– How and when was the first story “To see the dawn” born, what inspired it?
– There was always a desire to write a book, so the idea was born more than 10 years ago in the Lithuanian language teacher’s office, when I found Pranė Dundulienė’s book “Paganybė in Lithuania”. The book describes Lithuanian deities and creatures, and I thought it was quite interesting material, especially since our Lithuanian mythology is so abstract. In many different sources, we can find the devil with both hooves and horns, and later we will probably find another description. Freedom of interpretation is what inspired me to write the first book.
– You wrote the book at school, did you have to identify with any of the characters, for example, the main character, the teenage Goda?
– I have heard such a saying that a good writer must be able to completely distance himself from the characters, and not identify with them. I wouldn’t say that my characters have a real prototype, but I do have one similarity with the character Goda. Like Goda, I played volleyball. It was convenient to include this fact in the plot of the book, because I know what and how happens during competitions and trainings, what emotions arise in case of winning or losing, what the relationship with team members can be.
– Did you try to convey a specific message in the book, and if so, what kind of message?
– I wanted people to understand that we Lithuanians are in no way inferior to other nations in terms of mythology. The Lithuanian gods and creatures known to us can be great characters in stories. Also, the connection with nature is very important to me, I wanted the reader to feel the same.
– What would we like teenagers to understand when reading your book?
– I think that creativity gives a person a lot of inner freedom. I would like the book to inspire the reader to create their own worlds, and it doesn’t matter in what form – music, art or theater. I would also like a teenager who reads my story to believe in himself, to understand that nothing is impossible. It took me ten years to publish a book, so dreams really do come true.
– Have you ever thought of writing books not only for teenagers, but for children or adults?
“I didn’t think about the kids, but never say never.” My daughter is growing up and I think the time will come when I will have to make up stories for her. I’m writing for adults, I’ve written a manuscript right now and I’m thinking about how to bring it to life.
– Your second book “Sprinkles” was recently published. How was it created and what is it about?
– I wrote this book faster than “Salukti aushrosa”. The action takes place in Klaipėda. This is a story about a 16-year-old swimmer, Jogailė, who participates in international swimming championships. From the outside, she seems to be doing just fine – traveling the world, winning medals, enjoying the media attention. However, the book presents the other side as well – grueling training, pressure from the father, lack of social life. The book is about the tension that a young person can sometimes experience and how important it is not to lose one’s path and goals.
– You are not only a writer, but also a librarian. Does the library, its environment and visitors inspire you to create?
– It doesn’t inspire me to write, but when I work in a library, I see that literature has lasting value. In addition, here and when communicating with teenagers, it becomes clearer to me as a creator what the modern youth live in and what my aspirations as a writer should be.
– You are the creator of the youth literature festival “Juoda – Balta”, how did you come up with the idea of organizing an event of this format?
– In Lithuania, there are many literary events for adults and children, but few for teenagers. It’s no secret that they are hard to please, they often don’t want anything. I thought, maybe teenagers just think that they don’t need anything, but after immersing themselves in the festival events, I hope they will change their minds and we will be able to organize this festival every year.
– What awaits the participants of the festival events?
– The festival will take place on May 25-26. In the spaces of Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library of Klaipėda County and AJE Skatepark. May 25 there will be meetings and creative workshops with writers – Rebeka Una, Egle Ramoškaite and me – in the library spaces. May 26 the events move to the “AJE Skatepark” space (Gluosnių skg. 2A-K2), where non-standard events will take place. Festival participants can expect a lecture on Japanese manga comics by Master of Asian Studies Romanos Ermins, a meeting with illustrator Lina Itagaki and a slam workshop with poet Renata Karvelis. During the festival, we will announce the winners of the “Fantastic Manga World” contest, organize a raffle without losing, and take fun Polaroid photos. I believe that the participants of the festival will be filled with good emotions and will sincerely love reading and books.