in the beautiful city of Šibenik, Croatia. As she had the time and felt the need to speak to the whole world she started doing so through her first book. The main message wrapped up subtly in the romantic novel is to help awaken anyone that still has any prejudices regarding non-traditional relationships.
Besides the novel writing, she is also running a blog where she talks about life issues, trying to be the friend that most everyone would need at a certain point in their life. Two of her blogs have been chosen to be included in an anthology of short stories and poetry called Limitless, to be released in October 2017 as a charity project, to help the victims of war in the Middle East.
Searching continuously her purpose in life Nico feels that she finally found hers. Therefore in the future she is planning to continue her novel writing. Additionally in parallel through her blog she wishes to get closer to people and inspire them. Who knows, maybe even helping somebody else discovering his/her purpose.
When she is not writing, she loves to read, travel, spending time with family and friends, listening to them and make them smile.
Currently, she is living in Slovenia and she is working on her second book.
Her motto: We are all different and it’s OK!
CONNECT WITH HER:
Magnetic Reverie available in India on the following links:
Amazon.in (for kindle): http://amzn.to/2FaY3d3
Pothi.com (for paperback): https://pothi.com/pothi/book/nico-j-genes-magnetic-reverie