‘M is for Mother’ author Alexandra Antipa on her writing career, advice, and books she’d like you to read
For the newest article of the ‘Author Spotlight’ series, exclusive to Coffee Time Reviews, I interviewed Alexandra Antipa, author, freelance writer, and translator, whose memoir, M is for Mother: My Journey Into Motherhood I reviewed recently and loved. You can read the review below.
A fellow Romanian now based in Germany, Alexandra is a born writer, who has “been putting words on paper ever since I can remember”. Alongside M is for Mother, she is the author of two more titles: Stories for the Heart: When Memories Become a Treasure — a book exploring coming to terms with grief and finding solace in your memories of a lost person you loved — and the children’s title The LittleBig Detectives: Lorelai and Niami, the True Duo of Crime Solving. A bookworm, like all of us, Alexandra sees books as the main answer-holders to satisfy her curiosity.
You may never see me on a rollercoaster but, rest assured, I get all the adrenaline I need from my ever-growing personal library. — Alexandra Antipa
I asked Alexandra 5 questions about her career, writing process, balancing being an author with family life, and what books she would recommend to our readers. Her answers did not disappoint, and, dare I say, my TBR list has increased since talking to Alexandra.
CTR: Why did you decide to become an author?
Alexandra: I did not necessarily choose to become an author, I think this road rather chose me. After my dad died, I started to write about him, as a way of dealing with my grief. I then realized that, in losing someone dear, we have the power to keep them alive, by talking about fond memories. I wrote my first book Stories for the Heart: When Memories Become a Treasure to remember all the treasured moments I spent with people I loved, who are sadly no longer alive. The author’s journey started from there, from a point of healing.
CTR: What is your favourite part of writing books?
Alexandra: The way an idea comes to life on the page, I am simply fascinated with how our brain works. I feel lucky, even privileged, to be able to take my thoughts and transform them into words, into books that people read. This is my favorite part, the actual birth of the story.
CTR: What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Alexandra: This might sound like a cliche, but you have to overcome the imposter syndrome. At the beginning of the writing journey, and even as you progress, you might often feel like you don’t belong, like this is not something you should be doing. After all, there are so many authors out there, and they seem to be doing a better job than you. In truth, we are all dealing with anxiety, fearing what others have to say. As an aspiring author, the only way to move is forward, don’t give up, and don’t give in to other people’s assumptions.
CTR: Do you have any tricks to balance writing and family life?
Alexandra: Honestly, this is the most challenging part of being a writer. I think the trick is to choose your moments, rather than wait for everything to be perfect. Yes, it is true you might feel inspired and want to write in that particular moment, but that is not always possible. This is why, whenever I get an idea, I jot it down and return to it later. If you let frustration get the better of you, you will end up in the wrong place, hating the road ahead and its challenges.
CTR: What are 3 books you would recommend to our readers and can you give a short reason why?
Alexandra: This is easy! The first would be The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak because it contains some powerful life lessons and it refers to the teachings of Rumi, which are highly valuable to anyone looking to lead a healthy existence.
Secondly, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, a book about books, in which the characters come into the real world, showing how different they are from what we might have expected.
And thirdly, Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts, because it is the kind of book which leaves you dumbfounded, a book that is written in such a natural style, it feels like the author is standing right next to you.
It’s a beautiful thing to be chosen by the career path you get to follow, instead of you choosing it. Alexandra Antipa’s journey into authorship was one driven by emotion and finding refuge in writing, and that aspect of her shines through her books. Writers are inherently avid readers, and Alexandra’s book recommendations do not fail to prove it. Much like her, I’m also not a real-life daredevil, but finding intense emotions in books and living life to the fullest through stories is one of several things I found to have in common with her. I’m curious to see her flourishing as an author even more.
Thank you for reading Author Spotlight, a series of interviews with authors who are happy to share the tools of the trade with our CTR readers. If you’re an author and would like to be featured, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any author suggestions, leave us a comment and we’ll try to chase them up. And if you’d like to support our independent publication, please consider doing so through our Donations page.