A behind-the-scenes look into life as a 16-year-old published author, travel blogger and cucumber salad loving world explorer.
Personal insights, everyday adventures, DOTG updates and so much more!
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Of All That Was Given and All That Was Received
December 23rd, 2017
Hello DOTG Blog readers!
Can you believe it’s been exactly 1 year since I started this blog? 365 days since I sat in my bedroom in New Jersey, tapping away at my laptop keyboard, my heart beating with a desire to start sharing the highs and lows and all the Behind-The-Scenes happenings that come with setting off an intercontinental book tour with all the adventures of becoming a published author at 14.
So my dear friends, Happy Anniversary to us!
I wanted to also express to you my deep gratitude and let you know how much it has meant to me to be able to share my stories here with you. Even though I have posted here a little erratically, sharing these experiences as we have traveled, has been one of the most treasured and therapeutic aspects of all the avenues of my writing.
So thank you!
Thank you all for being here and simply taking the time to listen.
But if I close my eyes now, I can see every single one. Every school, library, bookstore, homeschooling group, conference and community of learning we visited or had the honour of being invited to. I can see the smiles of every student, teacher, librarian, book lover, traveler, life-learner, writer and friend we met. Our shared conversations and laughter. The questions we had for each other and the stories we told one another. It is without the faintest trace of insincerity that I say, I will never forget the experiences we had and how all your stories have indelibly touched my heart.
It’s been a full year of touring, one that started in January with the East Coast Leg of Dawn of the Guardian’s 2017 North American Book Tour and ended in December, after 4 months of nonstop events all across Hungary, with the newly released Hungarian version of Dawn of the Guardian: Az Őrző Hajnala.
Every single time I walk into a bookstore in Hungary and see my book up on the shelves, rubbing shoulders with some of my most favourite authors, I have to stop myself from reverting to that giddy 8-year-old girl who would run into her local library to see if the books she’d put on hold were finally delivered. It’s incredible and extremely humbling and it is with an endless amount of gratitude that I can say, this year has been one of the most rewarding ones along our travels so far.
Standing outside the home our generous hosts, Emi Néni and Pista Bácsi in New Jersey on New Year’s Eve, watching the fireworks go off above New York City, the sparks glittering like the snowflakes falling down upon my hair, I could never have imagined what lay ahead. I had an inkling. An idea at best. A dream.
So much has happened this year. It’s overwhelming even thinking about it. We’ve traveled coast to coast across the United States and Canada, bringing our state and province tally to 38 and 4 respectively. We’ve traversed Mexico, roaming from one end of the Yucatan Peninsula to the other, before escaping to the cool relief of the mountains of Mexico City and the decidedly less humidifying San Miguel de Allende.
We’ve road-tripped across Scotland, England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Transylvania. Time has passed in a strange mixture of a frozen clock and the blink of an eye.
It’s even more mind-blowing to know that we’ve had well over 100 Dawn of the Guardian Book Events worldwide this year!
It almost seems surreal.
I can say with all honesty though, the year was not without its considerable challenges. The entire North American tour was in peril of being unrecoverable, delayed to the point that we had to rearrange the whole US tour and its dates, due to the promise of a transport sponsorship by a leading RV company that wasn’t able to materialise in time. This also put considerable strain on our hosts, and we are so truly thankful to the entire Tamás family for their understanding and patience in hosting us over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s period. In the end, our Motorhome sponsor’s commitment to creating a workable solution, albeit not the one we had discussed, enabled us to get underway in January, and for this, we are sincerely grateful to Thor Motorhomes and in particular Ken Julian for his own personal generosity and support. We are also so truly grateful to our dear friend Orlando, who in Canada, generously welcomed us into his hearth and home for well-needed respite and the launching platform for the entire Canadian and East-Coast US Tour.
The cost of self-funding and touring the US, even though we travel in an innovative and highly economical manner, was at times very challenging and even left us questioning what our next steps would be. Mexico, however, was a turning point for us, and I can share that the beautiful people we met, many of whom, like us, were already traveling the world, gave us inspiration, new direction and greatly needed support and encouragement to see the North American leg of the journey through to its completion.
You see, at the start, I imagined the success I wanted to see for Dawn of the Guardian in a bit of a grand vision, but I came to realise, over the course of the year, that these treasures could only be realised in full, if I was able to focus myself in the moment of each experience I was in, day-by-day, month-by-month, moment-by-moment. The moments I was living, sharing, savouring and enjoying, the memories that I made, these sum up the success I realised, and in this way, they were all sweet.
This much needed experience, only added to my appreciation of the Hungarian leg of the tour, which, incorporated 36 separate presentations and over 30 different media interviews, including, national and regional TV, Radio, Newsprint and Magazines, all of whom were intently and genuinely interested in the book and our journey as a family. This culminated in both my Hungarian language knowledge improving with exponential capacity, along with my first full-length TEDx presentation talk at the TEDxYouth@Budapest conference on November 25th. Along our tour, it seems we got to visit almost every corner of Transylvania and Hungary and I am sincerely grateful for all the new friends, acquaintances and supporters we made. I am also very grateful to my publisher and all the team at Kolibri for all the support and energy they invested in seeing the book translated and through to publication.
And so the curtain closes on another year and I sit tapping to you on the same keyboard on the same laptop, in another bedroom, only this time in Jordan. Quite a jump from New Jersey. With all the events in Hungary, I am also currently elbow deep in writing Dawn of the Guardian’s sequel. However, for the first time in 12 months, I am experiencing a strange yet much welcomed tranquility. One of reflection, rejuvenation and recognition for the people I love.
I know where I’ll be… Sitting with my family, indulging in the amazing array of Middle Eastern food Jordan has to offer, watching Christmas movies, enjoying time with my cousins, talking with my Aunt and giving thanks for all that was learnt and all that was shared... For all that was given and all that was received.
With this thought, I want to wish you all much peace, joy and prosperity. May it sustain you all throughout the coming year. May you be merry with the ones you love and those who love you.
And now, as I reach the end of Dawn of the Guardian’s last post for 2017, and as we celebrate the end of one year and look to the beginning of the next, I want to sincerely thank you, with heartfelt appreciation for all your support this year, and send you my love and gratitude across the screen to wherever you may be in the world.
Dawn of the Guardian International Tour Complete, Return to Budapest and
DOTG Hungarian Release Launching Sept. 1st!
August 24th, 2017
Until then I’ll be here… jumping up and down on my bed.
To all of you who are interested in purchasing a Hungarian copy of Dawn of the Guardian, you can preorder a copy via the Kolibri website. Also once launch day comes, you’ll be able to pick up your very own copy from any Libri bookstore in Hungary.
Also to all my Hungarian readers out there, we will be announcing the tour dates very soon via Kolibri Kiadó and here via my Dawn of the Guardian Events page, so do keep your eyes open for that as I would love to be able to meet you in person.
With Summer still in full swing here in Budapest, don’t forget to check out @dawnoftheguardian on Instagram for a look at what adventures we’re getting up to, as well as updates and more!
The next couple of months will see us calling Hungary home once more, at least all the way up to the Holiday season in December. After being on the road for so long I’m very much looking forward to being able to unpack for a little while, and finally have a space to be able to complete writing Dawn of the Guardian’s sequel that’s not from the backseat of our car. :-)
I almost cannot believe that this journey has come to an end. Nine months ago, I stood at the cusp of Dawn of the Guardian's International Book Tour, the long road still ahead of me, the mountains still waiting to be climbed, the stories yet to be told.
When we left 3 years ago for Spain, in the (successful) attempt to escape another bitterly cold Winter, I couldn’t have imagined the circumstances under which we would be returning. A book contract with the country’s largest publishing company and chain bookstore, and press, media and book tour events that currently have me torn between a state of euphoria and shock.
I am so grateful to the incredible team at Libri and Kolibri Publishing and it is with exhilaration, elation, anticipation and a whole lot of gratitude that we’ll be launching Dawn of the Guardian’s Hungarian sister: Az Őrző hajnala on September 1st, 2017!
Now, after 50 events spanning Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada and Mexico, the curtain has dropped on this phase of my journey. The chapter has ended but the book goes on. It's been a crazy ride but if I could have only one word to describe this rollercoaster, it would be transformative.
And if I had to do it all again tomorrow, all the stressful days, 12-hour car rides, uncertain moments and long nights, I would. Because it would mean I would get to see you all again. I would get to answer your questions, see your smiles, hear your laughter, listen to your stories, and become your friend. And that is worth everything.
I would choose you always.
Without a doubt, in a heartbeat.
You have changed my life in ways I could not imagine and inspired me just as the stars inspire the sky and the moon inspires the sea.
Dawn of the Guardian has grown to become the book I felt in my heart it would be. And I cannot wait to read you its next chapter.
May we meet again along this path of life. May we share words and stories and smiles once more. Thank you.
Now for some exciting news! After 3 years away, we have finally returned to the city where it all began: Budapest. This sparkling cultural masterpiece of central Europe, the place where I wrote the entire first draft of Dawn of the Guardian and my old home.
I HAVE A BOOK CONTRACT!
These five words have stayed dormant within me for the past couple of weeks but today, on World Book Day, I knew that it was finally time to share them with you all - to let the whispers turn to beautiful, bold words and be carried up above the rafters and out to the wide open sky.
I have a book contract!
The excitement I feel is almost surreal, especially after having placed so much love and passion into this dream of mine.
April 23rd, 2017
A year ago I brought my dream to life and became a published author at 14. In the twelve months that followed, I found I had a strange, new fire burning in my heart. A fire that brought forth some of the most incredible experiences of travel and connections of friendship. A fire that brandished a determination to share Dawn of the Guardian’s story with the world.
And it is the incredible humans that grace my life… past, present and future. The ones tied to me by blood. The ones tied to me by soul. The ones who I have yet to touch who I owe my most heartfelt thanks to. You are my inspiration on the days when the sky seems to be devoid of sunlight and it is the moments shared together, echoing outwards as if I had skipped a stone over a silent lake that have given me a gift that is priceless in its worth. The gift of appreciation.
I want to finish with a single moment I captured during our time in Paris last summer. A moment that became a treasured memory that continues to inspire me to this day. We were staying in a charming house on the outskirts of the city and one morning our hostess came over for a delicious breakfast of home-baked bread, cheese and fruit freshly bought from the farmer’s market down the block. While everyone else had met Shirel before, it was the first time I was making her acquaintance. I learnt that she was an acclaimed film director and screenwriter who’d been nominated for a Best Screenplay Award. Soon, we were all in deep conversation with Shirel, discussing everything from her years as a student at film school in England and the projects she worked on as a young director, to her recently released film Atlit and the inspiration behind it and even things like the conflicts and arguments directors and writers can sometimes encounter with each other as rival creative influences behind a project.
“But we are all artists in the end,” Shirel spoke as she slowly stirred a cup of coffee. Her eyes were sharp as she leaned in close to me. “I am an artist… and so are you.” Everyone fell silent around the table. I held Shirel’s gaze as she spoke: “Everyone thinks to be an artist you must imagine, dream… But everyone can imagine or dream a dream. It takes a true artist to be a decision maker. Someone who can say firmly ‘this is my vision’ and then follow it through to the end.”
It’s been just over a year since we self-published and launched my book, Dawn of the Guardian (DOTG). And what a year it has been. It has seen us travel over 40,000 kilometres / 25,000 miles, taking DOTG on its very first International Book Tour to over 7 countries, visiting schools, libraries, bookstores and independent communities of learning and connecting with children, teens and adults alike. Truly, it has been you, the people, that have made this year such a brilliant success and such an extraordinary experience. Your support, your encouragement, your friendship shared across time and space. You make every hectic day and every sleepless night worth it and it has been an honour and a privilege to have met you and become a part of your story.
For you are all forever intertwined with mine. And I will never forget the power that stories can wield. It was through a story that the incredible team at Libri Publishing Group and Kolibri Publishing found me. The contract we have forged of agency and publishing signals the start of a new chapter in Dawn of the Guardian’s journey, as well as my own. I can’t wait to work with the creative minds within this inspiring company and to embark on this literary adventure!
The road ahead lies open, waiting to be paved with the stories of the future. The ones yet to be written. The ones yet to be told. The ones yet to be lived. I sit in the downstairs study of our rented adobe in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on the cusp of beginning the writing process of Dawn of the Guardian’s sequel and what I know is that while challenges lie ahead of me, with mountains to be climbed and oceans to be charted, and a whole new book to be written… those challenges are given to me with a purpose. Every experience teaches something new. And life is adventure, waiting to be seized in every single moment.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget those words and the way she spoke them, softly but with so much power in every letter of each word. Then the cat leapt up onto the table, nearly knocking the orange juice jug to smithereens… and the moment was over.
I am so very excited about every single aspect of partnering with Libri Publishing Group and Kolibri Publishing and I know that our collaborations will bring forth many a wonderful vision. I so look forward to sharing this journey with you all.
Now back in Ottawa, although we’ve had a tiny bit of rest and recuperation while taking refuge inside, it's been a hectic couple of weeks with planning and organising the next phase of this Book Tour. Watching from our windows all the different types of magical snowflakes fall for almost three days non-stop, we couldn't resist getting out there and finally building a snowman. We named him Xavier and for a few days, he gloriously shimmered day and night for us. Then we watched the Winter wonderland around us melt to snirt. (Snow + Dirt = Snirt) The temperature skyrocketed to almost +10C and now all that’s left of Xavier are the two sprigs of firtree we used for his eyebrows and a sad pile of shrunken snow. RIP Xavier. You will be missed.
We'll soon begin our month-long migration South, along Dawn of the Guardian’s Tour, destination: Miami, Florida. Oh am I looking forward to the warm sunshine again!
It’s truly been an amazing Winter and with Spring right around the corner, I wanted to take a moment and express my deepest thanks to all the people we have met along this circuit loop, for all the support we have received and kindness we have encountered.
Hello from snowy Ottawa! ❅︎
We’ve just recently returned from a circuit loop of the Atlantic Northeast along Dawn of the Guardian’s Book Tour! We had the chance to visit numerous cities across Canada and the USA, including Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Brunswick in Maine, Boston and the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, finally returning to Ottawa.
It was an incredible two weeks of connecting with and presenting at communities, schools, libraries and even a Scientific Society.
It’s these moments and I can’t wait to experience more of them. With some very exciting news just around the corner and the open road beckoning, make sure you stay tuned!
February 23rd, 2017
From powering through our very first snowstorm to reach the warm spirited Homeschooler Communidée in Montreal to sharing my story with over 150 enthusiastic and brilliant students in Fredericton’s Public Library, to driving through Stephen King country in Maine and watching the sparks of creativity catch during my Writer’s Workshop, to connecting with Boston's Hungarian Community, as well as presenting at a Scientific Society, I want to say Thank You So Very Much!
What truly impacts me are those moments when a bunch of fifth graders come up to you after a presentation and ask for a hug. When you get to meet with one of your best friends for the first time and as one of your first adventures together, decide to sled backwards into a swamp. When you connect over a round of the game Bang! transporting us from beside the fireplace into the heart of the wild west... And when you stay up past midnight talking and laughing with new friends because you know that in the morning you’ll have to part ways.
East Atlantic Adventures, A Snowman Called Xavier and A Humungous Thank You!
So now along those very same lines… It is time for the news that is literally making my hands shake with excitement as I type these words: Dawn of the Guardian’s North American Tour Dates have been revealed!
I can’t wait to spend the next months taking Dawn of the Guardian all across the continent but most importantly, I cannot wait to meet all of you! It’s definitely been a precarious last few weeks trying to get the outline of our route planned and the task has held many a challenge, not just for me individually, but also for all four of us as a family, but I know we have all come out stronger and far more resilient because of it.
If you do have a town, city or mountain top village you would like for us to visit, you must let us know now!
So hop on over to the Contact page and make sure to send me an email if you want us to visit a school, library, bookstore, community centre or Pomegranate Festival near you.
In other news, I was up at 2:30am the other night, trying to catch up on my own reading (which I’ve heinously neglected) when I got a notification on YouTube for a video titled The Best Books of 2016. Guess which book made the list? If you guessed Dawn of the Guardian you would be correct. It was even more of a wonderful surprise when I found out who had posted the video: Self confessed book nerd, reader and reviewer extraordinaire, ukulele enthusiast and my dear friend and online pen pal Julianne Marie!
Don’t forget to check out the video and leave a like and subscribe to Julianne’s channel!
I will actually get to meet Julianne for the very first time when we head to New Brunswick this month and while our glorious three-hour Skype conversations have been absolute bliss, I cannot wait to get to see her and to experience some of Canada’s stunning Winter together.
As this is the first full Winter I am experiencing in 3 years I must say, it has definitely been an experience! On one hand I absolutely love the invigorating cold that comes with crisp Winter mornings, the coziness of being able to curl up inside with a book and a warm cup of tea and of course the thrill of waking up and looking out the window to find the world completely blanketed in a thick layer of pure white snow. In those moments, I find myself inhabiting the spirit of a child and the only thing that stops me from prancing about in the Winter wonderland all day is the fact that hypothermia literally starts to encase my toes after ten minutes. After that, it’s back to warm drinks, blog writing and good books until the next time I forget enough to go back outside.
Happy New Year from the entire DOTG Family!
As we are all still on the first few blank pages of a 365 page book, I want to encourage you all to embrace the possibilities that each dawn brings and to remember that every single sunrise is a new beginning.
May your days be bright, your curiosity be bold and your adventures be everlasting!
I know a lot of people were saying that 2016 was a terrible year and the common consensus seemed to be that we were all very happy to see it go… but I have to disagree.
2016 was an absolutely incredible year for not just Dawn of the Guardian, but for my family and I and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the places we traveled, the adventures we experienced, the people we met, the connections we made and the dreams that became reality.
Another reason why I will always remember 2016 as a blazing beam of light is because it was the year I finally brought Dawn of the Guardian into existence as a published novel. It has only been 8 months since that magical night of beginnings in Carlton, Melbourne and already the people I have met and the experiences I have lived because of it have been unparalleled, irreplaceable and completely and utterly priceless. I cannot wait to see what new adventures 2017 will bring and where Dawn of the Guardian will travel!
North American Tour Dates Revealed,
How Travel Inspires Me To Write and What It’s Like Experiencing Winter For The First Time In 3 Years!
However, we’re all getting ready for a much anticipated change of scenery for with the announcement of the tour dates also comes the embarkation of adventure!
We have now left behind New Jersey and New York City and have set out onto the open road, first stop: Ottawa, Canada! It is the first time we are returning to Canada in almost three and half years and I cannot wait to return to some of our favourite places, reunite with some incredible people and to create some more marvellous memories!
Because truly, it is traveling and the real untampered emotions you feel when you explore a new place or meet a new person that constantly inspire me to write.
You may already know (because I just can’t stop talking about it) that this last autumn, my family and I had the chance to visit Scotland and its Highlands. It was a time that was the very embodiment of enchantment. There was just something about the way the lights sparkled over Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat and the way the wild Highland air seemed to make every single particle of my body sing with life that instantly enthralled me.
It wasn’t the only destination that had ever beguiled me so. The last place where I had felt so at home instantly was Arcos de la Frontera, deep in the heart of Andalusia, Spain, the shining white washed town that was the birthplace of Dawn of the Guardian.
It made me realise just how much travel played a part and has always played a part in guiding me along my journey of writing, how much the everyday sights, sounds and smells had impacted me and how they had translated across in the mannerisms and personalities of the characters I wrote.
At the very beginning, I found that almost everyone would say: “Write what you know,” but when I started writing Dawn of the Guardian, all I had was the name of a brown eyed, black dog and my infinite imagination. I never envisioned that what I would write would have a truth to it, that a fantasy fiction adventure novel could hold fragments of myself within every single letter or punctuation mark. But it did.
There aren’t too many times growing up when you just stop and pause for a second, look around and realise what a crucial moment you are living. In that moment you just know, that when you look back one day, you’ll know that it will be this moment you will remember, that rare moment when you caught yourself becoming older, as if for just a fleeting few seconds it was as if you had stepped outside of your own body and were a stranger to yourself.
You watch as you change right before your very eyes, the words you spoke echoing in your ears, the people that surrounded you, no matter how unfamiliar, always there, always present in that memory.
I was in Montclair Library, New Jersey, standing before a Home Ed Book Club just seconds before I was about to speak when a moment like this happened to me. It was my very first event of Dawn of the Guardian’s North American leg of its Book Tour and I had spent the last two days working over my speech, usually reserved for Traditional School Visits or Assemblies, trying to find the perfect balance between easy-going and thought provoking, between memorable and serendipitous.
After all, this was a last minute invitation to a Home Ed group meet-up that also included me giving a short talk on Dawn of the Guardian and my journey to publication. In short, I was laying my dreams out before them. I didn’t want to sound too formal or at the same time, too casual. I was collecting my thoughts about to address this group of children and teenagers and their parents when I realised my hands were shaking but strangely, not from the nerves that have plagued me leading up to this very moment.
Whenever I try to explain the uncanny feeling of your stomach turning inside out like a washing machine gone mad, most people nod sympathetically before quickly following up with the words “But once you’re out there in front of everyone, you forget all about it don’t you? It just comes naturally and you can just talk.”
Then it’s my turn to nod, trying to hide the fact that I’m not sure that I do forget. That no matter it be an Interview, a Presentation or a Public Speaking Engagement I’m always in a state of hyper awareness, conscious of every single movement and every single question and that my blood will only stop pounding like a drum when it is all said and done. The truth is, I’m never entirely sure what’s going to happen when I step out in front of a new group, my dream curled within my fingers, raw and real, and that behind my smile, I’m wishing with all my might, for nothing to go wrong and for my way with words not to freeze up like a lake encased with ice after a dark and brittle winter’s night.
And so, there I stood, counting down the seconds to what I could only imagine would be a silence so very loud, watching the mother who leads Montclair’s Home Ed Book Club, the woman I had met only three minutes ago, to turn and face me so I know that it is my time to speak. She swivels around, so very slowly, her smile bright, her eyes encouraging and in that moment my muscles weaken and all at once it is as if I am floating.
I see myself, my spine slightly curved and my ankles turned inwards by nerves. And all at once, as if a bright, clarifying spotlight has shone down onto me, I am forced to look my fear straight in the eye and in that same moment, I see it for all it is. All the intricacies, all the complexities, all so startlingly simple.
I take a step forward, clutching a copy of Dawn of the Guardian. My hands stop shaking and I push the hair out of my eye with a calm burning inside of me that I don’t remember experiencing before and then, as if we were all long lost friends, reunited after a journey and not just a group of people brought together by a shared love of books, I begin to speak.
And for the first time and yet not, I know what it feels like to forget, to let the words flow like a waterfall, for the right word placed at the right time is like magic. It is only when I am done, after those peculiarly blurry, yet incredibly lucid four minutes that I know that when you open your heart out before people you have not yet met and lay your dreams into the palm of their hands, they will handle them with a care and kindness that you can only marvel at and that to trust is everything. But I had known this all along.
I see these children and teenagers before me and I see my life reflected in their eyes and then without anyone knowing at all, I have changed. I have grown and I am not who I was just a few seconds ago. Without travel, without leaving my own little corner of the world and forcing myself into new and even uncomfortable situations, I never would have experienced that same all absorbing passion for writing and never truly looked deep into the very depths of my soul and listened to the whispers of my dreams.
January 17th, 2017
I also know that soon, very soon, you will be getting another update, this time with the dates and places that Dawn of the Guardian will soon travel to. Some of you may smile and send me well wishes in your thoughts, some of you might delete my email and unsubscribe altogether, but I also know that some of you will bookmark the date, reserve the time and journey to the crossroads where we will finally meet. I look forward to that moment more than you will ever know.
I want to finish by saying that I might not be your run-of-the-mill Author with your run-of-the-mill Updates and your run-of-the-mill Meet & Greets and Book Signings. But you know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m overjoyed. Because we’re going to build something, you and I. We’re going to build a bond that can last through distance and through time. Jodi Picoult once said that “The act of reading is a partnership. The author builds the house but the reader makes it home.” I want you to know that every single one of you is vital to my journey. That now, while I look forward to emails from my favourite authors, I no longer live for them. Instead, my heart ticks like a bomb waiting to explode against my ribcage when a message whooshes into my inbox and it is from you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. There will be many more to come! I will be sharing everyday, personal insights into Dawn of the Guardian’s journey and the path I walk with it.
Réka here, Author of fantasy fiction adventure novel Dawn of the Guardian, chief storyteller at my travel blog of Dreamtime Traveler and your cucumber salad loving 15yo world explorer.
It has come to my attention that I can start a blog here on Goodreads / Dawnoftheguardian.com
A blog dedicated to three of my favourite things in the entire cosmos: reading and writing and of course, Dawn of the Guardian!
According to Goodreads, by starting a blog I can also:
✧ Start a following
✧ Keep my followers up to date
✧ Provide all of you, my beautiful readers with extra details about my book and upcoming books!
However… I wanted to create this blog for one other reason. You might be thinking what else could possibly be more important than reading and writing, but the truth is, I wanted to be able to share the personal journey behind Dawn of the Guardian and connect directly with all of you, my cherished readers.
As many of you might already know, we have embarked on Dawn of the Guardian’s 2016/2017 International Book Tour.
*happy dance* We have already been on the road for nearly 8 weeks on the first phase of the tour, which has seen us travel to schools, libraries, bookstores and communities of learning in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, York, Durham, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Oxford, Farnham and London. It has been an incredible UK roadtrip, a truly rewarding and treasured experience to be able to meet and connect with so many inspiring children, teens, adults and families as we travel! This first phase of the tour has already become a defining factor in Dawn of the Guardian’s journey and I am still buzzing with gratitude.
But now I want to be able to share these experiences. The early mornings racing through traffic to get to a school engagement on time, the Home Ed Meet & Greet that turned into an afternoon Kundalini Yoga session and my innermost thoughts and feelings as I take my dream on the road.
Let’s start right now.
Recently I’ve been trying to pretend that everything in my life has been going absolutely perfectly. I’ve been trying to wash the windows that look onto this Book Tour so that not even a speck could mar the crystal clear glass. But close to three weeks ago, we got to a point where the window almost cracked.
We were sitting in the living room of our London accommodation, two days after DOTG’s UK leg of the Book Tour had ‘officially’ ended, with no tickets to our next destination and no funds to purchase them. You see, we have been self-funding Dawn of the Guardian’s journey since the moment it was born. The editing, typesetting, illustrating, publishing and now all the marketing you see surrounding DOTG has been completely financed by us or my closest family.
The truth is that not everything has been 100% peachy keen along this Book Tour and I’ve finally begun to realise that nothing in this life truly is. What I mean is that there is always more going on than what we see, always a behind the scenes rope that holds everything in place and sometimes that rope becomes so frayed that it is within millimetres of snapping altogether. I’ve had quite a few moments where the rope was stretched to its most extreme. However, no-one outside of our closest family ever sees those days where everything is so fragile that even a simple whisper could shatter everything.
But the problem isn’t that we never see these trials and tribulations; it’s that most of us are taught to pretend they never existed at all. As a 15-year-old author who published her first book at 14 and began to write it at 12, I have become extremely aware of the literary world and the standards many of my fellow authors are forced to uphold. The reality is that many of us have to hide away our everyday worries and anxieties because if we share them, we risk alienating an audience that may have only gathered in our theatre to hear about our professional work; namely our books. I’ve seen quite a few of my favourite authors suffer from a fear of becoming too personal, of sharing too much or of losing the high ground as an author, and in doing so they become distant, even a little bit contemptuous, and alienate their readers anyway.
A common encouragement among debut authors is “Do you know how many times J.K. Rowling was rejected at the beginning? Now look where she is!”
The tale of J.K. Rowling has become internationally renowned, how she was a single mother living in Edinburgh, Scotland and how she worked on her writing in a little cafe during the day because the apartment they were living in was too cold to house her and her daughter. The reason this story has become so inspirational isn’t because J.K. Rowling defied all odds to become the international success she is today. It's because the story is personal. Genuine. Authentic. Real. It goes behind the glaze that not just authors, but everyday people put up in order to pretend that their lives are perfect.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done the exact same thing many times before. The world wants you to believe that admitting defeat makes you weak. But to be able to bleed and to bleed openly is really a sign of strength.
Dawn Of The Guardian's First Blog Post:
What Type Of Author I Want To Be and More!
As we are at the start of DOTG’s 2016/2017 North American Book Tour, there will be much news to share on that front, and I also can’t wait to share reflections and stories from the first 6 weeks of DOTG’s UK Tour that took us through the magical Highlands of Scotland and the glorious green countryside of England to the schools, libraries and Home Ed Groups that captured my heart.
With this in mind, I want to be real. Not just a pale hologram through your phone or computer screen. I want to be able to be approachable. I don’t want to be an author that can only connect with their readers through explosive new monthly updates about how they can win an exciting giveaway.
Now don’t get me wrong, those are great and I live for the moments when I get an email from one of my favourite authors announcing something new. But… I find that these emails, more often than rare, can be quite impersonal. I speak now not as an author but as an avid lover of so many incredible books and their authors when I say that I want to feel a part of their journey, a part of not only the fantastical carpet ride their book takes me on through my imagination, but also in real life.
Back in March of this year (2016), just a few meagre weeks before the launch of Dawn of the Guardian, I received an email from one of my absolute favourite authors. I won’t mention who, but it was a reply to an email I’d written to him (asking for advice he might be able to offer to a young, debut author) and one that I hadn’t expected to receive any response to. It had been a harsh couple of weeks at that point, trying to gain endorsements from other authors in my genre and coming up short each time. Those that did reply always had a polite, albeit dispassionate refusal, citing reasons such as “Not wanting to read a manuscript because then they might accidentally copy some of it into their current work.” “Too busy for anything but preparing for their own launches and book tours.” and “That they have publishers who employ publicists to do that sort of work - something they (the author) were very happy about!”
I completely understood and respect every single one of these reasons but I would be lying if I said I hadn't begun to lose a little faith in my fellow authors. I vowed right then and there that no matter what heights Dawn of the Guardian might reach that I would always do my utmost to help or assist anyone who might find themselves in my position.
Anyway, you can imagine my excitement when this email from one of my absolute favourite authors whooshed into my inbox. All at once a giddy lightness entered my head, a feeling I can only equate to when we were at 5000 meters high in the Peruvian Andes. I sat down at my desk, my heart ticking like a bomb waiting to explode against my ribcage and read the email. And laughed. And cried. And smiled until I could no longer feel my cheekbones because it was kind. It was encouraging. And it spurred me on to continue. Three days later I got my endorsement.
These are the moments that have kept me from giving up. The moments a great author, someone I admire, took the time out of their day to offer some advice to a young, debut author. The moments when I go on Youtube to find that a Booktuber has given Dawn of the Guardian its first ‘Vlog’ and the moments when children younger than I, come up to me and ask me questions about writing and reading and say that one day they want to be an author too.
It hasn’t been easy writing this post, sharing some of the most incredibly personal moments along our journey so far but as my fingers begin to tire from typing on my laptop keyboard and my first Dawn of the Guardian / Goodreads blog post comes to a close, it is as if the proverbial weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m looking out the window now, here in my bedroom in New Jersey at the first snow (because yes, the stars aligned and the funds came together for us to purchase our tickets across the Atlantic) and I can see only the possibility in everything. Four days ago, it was so hot and sunny we were walking around in shorts and t-shirts. Today, we might as well be in the middle of Winter. What I take away from this wild weather is the realisation that things can change in the blink of an eye. Opportunities you could not see before, suddenly unearth themselves and what we don’t see is that they were there all along.
We are now on the cusp of the second leg in DOTG’s 2016/2017 International Book Tour and North America beckons. I don’t know exactly how everything will pan out just yet and I might never have everything planned to the nth degree, but I am secure in the knowledge that everything happens for a reason. That I am the cause of that reason and that until then, I will laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and work until my dreams come true.
December 4th, 2016
Réka Kaponay is a 16-year-old passionate writer and blogger, turning her dream of becoming a professional writer and published author into reality at the age of 14. At 12 years of age, Réka was inspired by a trip to Andalusia, Spain, to write her first full-length adventure-mystery novel… Dawn of the Guardian, published on 31st March 2016 and also published in Hungarian, titled Az Őrző Hajnala, on 1st September 2017 by Kolibri Publishing.
Réka began writing at a very early age creating short stories and entering local writing competitions. Her love for relating stories intensified when, in 2012, her family started out on a continuous world-traveling journey of learning and exploration. She has since traveled to 44 countries on six continents and now has a readership of over 15,000 people to her blog Dreamtime Traveler.
Réka’s journey has been one of learning and listening to people’s stories, immersing herself in their mindset, viewpoint and understanding of the world. This is translated in her book, through the telling of the adventure-mystery tale of Fūko, the unlikely Patterdale Terrier, who has been chosen as ‘The Guardian’, all of which is told through entertaining rich allegory, intended to engage and inspire young people to get out there and realise their dreams.
After the release of her book, Réka and her family are continuing their world journey of learning, as well as a global promotional tour of her book, while completing the sequel to Dawn of the Guardian!
About the Author
+ 36 30 783 1004 (HUN)
+ 61 458 713 205 (AUS)
editor (at) hootowlbooks (dot) com
reka (at) dawnoftheguardian (dot) com
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