Today we talk about Riddles For Kind Hearts, a book by Boris Belak published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Boris Belak to get to know him better, what is the message he wanted to send out with his book Riddles For Kind Hearts, as well as how he started his collaboration with the illustrator Tanja Stevanović.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment? What was it?
I was actually working on some other project, when this book kind of revealed itself to me and “pushed” herself at the top of the priority list. The world hasn’t been so good to us for the last couple of years. You know, with lockdown last year, with shared global feeling of insecurity, we also had two rather major earthquakes here in Croatia. So it’s safe to say that atmosphere was pretty tragic and stressful, for all of us. Our hearts were broken, kids and adults the same. And I believe that when your heart gets broken, the first stuff that pours through this crack is all the good stuff – love, kindness, happiness. Bad tenants tend to come inside: anger, envy, powerlessness, sadness. So with my book I tried to give a little bit something to put those good things back in our hearts. And for your kid, it teaches your kid how to be confident, how to achieve self-respect and develop self-kindness, and kindness to people around. This is something to learn and keep throughout all ages.
- What message did you want to send out with your book?
Main idea of this book for you is to feel better than you felt before reading it. You can open it, read one, two, three poems, depending on your current mood and remind yourself that you still have that spark of humanity, that ability to love, laugh, to be kind to yourself and to the world around you. Life is a beautiful riddle, and often it’s not about solving it, but enjoying it. When you’re a kid – learn it. When you’re an adult – remind yourself about it. I feel story books are much stronger in the market and much more frequent, but I chose poems, to try a different concept. They have their melody, their rhythm, and if you feel them, verses get stuck with you. You have them as kind of your guide.
- What was it like working with Tanja Stevanović?
Fun fact is that Tanja and I never met in real life. We live and work in different countries, have our busy schedules so we yet have to celebrate publishing of this book. As my “day job” is advertising, I know a good number of great illustrators. But for this book I wanted something completely different, in that moment unknown even to myself. So I began my search, and the moment I saw Tanja’s illustration style, that was it, love at first sight. I saw smart, witty, imaginative and unique. I just sent her a “cold” mail, introduced myself and my concept, and she happily replied. From day one, we collaborated like we work together for years. We both cared to do the best for the book, but it was completely ego-free, open-minded, friendly and easy-going. So if you ask me, this was my first collaboration with Tanja, but surely not the last.
- How did you choose the title of your book?
Title came from my concept itself. Kids don’t care about conventions: so I thought, why do title has to be the beginning of a poem, says who? Let’s put them at the end. So I created poems in form of the riddles, with solutions at the end, instead of the titles. And I imagined that you have to find these solutions within funny and heart-warming illustrations by Tanja. So as a reader, you enjoy the same in the words and in the pictures. They are not just sort of direct descriptive element of a text, but the new story within a story. Kind hearts often see a world as a riddle, because, world often doesn’t look that kind. But this book will help them to know, they are on the right track.
- Are you working on a new writing project?
Yes, I am! But I stick to my policy that has served me well so far – never to talk about it unless it’s a fine-tuned concept ready to share. I can tell you this: it will be something a bit different than usual, just like “Riddles for Kind Hearts”.
Europe Books thanks the author Boris Belak 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 Riddles For Kind Hearts. We wish him the best of luck for this novel and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you that you could use this book at your own pleasure and according to the mood you are in that particular moment. Find the riddle that suits that particular day or feeling and whose response can provide you with some useful and precious information to lean on.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this kind reading!