Today we talk about Bears Out of the Box, a book by Stefan Cebo published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Stefan Cebo to get to know him better and how his personal life and the small village he grew up in, inspired him to the writing of his book Bears Out of the Box.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What are the crucial themes of this novel?
I have tried to compose this book as a multi-layered message. There is a young character (Liam the toy bear) who would like to explore the outer world but feels a bit insecure to make a decisive step. It is something, which a young person experiences before ‘the first step’ out of the comfortable. There is a desire to travel and explore the world that currently so much resonates with young people (perhaps not only with them). Travelling is cool; mortgage is dull. Many young people have been to the other side of the world while they have nowhere to live. Quite a few have become nomads for some years. It is so different from, for instance, my parents who have never been to the other side of our own republic but they own a huge house. And that leads me to (perhaps) the main theme: the main character realised that home is equally important place in one’s life. There are moments in one’s life when s/he needs to come back. I believe there are people who would not agree but it works for others (like me). I also have this clash in me: to explore and at the same time to have a safe bay.
- Where did you find the inspiration to write this story?
The inspiration came from my life.I grew up in a small village in the middle of nothing and wanted to see the world ‘beyond those hills’. Having been there, I came back a started appreciating my own country.One day I found a little toy bear on the ground. I picked up and came up with a story of a bear who got lost on his travels just to amuse my wife. Later, we were in Ikea and found out that the toy is their most famous toy product. I started to connect all the things together:
1. Ikea – being famous for selling practical (dull-looking) furniture and Slovakia – being famous for nothing in particular;
2. A small bear who left his crowd of the same-looking toy bears to see what is out there and me, Slovakian, one of so many who always wanted to see other countries and now was allowed to travel;
3. And having just come back from the UK and rediscovering my own country.
- What would you like to hear from your young readers?
I would be very happy if the story resonates with people who have similar way of thinking. I do not want to discourage those who have itchy feet, on the contrary, I’d like to encourage it but I’d also want to make them appreciate their own home. I hope I made the book easy to understand. I did not want to make the book too mystic – out of some other world. I placed the story right in front of their noses. I want the reader to realise that something interesting might be happening in plain sight. We just might be too busy or too blind to see it. I would be happy to hear that they find my jokes funny and appreciate the hints and references to the real life that I put there. Obviously, it takes a more experienced reader, not only a child. I wrote that story for not only one age group. I hope many and various people will enjoy the book. And I hope that the young reader will go back to it same time later.
- How was your publishing experience?
Very positive, I was very glad to see that Angelo read the book thoroughly and gave a detailed review. Ever since then, the Europe Books does a good job to promote it. It gives me a tremendous feedback because it shows that they believe in that book. In this over-informed world the promotion is everything. We see perfectly mediocre books are best-sellers and don’t understand why some other didn’t make it. The only answer is the promotion at the right time and right place. I think the Europe Books, having international team, truly has the international mind-set and that is exactly what I admire and appreciate.
- Are you already working on a new project?
The sequel of the Bears out of the Box is ‘on paper’ and need to organise myself to start illustrating it. In the sequel Liam, the main character, will come back home and realises that it has change a lot. He is disappointed and decided to leave his home again. This time he determined to find a new home and with help of his friends, he achieved it. He found home in an old chateau that is open to the public. The owner of the chateau is a furniture collector. I wanted to juxtapose the modern and practical Ikea with something old and romantic.In the maze of corridors (like Ikea) Liam and his friends found a squatter (a girl who is a refugee from her home country and run–away from a refugee camp) who plays a chateau ghost. Here I juxtapose Liam who left his home by choice with a girl who left her home to save her life. I have many other projects in my head and they are in various stages of their development and realisation. They are, however, not related to Liam any more.
Europe Books thanks the author Stefan Cebo once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Bears Out of the Box. We wish him the best of luck for this novel and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to have fun while reading this story, as well as to find food for your thoughts and insights which could make you think out of your “personal box” and be useful to make your life journey a better one!
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you a good and enjoyable reading!