- What should we know about you? Please introduce yourself!
Hello! I’m from Slovakia, where I was born in Kežmarok under the High Tatras mountains and live in Bratislava, where I work at the Comenius University. I am a researcher and teacher of botany (I study the ageing and longevity of trees). I’m married and have a two years old daughter. Both me and my husband are historical fencers and love traveling, hiking and nature. You can say I am an artistic person, besides writing I also paint, do several crafts and photography. The thing I’m really not good at is anything related to music, although that doesn’t prevent me from singing, if I feel like it 🙂 I was 7 when Czechoslovakia split, so I understand Czech as well as Slovak. I speak English and German and understand a bit of Polish too, so from the languages involved in the project, Hungarian is the only language I don’t understand.
- How old were you when you started writing?
I have been writing a diary since I learnt how to write, and it is quite interesting to get back to it and read how I perceived the world when I was 7 or 11. (Nowadays I’m at volume 7). That’s how I learnt to better formulate my thoughts. But with actual writing, I think I started 3 times. I first wrote some “poetry” around the age of 8. Then I started writing some actual poems and short stories when I was around 14, but didn’t feel they are good enough. At 19, I started writing Tolkien fanfiction, and with surprise I realized that it’s not bad. That encouraged me to take writing more seriously, and I haven’t stopped with it since then.
- What does writing mean to you? What are your goals with writing?
To me, writing is a means of expressing my creativity. I think when God was distributing it, I got a double dose (maybe triple…), and I need to find an outlet for it. My mind is full of ideas, pictures and stories, and writing is one of several means I have to share them. If I can share them with many people who would find enjoyment in them, that would be a goal fulfilled.
- What kind of books do you like to read?
I fell in love with Tolkien’s books when I first read then, and have been faithful to the fantasy genre since then, with Terry Pratchett coming as a close second favourite. I also like historical fiction, but I enjoy a good story regardless of genre. The best book I read recently was a charming Estonian tale The Man who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirahk.
In Slovak, I most enjoy poetry. My favourite poets are Milan Rúfus, Ján Kostra (I translated his poem Ave Eva to English) and Hviezdoslav, whose literary genius I only grew to appreciate as I got older. In prose, I always enjoy some historical fantasy by Juraj Červenák.
- Who is a Slovak author that you’d recommend?
- Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavol_Orsz%C3%A1gh_Hviezdoslav recently got a new translation of his Bloody sonnets to English
- Milan Rúfus: a few translations of his poems are here – http://www.babelmatrix.org/works/sk-en/R%C3%BAfus%2C_Milan-1928
- Juraj Červenák only in Slovak and Czech so far: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juraj_%C4%8Cerven%C3%A1k
- What works of yours have already been published? What are you currently working on?
For over ten years, I have been working on a fantasy story spanning four books. I am editing book 1 now, so I hope it will be ready for publishing soon. Meanwhiles, I have published a univesity textbook Phylogeny and Morphogeny of Vascular Plants with three co-authors (https://www.cu-istropolitana.eu/produkt/fylogeneza-a-morfogeneza-cievnatych-rastlin/?fbclid=IwAR0BmG5ewLE0Yws1pjnKmyek8aB1dTxC66z1LRKyWLKkw375rY9KRDwxc38).
One story and two poems of mine also appeared this year in an anthology of winning works of the “Gondorian Seedling” contest for art and writing inspired by Tolkien. (https://www.straky.cz/katalog.aspx?Action=Book&BookID=304)
Currently I’m also hoping to find a Slovak publisher for Tolkien’s book Beren and Lúthien, which I translated from English.
My fanfiction stories and poems in English are also available online: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1740140/Mirach (fanfiction) and https://www.deviantart.com/mirachravaia/gallery/10950409/Literature (mostly poetry)
- What is the genre of your published works? What other genres would you be interested in writing?
As I already mentioned, a botany textbook, fanfiction and poetry, but I’m mostly writing fantasy and don’t plan to stop that soon.