Monday, 22 October 2012

Meet Erika Szabo

Erika M Szabo is a Hungarian born American; she lives in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. She has a PhD in Alternative Medicine; she published a few books in this subject. Erika loves the art of healing; however, writing about dry medical facts doesn’t satisfy her thirst for storytelling. The ancient history of the Huns always fascinated her, it is full of holes, mysteries and speculations; there are only a few written facts about them besides their legends. Erika used her fertile imagination to fill the historical voids in the story of Ilona. She raises questions such as - What if healing by touch could be possible? - What if we could find a soul mate no matter the obstacles? - What if we could visit our ancestors on a whim? - What if our destiny is not written in stone and we can create our future?

Tell us a little about yourself Erika 

I love challenges. I've been told that I dance to my own tune (or so to speak, because I never really mastered the art of dancing. That's next on my list). I've been told all my life by family and friends what I cannot do. Naturally it all began when I was a kid.
"You cannot use the umbrella as parachute!" Of course I did, jumping off the garage roof. As a result of my rebelling stupidity, I received a cast on my broken leg.
"You can't ride the horse; you have a cast on your leg!" Of course I did, and I ended up with a cast on my other leg too.
"Honey, guns are for boys! Do some embroidery, be a good girl." Of course I joined the club, and I competed in target shooting for years (I was pretty good at it too).
"You cannot go to America! Alone in this huge country without knowing a word of English?" Of course I did, I've been happily living in the US for twenty years.
"You definitely cannot go back to school. It cost too much and you're a successful nurse, you have a wonderful job. Be happy with what you are." As you might have guessed, I became a doctor of Naturopathy.
"Are you kidding? You cannot write a novel! You have an accent and English is your second language." Of course I wrote my novel series, Ilona the Hun novels.
Judge it for yourself if I lived up to the challenge. I'm not a daredevil by any means. I have reasonable dreams; I just don't like it when people try to box me in and try to assign me a role in life.
Who knows where I would be today, and most of all who I would be without my strong will to follow my dreams.
I'm not a very good housekeeper; I have a load of used to be white clothes turn dirty pink to prove it. My vacuum-cleaner hates me, it growls at me and as a protest stops working when I often neglect to pick up shoelaces, pennies and other items in its path. And yes, dust bunnies... let's not go there! But I'm proud to announce, I have a green thumb. Well not really with my outdoor plants, but at least my "window-garden" plants like me.

 Tell us about your books 

Keep your body healthy is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon HERE
You don't wear the same size or style shoes that neighbor does. You don't listen to the same music, you don't do the same job, and you don't have the same medical condition. Then why are you eating the same food as your neighbor and thousands of others eat? Are you sure that the fruit cocktail served at a party has the same benefit for you as for others? You dislike banana, oatmeal, turkey or cheese, but you eat it anyway, because it is the norm. “It is good for you!” they say. Who are 'they'? Nutritionists who decided that one size fits all apply to not only for your pajamas but your diet as well? Did you notice that although dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and good for you, it gives you migraines? Drink milk, they say, but maybe for you, milk is causing too much mucus in your body and is the cause for your chronic respiratory congestion. We're different. Not only in our appearances or temperaments, our nutritional needs are different as well in order to achieve our optimal health status. This book tells you which basic physical-mental type you belong to, and what kind of foods and supplements make you healthy.

The first three books of the series, the best healing herbs for different illnesses. Herbs are versatile. I chose this description, because versatile means competent in many areas and able to turn with ease from one thing to another. Herbs contain chemical compounds which are useful to treat multiple conditions. Many herbs fit into more than one category, because they have more than one specific effect on the body.-An herb can be a great expectorant as well as helping to reduce cholesterol level or regulate blood sugar-An herb can be used to treat the flu as well as to combat other diseases which caused by viruses. An herb can be a very effective expectorant as well as to strengthen your immune system.
You will find notes with each herb that tell you the effectiveness and properties of each particular herb. So many herbs are available today in health food stores, however it can be very frustrating when you try to choose the right herb for your condition and symptom.
-Which herb should you take for bronchitis, cold, flu, dry cough or asthma prevention?
-Should you choose fresh her, dried herb to make tea from, or use capsule or extract?
-Can you take them if you're taking antibiotics or other medications such as blood pressure or diabetes medications?

The first three books of the series, the best healing herbs for different illnesses. Herbs are versatile. I chose this description, because versatile means competent in many areas and able to turn with ease from one thing to another. Herbs contain chemical compounds which are useful to treat multiple conditions. Many herbs fit into more than one category, because they have more than one specific effect on the body.-An herb can be a great expectorant as well as helping to reduce cholesterol level or regulate blood sugar-An herb can be used to treat the flu as well as to combat other diseases which caused by viruses. An herb can be a very effective expectorant as well as to strengthen your immune system.
You will find notes with each herb that tell you the effectiveness and properties of each particular herb. So many herbs are available today in health food stores, however it can be very frustrating when you try to choose the right herb for your condition and symptom.
-Which herb should you take for bronchitis, cold, flu, dry cough or asthma prevention?
-Should you choose fresh her, dried herb to make tea from, or use capsule or extract?
-Can you take them if you're taking antibiotics or other medications such as blood pressure or diabetes medications?

Detoxify your body naturally

I bet you're thinking of the popular Hollywood detox programs, aren't you? The coffee colonics, extreme purging, torturous enemas and such... well, don't! Not going torture you, promise! I'm far from being one of those extremists who preach raw diet or torturous detoxifying methods! I love and take care of my body, and I don’t like torture. I love food, and I enjoy every meal immensely. I just know what is good for me, and I know how to get rid of the toxins before they build up in my body. Our bodies were made to get rid of toxins and waste efficiently - if and I underline this - if we eat healthy, unprocessed food. However, because we can't eat simple and organic diet anymore, thus we need a little helping hand in that department. Eat healthy! Yeah, good advice, but what is healthy for you? Should everyone follow the same one size fits all diet? If you’d like to read about my advice on healthy foods, healthy lifestyle and the best supplements for your type, you might want to read my book “Keep your body healthy” which includes the owner's manual or user guide for the body, what to eat and how to live healthy, what kind of vitamins, herbs and supplements promote optimal health, how to detoxify the body naturally, bizarre cravings and symptoms as well as vitamin deficiency and overdose symptoms. In this book, I’ll tell you how I detoxify and protect my body by eating my favorite foods and using simple methods.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is in the fats (lipids) in the blood. Our body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. However, having high cholesterol level in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease.
When you have high cholesterol, fatty deposits develop in the blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through the arteries. The heart is not getting oxygen-rich blood it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke as well. in this book you will find short and easy to read information about traditional and alternative - including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Herbal Medicine as well as dietary changes information about cholesterol treatments.

SYMPTOM In medicine: any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease.
Subjective symptoms are what you feel: headache, nausea, anxiety, abdominal cramps and so on.
Objective symptoms are what your doctor observes: abnormal heart or lung sounds, thyroid gland enlargement, palpable tumors and so on.
Symptoms are clear cut most of the time. Half sided blinding headache, sensitivity to light with nausea is most likely migraine headache. Sudden pain under the right ribs which refers to the back, accompanied by nausea and comes in waves is most likely gallbladder stone.
Other conditions are signaled by more complex symptoms such as increased appetite with weight loss, nervousness, faster heart rate, increased sweating, tremor of the fingers and tongue with heat intolerance, usually signals hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms can be unusual and even wacky at times, as if the body is a little confused and sending signals which need some interpretation.
You might ask, what on earth is my earlobe have to do with the condition of my arteries, or if I have frequent hangnails do I really have vitamin C deficiency?

Try breathing in and out through a straw. You cannot draw enough air in, and you cannot blow enough air out. Probably the best description of how a person feels during asthma attack.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes episodes of difficult breathing. Asthma symptoms are caused primarily due to constriction, tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways, as well as inflammation, soreness, swelling and irritation of the airways in the lungs. Learn about traditional and alternative asthma prevention and treatment including Healing Herbs, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Herbal Medicine, Aromatherapy as well as dietary and environmental changes.

We found seven orphaned baby foxes in our backyard. This is their picture book story, how they grew up to be magnificent adult foxes.
Book review
Ever so often, I really enjoy reading true stories about interesting things people experience or discover in life, especially those with intrigue and adventure to them. This is what Erika Szabo has provided in this inspiring book about The Magnificent Seven Baby Foxes. I also found the story to be heartwarming as Erika and her family, literally save the lives of these baby foxes, whose mother died when they were weeks old and unable to feed their selves. As they watched these beautiful animals over a summer season, they fed them and watched them playing and interacting with each other as they grew -- also documented with photos throughout the book. They also began to recognize personality traits in them and they even gave a name to each of them. They got to know them from a close distance of observation, so well, that they could even recognize emotions they were experiencing and when one would became ill. They in-essence provided some parenting to these baby foxes, until they were able to fend for their selves and to survive on their own - which all of them did! It is a wonderful story that not only animal lovers will enjoy but also anyone who enjoys a good story of adventurous discovery and the triumph of survival when the odds are against it.
Let's ask some questions
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

When it comes to writing Alternative Healing books, my favorite thing is to bring easy to understand information to my readers. Most educational books are filled with statistics, explanations and sophisticated jargon. People have to skim through pages before they can get the answer they’re looking for. I try to make my books precise, logical and easy to read. Writing magical/realism novels gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts, feelings and dreams with my readers as well as lets my fertile imagination play with characters, events and create magical worlds where anything is possible.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?

To write Alternative Healing related books:  after I received my PhD I thought about doing one on one consultation. Then I thought I can help more people by writing educational books and self-publish them with an affordable price. The use of herbs and supplements became very popular; however there are many dangers in using them without careful consideration. There are many side effects, interactions with prescription medications and contraindications in certain medical conditions which I try to point out in my books. As to writing a magical/realism fantasy novels, the inspiration first came from my daughter Eszter. Her paintings inspired me to form the characters in Ilona the Hun’s story and the story line was inspired by Hun history.

What was the turning point in your life when you decided to start writing?

I started writing health related books when I realized how much misinformation is out there about herbs, healthy diet, vitamins and supplement. The majority of the educational books are written in a language that a person without medical background couldn’t possibly follow and understand. I decided to write books that are written in simple, everyday language without long pages filled with statistics and scientific explanations. To write a fantasy story, the idea came to me after my daughter got annoyed with me because I couldn’t find a book to read and said “Mom, stop whining, if you haven’t a book to read then write one!”

Do you write about personal experiences in your stories?

Yes, often. If you don’t know love, sorrow, hate, regret, forgiveness and other emotions and experiences, you cannot really write about them. In my personal life I try to balance negative experiences with something positive right away, and it reflects in my writing. When my characters experience something tragic or shocking, I relax it with a little humor or have my characters analyze and deal with their feelings.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write educational books regarding Alternative Medicine, true stories and magical-realism, alternative history novels.

What genres and authors would we find you? 

I write under my real name Erika M Szabo, my tags are health and healing, alternative medicine, fantasy, fiction and alternative history.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing comes natural to me and I don’t find it hard to write either educational books or novels. When I choose the topic I want to write about and have a vague outline of the story, I just start writing and the story develops on its own as I progress and new ideas start surfacing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a plotter when I write medical books, I plan what I want to say and put it in clear and logical order. When I write a fantasy story I am definitely a pantser. I enjoy tremendously playing with the characters, let them develop as the story progresses and go back to change a romantic and lovable character into a villain if a new idea pops into mind as I write. When I started writing Ilona’s story, I only had a sketchy outline in my head. I played with some ideas in my spare time at first, but soon the events and characters came alive and kind of developed on their own as the story progressed. Elza surprised me the most; originally I planned her character to be an older, wise, steady and reliable aunt. I guess she didn’t like her assigned role; she became a little younger and more alive. Zoltan will change the most in book three, which I wasn’t really planning. It still amazes me, how much one accidental sentence can change the whole character, his values and personality…

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

That is a hard question. I think every reader will find the author they can connect with and enjoy their books because of their similar interest, thinking process, feelings, dreams and hopes. People who are not interested in alternative medicine, disease prevention, healthy diet and lifestyle or herbal remedies are not going to value my books. The same applies to my novels, if the reader likes crime stories, horror, fuzzy vampires or sticky romance, they will not find my fantasy trilogy enjoyable. But, if they like deep characters, coming of age struggle, lots of twists and turns, historical facts wrapped into a fantasy story, they will choose and enjoy my books.

What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does you inspiration come from?

I can talk about my only novel trilogy so far, although I have some ideas for my next one. The inspiration came from ancient Hungarian history. In my fantasy world, I blended the past and present into a fantasy tale with intriguing tribal secrets, magical heritage and the exciting and dangerous life in a secret society.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

After reading my medical books, I hope the reader will start thinking about developing healthier diet and lifestyle to prevent illness and perhaps decide to use alternative methods with much less side effects when it’s possible. Also, I hope after reading my Ilona the Hun trilogy the reader will have a better understanding of their own struggles coming into adulthood, accepting responsibilities as well as heritage and live up to expectations without losing themselves. I hope they will take with them deep and honest feelings, human values as well as the feeling of freedom to use their imagination.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In my Ilona the Hun novels there are many messages. First of all, anything is possible if we have reasonable expectations and we are willing to put work into it. Understanding our own positive traits, flaws and limitations help us to create our own future.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

I include some historical events in my novels. However, the real events are incorporated into a fantasy story. I can’t really say my characters are based on real people although some of my characters slightly resemble people I know, either in appearance or bits and pieces of their personality. In Ilona’s story, there are some personal experiences. I am ambidextrous and I can’t cook just like Ilona. Elza’s character resembles my favorite sister-in-law, and I worked little stories into the book about my cat Miss Mirci Catchmousky as well as my gentle giant dog, Gypsy. I wrote about some personal experiences as well, from my years working as an ER nurse.

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been writing medical articles for a long time, but I started seriously writing in 2008. 

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

It took me about six months to write my first alternative healing book in Hungarian and I sent it to a publishing company. I braced myself for a lot of rejection before I hoped to see my book published, but surprisingly I received the accepting letter within a week. I played with Ilona’s story for about a year and finished the first two books when I discovered self-publishing in late 2011. I got many positive reviews and feedbacks from readers which made me decide to rewrite the books and continue with the third book in the series. I sent the first book Birthright to the Best Indie books of 2012 award contest, to my delight, it was chosen as semifinalist. The finalist books will be announced in September and the winner of the award in October. The editor at 5 Prince Publishing read my story recently and they offered to publish the trilogy.

What other careers have you had?

I worked in the medical field all my life as a registered nurse and ten years ago I received my PhD in Alternative Medicine.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I can honestly say I’ve never been bored in my life, I’m busy doing something every moment while I’m awake. I love the mountains, but because I’m not really an outdoor person, I enjoy the scenery from the comfort of my car. Bike ride is my favorite exercise, but I ride my bike that goes nowhere in my living room, because I don’t like to swallow bugs and rather walk miles in a museum or art gallery than in the tick infested woods. For fun I read, write, go out with friends. To relax I do crossword puzzles, gobelin or paint. My day is not complete until I made a difference in at least one person’s life with either a medical advice or just a caring word, touch or a smile. 

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

People I meet the first time find me a pleasant, average looking and positive thinking person. Usually they put me in a “mental box” where they store people who are nice, but there is nothing special about them. Later the things I do or I’m interested in come up in conversation, or they find out from others and then they put me in the mental box labeled “fascinating people”. What fascinates people about me most is that English is my second language and I have the courage to write and compete with writers who grew up speaking the language and were educated in English. I wasn’t, I thought myself watching Rambo movies and cartoons for a month and then slowly graduated reading teenage books with the help of a dictionary and after one year reading and understanding Shakespeare. I also notice that people find fascinating the fact that I find the time to do all the things I want to do.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

I worked in many areas of the medical field and found my calling in the Emergency Room setup. I always loved the dynamic and fast paced environment, the unpredictability and demand for acting and making decisions fast. In my personal life, I love and respect animals, and somehow they know it. Abused and runaway dogs and cats in the neighborhood always end up on my doorsteps and they always find love and care. Wild animals feel safe in my backyard as well, chipmunks, crows, groundhogs, bunnies, you name it, they live in my backyard. The orphaned baby foxes we raised - I put together a picture book about the experience - still visit sometimes.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

It wasn’t any particular author or book; it was my father who loved to read and introduced me to the wonderful worlds locked in books at a very early age. I have many favorites, I cannot choose. I love to read about our past, but not only the dry facts and events. I love to read from authors who can make the past more real and bring our ancestors alive and closer to us in their stories.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

My family and friends are supportive and read my medical books, however very few of them like fantasy stories. I think most will read my Ilona the Hun novels only when by a miracle or rather with the help of fantasy book lovers becomes a best seller novel.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Hungary and came to the US twenty years ago. I live in the beautiful Catskill Mountains in NY.

How do you come up with the titles?

I think that is the hardest part of writing, at least to me. I keep changing the titles throughout the writing process and I’m still not satisfied when the book is finished. It must be a glitch in my brain preventing me from coming up with the perfect title. I have fun writing three hundred pages and I struggle to create a word or sentence for a title. Figures.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Not really. I interact with hundreds of people in my work on a daily bases, and when I started writing it became just one more thing I did and enjoyed. I don’t have a schedule either, sometimes I write an hour, but there are times when I can sit by the computer and write for ten hours straight. I only write when I really feel up to it, otherwise I think it would quickly turn into a job.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I am definitely a multi-tasker, working on one project at the time bores me.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I catch up on medical related articles; watch fantasy and sci-fi movies, go out to a nice dinner with friends or take long rides in the mountains.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

1. I love to meet new people and I “don’t judge a book by its cover” before I get to know them.
2. I love animals and I provide environment for them around me where they can live as their nature intended them to live. I won’t put a bird in a cage or keep a cat inside watching nature through a window. I won’t try to teach them tricks or perform unnatural tasks.
3. Makes me happy and accomplished when I can help one person a day in some way.
4. I stop and smell the roses, in other words I notice and appreciate beauty in life.
5. I’m not a gatherer of material wealth, but I love life’s small luxuries such as a comfy bed to read, a delicious dinner with friends, soft and comfortable clothes or a beautiful new painting in my living room from an unknown artist.

Thank you Erika - please tell us where we can find you online



  1. Thank you Gail for giving me a chance to introduce my books, Erika
    Since the interview with you, my new novel Birthright Bestowed was published. I'm so excited about it, like a parent welcoming a new baby.

  2. Thank you for being here Erika
    I wish the greatest success with your new book

  3. Usually I don't learn article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very great post.
    Feel free to surf my homepage ;

  4. I was suggested this blog by means of my cousin.
    I am not positive whether or not this post is written via him as
    no one else know such distinctive about my trouble.

    You're wonderful! Thank you!
    Here is my website ... original style mosaics