Aldona Reich is a Polish philologist. One by education and by passion. She honed her workshop as a copywriter, ghostwriter, contentprovider, consultant and countdown. And since her love for the word is huge, she translated this love into her profession. More specifically: in professional book writing. Although she has only been on the publishing market since 2018, half-Lithuanian woman can boast of considerable achievements of widely read literature!
Nominated for the Personality of the Year 2020 award in the Culture category of the Gazeta Lubuska plebiscite.
The author of Strzyga, who for several months maintained the status of the bestseller on Legimi.pl.
Addicted to chocolate and literature, a lover of the Baltic Sea and the Mountains .
Wife and mother.
A woman making her dreams come true.
Aldona Reich- the increasing good of the Lubuskie Region- in an interview for the Fourth Son Project.
FS: You appeared on the publishing market as a self-publisher, making your debut with the title Tylko dobrzy ludzie zostali, recently reissued by Vectra. Please tell me about these beginnings, about the self-publishing process, about the highlights and shadows of a budding author .
AR: When you want to write, like in any other area, let's call it artistic, you voluntarily expose yourself to opinions and criticism. This is a difficult moment: you have to break through. Therefore, when the novel Tylko dobrzy ludzie zostali was written, I did not have enough confidence and courage to even try to send it to any publishing house and decided to do it myself. I had to do what I called a testing ground: low circulation, feedback from friends and the few strangers in this case, getting to know the readers' expectations. As for the self-publishing itself... It is always the case that when we do something for the first time, we either follow our instincts, or we support ourselves with someone else's knowledge and kindness. I was spared from having to rely on my instincts and from making a lot of mistakes, because a few disinterested and kind people appeared on my way. Thanks to them, the composition of the book was prepared, the cover was prepared, I was advised how to distribute and sell my modest output (100 copies!). I had enough strength and energy for that one time - but it was a lot of work, a lot of commitment, in many cases devoting myself to this activity only. However, there is a strong group of self-publishers in the publishing market, they are doing quite well, so it all depends on an individual approach. As I still work full time and writing is more of my passion, this kind of publishing my novels was not the best solution for me, for various reasons.
FS: Soon after the premiere of your first book, you joined the Vectra publishing house, which published your second novel, Bebok , and with which you work to this day. Was it you who was looking for a publisher, or was it the publisher that found you? How do you rate self-publishing as opposed to contract writing, and do you feel that you have affiliation with a publishing house as a guarantee of commercial success?
AR: I have already sent Bebok 's typescript to publishing houses and, like many other authors or writers in this situation, I waited for a signal that someone was interested in my writing. Of course, I was aware that the typescript may be lost in the flood of other publishing offers, not necessarily the idea or my writing style. Two publishers noticed the potential in the novel, but I must admit that Vectra Publishing House provided me, as a novice author, with the best conditions at the moment. I am not a typical contract writer, so I have not been imposed any regime of terms or the number of titles for a given year. The publisher declares that I have to write at my own pace, in the chosen genre, we only set a general schedule, because Vectra has many authors under its care, and the "queue" to the printing house is strictly adhered to. This system suits me very well, I do not feel forced or disciplined, because with my character it would result in a complete creative block. Of course, if you are a self-publisher, you are not dependent on anyone or anything, the comfort of creative work is huge, earnings are different, but this is followed by numerous duties that the publishing house normally takes on. I find that, however - after publishing five titles - I am closer to cooperation than self-publishing.
FS: Bestseller Strzyga , as well as Bebok , were warmly welcomed by users and reviewers of reading portals. Readers are delighted with the intricately woven intrigue, a dose of humor and irony, a surprising ending, but also a reference to old superstitions, traditions and Slavic beliefs. Where did the idea for this original crime and folklore combo come from?
AR: I think the contrariness decided here. First, I don't think I can write strictly in one genre. Secondly, even what I call a crime story eludes convention, because the ending is not, let's call it: standard. There is no typical scheme of police procedures here, no images of the criminal and bringing him to justice, I am more interested in the psychological sphere of the perpetrator. At Strzyga , I even heard that many readers kept their fingers crossed for the killer. Why? You have to read a novel to find out :). Thirdly, it was with great pleasure that I joined the trend of finding the beauty and richness of Slavic culture, instead of blindly following the trend of adoring the Celts or Scandinavians. Although each of the novels, ie Bebok, Strzyga and Utopiec , are merely a metaphor and do not contain elements of this folk fantasy, the mere recall of Slavic demons may induce someone to delve into the forgotten corners of our culture, brutally superseded by Christianity. Of course, the Slavic demon in crime fiction is not my discovery, but I am far from including supernatural elements in the novel.
In my writing, I try to faithfully imitate reality, so the language of my characters looks as if someone is listening to an authentic conversation. They do not say "then", "alike" or "I came", they like to curse profusely, statements are not free from colloquialisms, but this is what it looks like. And since I am a person with a great sense of humor, I passed some of it to my characters: they can be ironic, sarcastic, and ridiculous. Otherwise, they would not arouse emotions, they were flat and expressionless. There is probably nothing worse for the novel...
FS: Radiobook - a magic word that symbolizes a media-literary event inspired by your book. I know that the entire action of Radio Zielona Góra was a surprising and touching event for you. Please outline the details of this venture and did it increase your popularity?
AR: That's true - when I heard the proposal to record and broadcast the novel in episodes, it was quite a surprise. Especially that I did not strive for it, I was not even aware that such a project could be implemented in a local radio station. It was recorded as part of the station's own resources, thanks to the great kindness of the presenters who did it in their spare time. I hope it was great fun for them, which they treated as a new and interesting experience. The radiobook was broadcast throughout the summer, in the evening. A few people called me, a few wrote that they were also pleasantly surprised and congratulated me on such an event at the beginning of my writing career. I cannot say if and to what extent my radio book has increased my popularity, but it undoubtedly contributed to my confidence in creativity. And just listening to what, after all, was the written word, in addition to someone else's interpretation, is amazing.
FS: Publications, such as the premiere of Only Good People Stayed , receive praise reviews, and from book to book it seems that the name Reich is a guarantee of a literary bestseller! On your Instagram profile we read: When map out the characters of my heroes, I try to make sure that no one is unambiguously good or bad. Everyone hides something deeply that no one knows; something that shaped him, which has an impact on his whole life. Readers identify with the transparent dualism of the characters, appreciate your style and uncompromising way of presenting reality. How do you construct the plot and characters, and do you have a developed tactic on which to work on the book?
AR: As I mentioned before, I can't, and don't even want to strictly stick to the rules set by a given species. For example, in the case of a crime fiction, I first make up the character and loading him with something that only provokes him to a crime. Because it is never the case that a person leading a calm and relatively stabilized life suddenly in the morning decides that he will kill someone today. It grows in man, strengthens itself, and finally dominates him completely, overshadowing moral and ethical codes. This is why in my crime novels I question the unambiguity of a person, I focus on what was before the crime, I do not explain anyone, but rather give myself the opportunity to ask myself what prompted someone to do such a deed, what are their intentions, what result from or it is not sometimes the case that the killer is the victim first and it is he who tries to get justice. I am not asking: WHAT happened, but WHY? I hope that my characters are human, real, not free from traumas, reflections and painful experiences. Their conduct today is, after all, the result of what could have happened earlier, even for a dozen or so years.
As for the writing style: I have barely an outline in my head and I never write chronologically (the exception was a serial novel for Gazeta Lubuska). Scenes are often created completely by chance, they come to me and I have to write them immediately. It doesn't matter if they are at the beginning, middle or end of the plot. Only then I put them in order with considerable difficulty. Unfortunately, this has its consequences, because while writing, I have to change many things, adjust them, such as the nature of the character who seems to live his own life at some stage.
FS: Ziemia Odzyskana is a complete, finished novel that appears in episodes in Gazeta Lubuska. Will it be published in a book?
AR: When the editors of Gazeta Lubuska made me a proposal to write a novel in episodes, it was assumed that it would be published only "on paper". The project assumed weekly broadcasts in the weekend edition, in the period September 2021 - June 2022. And since the episodes are "paper", why not decide on the so-called compact publishing house? At the moment, there have been no specific arrangements yet, we are in talks. However, I think that there will be a way for the Ziemia Odzyskana to reach a wider audience in the form of a book. Interestingly, I received such inquiries from the very beginning of the project, so there is certainly interest in the novel.
FS: On June 10, the seventh novel will have its premiere, Dobre miejsce - a continuation of Tylko dobrzy ludzie zostali . And - although the premiere is still ahead of us - you are already announcing work on the next book! You are a one-man literature factory! Is it a requirement of a contract binding you with the publishing house or is it an extraordinary fertility similar to that with which, for example, Stephan King publishes?
AR: No, it's not a contract, it's a natural assumption in this situation, only mine. I was planning a trilogy and I want to implement this idea, close it. I generally write because I like it, not because I have to. With my character, the specter of compulsion immediately eliminates the activity from the list of pleasures. Besides, I have in mind that the quantity does not overwhelm the quality. That's why I agreed with myself that two titles a year are my maximum possibilities and so far it has been. This year's pattern was broken by the fact that I was actually finishing the novel I started writing last year - Ziemia odzyskana. Fortunately, next year I'm going back to my rhythm and planning two novels, one of which basically already has its first, very preliminary structure already established. Only writing! :)
FS: My debut came quite late, which is a great proof that there is ALWAYS a good time to make your dreams come true, regardless of whether you are 20 or… a bit older - we read on your author's website. You are living proof that dreams - regardless of their caliber - can be fulfilled. What would you say to all those who try, but as they read these words, they nod their heads saying: Maybe it is fulfilling for you, certainly not to me?
AR: Tip? Move on. Against everything and everything. Often deaf in this situation: "come on, what do you need this for, you will only make a fool of yourself, who do you think you are?" I myself am not a particularly go-getter or brave person, that's why I delayed. And that was my mistake, fortunately still to be fixed. Dreams are important, but only on condition that at some point they become a goal. When I was writing my first novel, I even made a special cover with my photo, with made up quotes from opinion-forming newspapers, and I looked at it to believe in myself. And finally I thought: what the hell, they won't kill me! At most they will laugh at it, but they will quickly forget it. I broke my fear and - although I still care too much about the criticism - I already have a small, but faithful group of readers, which is slowly and successively growing. I am all the more happy that I do not write "in the drawer" and I took a step forward, because now my writing is fun not only for me, but also for many other people. And I guess that was my biggest dream. I didn't wait forever for it to come true, I just fulfilled it myself.
FS: Before the interview you said, laughing: My private life is so boring and predictable that I am not afraid to ask about it. This statement is quite paradoxical for an author of novels full of intrigue and secrets! How is it with this writing: some say that you have to live a life to write. Others believe that the key is rich imagination. History shows that pre-technological writers created timeless pieces by the candle hound. How is it with the author of novels about the tinge of crime fiction, thriller and sensation?
AR: Well… like everyone else, I also have some experience on my account, of various sizes and weight. Such something is probably necessary for everyone, because at some stage of life it gives the opportunity to look at the world and people in a different way, it forces you to reflect and ponder, letting go of passing judgments and issuing grades. This is the greatest writing potential.
Moreover, not only as a graduate of Polish studies, I have read thousands of books in my life. The written word is still with me, but I also watch a lot of movies. I listen to conversations; it happens that in my imagination I add a story to someone seen in the street. It's like an addiction - it's hard to break free from it. With time, a person becomes a kind of membrane that reacts to sounds inaudible to others, and enters a different level of perceiving what is around. That's why I don't have to have all the experiences of my characters, it's enough that I try to understand them, but not necessarily accept their behavior or choices. Thanks to the Internet, stories from one corner of the world reach the other in a matter of seconds, become commonplace, everyday, and therefore almost imperceptible, dying under the pressure of others. And I am interested in this one seemingly insignificant detail, overlooked or disregarded. It becomes a contribution to a new story that, even in my hands, tries to live its own life.
FS: What is Aldona Reich like privately and can you be found in any of your heroines?
AR: My heroines are my unattainable, dream alter ego. They are saucy, decisive, and sometimes unpredictable. They say and do what I often would not have the courage to do. So… they are not me. However, it is impossible to avoid equipping the characters with their own features, because often our experiences or thoughts are helpful in building a character, giving it a real shape. And it`s probably also in my case, because many of my friends, after reading one of the novels, said: "Oh, it's all you!" or "Well, as if I could see / hear you". Something's up...
FS: Filming - I know it's one of your dreams. Are there any signs of this dream coming true?
AR: For now - I visualize :) I have a deep conviction that finally one title will reach the right person at the right time and… magic will happen. As was the case with finding a publisher, making a radio book, a proposal to write a novel in episodes, invitations to several projects (participation in events and events, publication of texts in magazines, etc.) or an interview for FS. And when the filming is done, I would like to get an episode to play, for example the role of the proverbial "lady from the grocery shop";)
FS: Are there any events related to your publications in the near future, to which you would like to invite FS readers?
AR: I cordially invite to The Book Fair events. They provide a unique opportunity to meet, talk, get to know each other. I am not (yet! :)) a writer of this caliber, for whom events beyond social media are organized (except meetings with authors, but these are local events), but I think that during the next premiere I will be mentioned and seen there a bit more. So I cordially invite you to follow my profiles. I hope that in a moment, when I catch my breath, I will become active on the blog of my author's website, where I plan to publish my columns, then there will be an opportunity to get to know my other face as a writer.
FS: I always ask this and I will also ask you - what advice, from the perspective of the acquired experience, would you give to beginning authors?
AR: From the technical advice: to be task-oriented. Write a novel, a guide, a series of stories, choose a plan to send the typescript first to beta readers (not family or friends, because opinions must be objective), then to carefully selected publishers (we do not send novels to a travel publisher, etc.), and then do not wait, just keep on writing without wasting any time. And repeat this scenario until something "clicks".
And mentally: take risks and make your dreams come true despite your fears and anxieties. I do not use the word "ight" on purpose, because it has a negative connotation to me. Second - have a lot of resilience and humbleness. Criticism helps to polish the workshop, and thanks to humility we are able to listen to people who are smarter than ourselves. And above all, forgive yourself the mission to make everyone happy with your writing. This is the marvel of diversity that everyone can like something else. I also have my favorite authors, I avoid the others, so it may be the same with my books.
After reading "Tylko dobrzy ludzie zostali" with great conviction and hand on heart, I can say that Aldona Reich has an outstanding knack for creating simple stories, not demanding from the readers, and at the same time striking, completely absorbing into the whirlwind of events, memorable and unforgettable. causing goose bumps and thrills.
I love the author's pen. I appreciate it for the fact that each theme is well thought out, that the end of the book is coherent, that the characters are expressive and that each plot, whether it's a moral or criminal one, draws me completely. For not being afraid of difficult topics in his books.
While reading it, it allowed me to err, speculate, and finally, in a perfect way, tie all threads together and explain the mystery of the murder.
In addition, in a way that I least expected. And the ending itself? Well .. I love it!