Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country. An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
While I didn’t set out to pursue career as an author, I was moved to do so after the birth of my son. FANTASTICAL is a legacy to my son, as his birth was the catalyst for the book.
These stories were born with my son. Uncertain upon entering a wholly new phase of life, I sought wisdom and enlightenment – and a break from the daily routine of feedings, lack of sleep, and disorientation. I was in search of something that would lift my spirit, make me laugh, and transport me, if only for a moment, to another, less tangible, place and time.
While the world in which these stories unfold no longer exists, I still cling to the many lessons it taught me. Because of my fantastical childhood, I know in my heart that life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities. I know that it’s fluid, magical, brimming with love and connection.
This book was indeed the respite I needed. It freed my mind to roam the wild landscape of a bygone era and lifted me on the wings of Balkan stardust. I hope it will do the same for my readers. My hope is that these stories amuse and transport my readers, sustaining them on their journey as they have me on mine.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, part of the creation of FANTASTICAL happened during the 12 years that I spent at Microsoft.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
My inspiration for writing FANTASTICAL: Tales of Bears, Beer and Haemophilia was to provide amusement, lift spirits from the mundane set of activities and transport readers to another place and time, fantastical in my memory, that has vanished from the map but not the mind.
My goal was also to tell stories about 1980s Yugoslavia, this beautiful country and time that was magical and very special to those of us who had the opportunity to be touched by the richness of its people, culture, its Slavic soul that embraces melancholy with a twinkle in the eye.
Who is your target audience?
My target audience is anyone that is looking for a short read to open up his/her mind and spirit to the possibilities and the magic of life-where truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, as it’s the case in FANTASTICAL.
FANTASTICAL is a great read for anyone who has 5 minutes of time to transport themselves to another “socialist meets gypsy Woody Allen” world. This could be a daily commuter or a traveler getting on a flight, a busy parent, office worker, a person interested in culture, history, travel, gypsies, Yugoslavian history, new parents and specifically, first time mothers.
FANTASTICAL is for all of us out there looking for a little respite from our daily activities and a little humor and magic to sustain us on our journeys.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
First, my hope is that readers will have a positive, good experience reading the book and feeling the daily burdens dissipate just for a few minutes.
I also hope that readers will experience a sense of curiosity about another time, place and enjoy some of the cultural elements FANTASTICAL presents.
Finally, I wish to bring a bit of that old Balkan stardust to my readers’ lives and a sense that life is more than simply a sum of mundane survival activities. That it’s rich with love, connection and wonderment.
Are you a disciplined writer?
I am a very disciplined person by nature and given the passion I have for my book project, I found it enjoyable and exiting to write every day. I was tremendously motivated to pen another story, to share another episode from this special time with my audience.
I was so excited to move my book project forward that I created a plan for myself-which was to write a story a day for 25 days. These stories came easily to me and I felt well aligned with my goal of a story a day, so it wasn’t a challenge but a pleasure to be a step closer to bringing these tales to the public.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
I chose to self-publish as it would give me the greatest control over my work which is very personal to me. While there are many excellent tools and self-publishing services, including CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Bookbaby, etc. it’s still a steep learning curve for an author to climb. I spent a lot of time learning and understanding differing offerings, how they complement or duplicate each other and coming to my own conclusions which ones were right for me.
Self-publishing is an deep investment and a commitment an author makes to his/her book, but in the end it’s well worth it to have delivered a book that reflects exactly your own sense of it.
I would highly recommend this path to anyone who feels they have a book in them.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?
Thank you for your interest in FANTASTICAL and hope you and your readers enjoy it!