Interview with Gegi Mei
Interview of Gegi Mei
by Roza Csergo
Hello, everybody and thanks for reading “Author’s Spotlight”! This is an interview for all of you Booknet fans out there. Today we have Gegi Mei, another amazing Booknet writer. Hello, Gegi!
First of all, I would like to thank Roza Csergo for this opportunity. I am deeply honored to be considered for this interview. I am very new to this, and I still have a lot to learn to be a better writer, and I thank Booknet for giving me a place to do so.
First will you please, tell us about your roots, upbringing, and education. Who are you?
I had a very interesting upbringing because my extended family is very diverse. We are multicultural, multiracial, multilingual, and multi-religion.
We are Chinese-Indonesian, Dutch-Indonesian, we have a Russian grandmother, we have aunts and uncles who are American, German, Indian-American, Korean-German, and I didn't appreciate this when I was little because I thought this was what a family look like.
I'm a chronic loner, very private, I enjoy doing things by myself. It's my happy place. I have always been interested in writing since I was in grade school, but never really get into it until a few years ago when I started to actually write a full story and decide to publish it. And then I realize that I am actually a writer named Gegimei. I don't have a formal educational background in writing, just a very observant person living life to its fullest.
Is your family supportive of your writing?
The best support that my family gave me is to leave me alone when I'm writing :) and they listen about the ups and downs of the creative process and also the struggle of marketing and selling my books. They are on the front line of helping me with whatever I need to support me as a writer. They have never read my stories :) none of my friends has either and that's okay ... my books are for the readers. This is the thing I learned about being a writer, support is not always about jumping into my world and be invested in what I do, sometimes it's staying clear of the way and root for me in whatever I do.
Are you using a pen name? Is there a specific reason behind it?
My pen name is Gegimei. It was the name I came up with for a character in my story when I was in high school. That story never saw the light of day but the name stayed with me and it was the first name I thought of when diving into this world of make-believe. I have even registered the name in my country and now I legally own it.
Do you have a full-time job? If so, how do you juggle it with writing?
I'm very lucky. I don't have a full-time job. I use at least 50% of my time to write and the rest to do normal people things to care for the place I live in, the people I love, my pet dog, and other chores. As of 2019, writing has become my priority, although I don't recommend for people to quit their day job to earn a living from writing because I don't make very much from it. It's just something that I need to do to stay sane.
Are you multilingual? Which languages do you speak, and how did you learn them?
Yes, my mother tongue is Indonesian, I taught myself English when I was 12 because I was always drawn to English movies and music. And then English became the language I'm more comfortable communicating with because it has more vocabularies to describe the things that I cannot describe in my own language. I also know a little French, very little :)
Do you have other hobbies besides writing?
I love journaling, I think it is still part of writing because I write a lot of journal entries since I was a child. It's where I express my thoughts about everything that's happening in my life. I don't know if this is considered a hobby but I watch a lot of movies, listen to a lot of music apart from reading.
These are the things I've always been drawn to since I was a kid never realizing that it's actually part of how I become a writer.
Do you plan out your novels or you just sit down and discover them as you write?
When an idea came to me, I don't immediately write it down. If it's strong enough, it pulls me back to it again and again to a point where it was so annoying that it had to be written down. And that's when the characters came in, when I have found the right characters for the story idea, the story will flow easily because most of the time the characters decided where they want to go.
When the flow stops, that's when I have to work harder to get it moving, sometimes I plot the rest of the story, sometimes I go back to find what went wrong and change it, or sometimes I go back even further to check maybe it was the wrong character, maybe I misinterpreted the characters and sometimes they turned out to be a whole different person. This is also why I rarely do an ongoing story, I usually publish when it's already at least 75% done and edited at least twice. Because the characters and the story need time to develop and take their final form.
What is your favorite genre to read and write?
My favorite genre to read is actually Thriller, mystery thrillers, or psychological thrillers, but basically, I read anything that can keep me flip through the pages. I also have a weird fascination with true crimes especially serial killers. I have a whole shelf dedicated to these books LOL please don't judge me. But I also love a good romance the kind that makes you dream and felt that butterfly in your stomach when you're so emersed in the story that you wished it was your own life story.
My favorite genre to write ... I haven't found it yet, because I've only written one dystopian mystery thriller and romance in various sub-genres which I enjoy all of them. I'm going to try and do a fantasy romance to participate in the upcoming Booknet contest which is new for me and very challenging. I think as long as I write the things I genuinely like and care about, it will be a great experience.
Do you research world-building and layered character development?
Most of the research I did for my stories are for facts, I don't want to get the important facts wrong that's why I don't use real places for my stories, I made them all up so I don't have to check whether this building or that street really exist. I research the effect of certain substances, mental disorders, about a certain time period if the story requires it.
I read books about writing, learn the tips and theories of how to write. I take online classes about writing too. Learn about what to do and what not to do. But there's just so many things to learn, the best way to really learn is to do it, make the mistakes, and do better the next time. There's no easy way.
For character development, all of my characters developed organically. They developed their own personality as the story moves forward and the decisions they make are mostly based on their personality or plot-driven in which case they have to do something else to recover from the damages if there's any. And to have a fully developed character sometimes I do a lot of stuff many people won't understand, one of which is I talk to them ... this may sound insane LOL but I do, I talk to my characters a lot.
What are the 3 things you love and 3 things you hate writing about?
I love writing about friendship, family, and love in any form.
I don't hate anything, but I'm not comfortable writing about sexual violence and explicit sex scenes, I don't think I have anything else that I'm uncomfortable with.
Can you, please, share with us at least 3 books that left a mark on you/influenced you in any way?
On Writing - by Stephen King - This book made me realize that I'm probably a writer.
The DaVinci Code - by Dan Brown - The book that made me fall in love with reading in its truest experience.
Lolita - by Vladimir Nabokov - The book that made me realize I'm not a very good writer hahahaha
Do you have any advice for beginner writers?
From my own experience, if you are a writer, I think it's impossible for you to be anything else.
Because no matter what the outcome, no matter how hard, no matter if the whole world is on fire, you just know that you have to sit down and write that story that's screaming to get out of your head.
This is the advice I give to myself because I'm also still a beginner, being a writer is a lifetime of learning, it doesn't happen in an instant although many would wish it to be so. We can only do, and do some more until we get better and if we're lucky, we might make some money from it.
How did you come across Booknet?
I came across an ad on YouTube about an online platform to publish books and it was Booknet.
Can you share your insight on being a commercial author on Booknet?
Booknet by far has the best contract for writers. I have ventured to at least a dozen other platforms and they are not writer-friendly. And Booknet has a quite a close-knit community among the writers where we have the Booknet Author's page, The Writers Club, and Booknet Promos account on Facebook that all run by authors on Booknet.
And the communication with Booknet administration is very fluent, they are very responsive to the writers' needs. I haven't' come across this type of relationship on another platform. I sold my first book on Booknet, so to me this is home.
Do you have any future projects standing in line, waiting for you to finish your ongoing books? What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Yes, I have a Young Adult Romance coming soon on Valentine's day. It's in the 13+ age range, I'm trying out a story without any sex scene, violence, or explicit language. I want this story to be consumed by the younger readers so I'm very careful with what I put in it.
And right after that, I will continue with a Young Adult Fantasy Romance in the 16+ age range to enter the contest. Hopefully, it will have all the criteria to be considered for the contest, if not ... I'm still gonna do it anyway LOL.
I'm planning to publish 5 stories this year, but the fantasy romance might take up more of my time because it needs quite some preparation and mapping which I'm very excited about.
On behalf of all the Booknet writers and readers, thank you again for answering these questions, Gegi Mei! We wish you every success in your future endeavors.
If you are interested in finding out more about Gegi Mei and her work, check out the link below:
Author Profile: https://booknet.com/en/gegi-mei-u4127699
Books: Shiver, Neon Dreams, Crash Into Me, Rich Love, Mofocity: Echoes Of Darkness, Animal Instinct and Tee Shirt.