Author Interview | Julia Nowak | POL-END 2053 LEO

POL-END is a dystopian thriller by debutant author Julia Nowak. This is the first part of the trilogy. Its first part has already been released and out for the readers. The book involves suspense, mysteries, tension, politics, and a lot of excitement.

Here is an interview with the author, Julia Nowak. She told us about her experience, her writing inspirations, her hobbies, her future plans and much more.

Q1. Please tell us about yourself

I’m Julia Nowak (which you spell like Yulia Novak), I’m 22 years old. I come from Poland, in June I finished BA in International Journalism, now I am doing MA in Creative Writing. Currently, I am working as a Communications Coordinator in a big corporation, although my dream is to be a full-time writer.

Q2. How the idea of writing “POL-END 2053 LEO” came into your mind?

It was a few things at once. The first idea came in early 2019. I had a dream about a girl who lived in very bad conditions, the atmosphere of the dream was dark and creepy. She drank alcohol with her mates, but you could feel this was not a party. She wanted to run away from this place, she was so scared, but she couldn’t do it. When I woke up, I wrote down this dream and I prepared the first sketch of POL-END. You can say that the story came to me itself. Then, I took part in a big contest ‘Utopia of XXI century’ which was supposed to be very positive and optimistic. While writing a short story for this I saw how much new technological solutions may turn out to be bad actually. Technology can be hacked, technology doesn’t have a soul, and technology is created by very rich companies. I am very interested in politics, and I saw how ‘utopias’ may turn into prisons and labor camps quickly. Money and media can do anything these times. I started to write POL-END around December 2019. And when 2020 started, with the pandemic, new technologies, politicians, and companies who took advantage of the pandemic to earn huge amount of money, with politics who took away people’s freedom, that was it. I felt kind of like a fortune teller, and at the same time, I knew my story is very up-to-date. I decided to add pandemic follow-ups to the story because it fitted perfectly.

Q3. This is your debut as an author. How has been your experience from writing to publishing the book?

I had an opportunity to write long stories before for contests and literary grants, although it was something different. I had a topic, some frames, and my work finished while sending my story to the organizer.

I love writing, and I finished the story quite fast, around March 2020. I wrote it in Polish, and I sent it to publishing houses, but because of the Polish publishing market (which very rarely invest their money in debutants), and pandemic, no one responded. I am not a quitter, so I decided that I will translate the whole book into English, and launch it on Amazon KDP. Translating to English was a huge issue since it’s not my native language. It was tremendous work. Later I struggled with all technical issues. I had to proofread the text, format it, create a cover. It taught me a lot.

Q4. Is there anything you would like to tell your readers about your book that isn’t there in the blurb?

Yes. I would like to underline that the story is for adults and add a trigger warning. Although the story may be in a similar genre like the Hunger Games or Divergent, I’ve chosen the New Adult instead of the Young Adult category. There are cursing, rape, blood, and violence inside.

Q5. What challenges did you face while writing this dark fiction genre?

The logical gaps and descriptions of emotions. First, because I wanted my story to be logical. Dystopian books very often have a common issue. We have “bad people”, government, company, you name it. But we don’t know actually why they are bad. Sometimes there is a war mentioned, but still, we don’t have the actual reason. The characters are black and white. Bad rulers vs. poor and sad citizens. In my book, the Praetorium actually had a reason for creating POL-END. The characters are not good or bad. Every one of them is gray. In the next parts, I want to deepen this grayish picture of characters.

When it comes to emotions, I am quite good at describing them in Polish, since our language is very rich and flexible. Thanks to this it’s one of the hardest languages in the world, but at the same time, it allows creating beautiful descriptions. When I translated things into English, I had a huge problem. For example, we can say the word “f*ck” in at least twenty ways (or more if you have an imagination for cursing). I also lacked the vocabulary in the urban language.

Q6. What are the other genres you like to read? Mention some of your favorite books.

I like to read various genres. When I was younger I read a lot of dark fantasy and fiction about vampires, witches, and magic. Then I fell in love with the world’s classics of literature and psychological thrillers. When I was studying Journalism, I had access to this huge student library and I read a lot of non-fiction books about psychology, sociology, mental illnesses, and pathologies. Ya know, cases of murderers, sociopaths, rapists, things like that. It was creepy and scary, but by reading those books I was also researching my future books.

My favorite author is definitely Haruki Murakami. I love the way he describes things. He makes even ordinary things magical and surreal.

My favorite books by now (except for Murakami’s) are 1984 by George Orwell, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and The Trial by Franz Kafka.

Q7. What are the most important elements of good writing according to you?

Firstly, the writer needs to pick the most suitable narrative and tense and stick to it. Secondly, if you pick a first-person narrative, a narrator must have a personality. Thirdly, show, don’t tell. Don’t explain everything to the reader, don’t treat your audience like toddlers. Let them discover everything by themselves, use their imagination. And finally, always think about the ending. The story has to start intriguing and finish with a mind-blow.

Q8. What do you like to do other than writing?

I write and draw from an early age, these are my two passions. I like traditional drawing/painting but I also try to learn some digital design. Besides I like learning languages and traveling. I speak Polish, English, Russian and I learn German and Italian. When I was younger I learned a little bit Japanese, because I was a manga/anime fan. I traveled a lot across Europe and spent a semester in Greece during my studies. I would like to travel the world and see all of those beautiful things it has to offer. I also follow politics daily.

Q9. What are your plans for the other two parts of the book? What are the future projects you are currently working on?

For now, I focus on POL-END (but I do have other projects in mind, from a different genre). I love POL-END and I have in mind the storyline for the next two parts. Of course, I don’t want to spoil you the pleasure of reading, but I can say I have a lot of plot-twists ideas for a thrill ride.

I called the first part LEO because Leo was a narrator. I wanted every part to be narrated by someone else, to make the narrative more interesting and show different points of view. The second part will be told from Candy’s point of view. A short blurb is that Candy will be saved from dying by the Praetorium… So the second part will be happening in Praetorium’s HQ. I would like to show you the big-bad-company, its employees, motivations. Prepare for a huge story! The main topic of LEO was the Great Escape, a struggle to survive. The main topic of CANDY will be something absolutely different, the psychological and mental sphere will be deepened. The script is ready, I’ve already started to write down the first chapters. I hope to publish the book in mid-2021. Stay tuned!

Thank you so much Julia for your time and best of luck for your future projects :)

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