Guest Post+Giveaway: Tomica Scavina: Can a book save your life?

  • Sunday, March 17, 2013

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I can think of some books that have changed my life, in small or big ways. But can a book save a life? Hmmm ... Today I am hosting author Tomica Scavina -- with her new book Kaleidoscope World, a psychological thriller with elements of mystery -- as she muses on books and their magical powers.

Don't forget to check out the giveaway ($50 Amazon.com GC/Paypal Cash) at the end of this post! 


Can a book save your life?
by Tomica Scavina

About 140 years ago, in a small village in Croatia, a sensitive young man got ill from an unknown disease. The doctors gave up on him, and the only comfort for this young man were books he was getting from the library in the nearby city. “One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and it was so captivating that it made me utterly forget my hopeless state,” the young man wrote in his autobiography, “Those were the earlier works of Mark Twain and they might have been responsible for my miraculous recovery, which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and when we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears.”

This young man was Nikola Tesla, an inventor known as “the man who lit up the world” or “the man who invented the twentieth century.” He has been forgotten, but his ideas are omnipresent – every time we turn on the light, we use his alternating current electrical supply system.

And there was this other man, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, whose books were delivered all the way from America to this small Croatian village, into the hands of a future genius. This means that everyone who participated – Mark Twain’s publisher, agent, the person who decided to transport his books across the ocean – all these people had their important role in “lighting the world” we live in today.

Books work in mysterious ways.

When I was sixteen, during the war in Croatia, many of my peers got addicted to heroin, and I got addicted to books. After a week spent in a basement because the town I lived in was under a military attack, I ran outside to an empty volleyball court with a book that I took from a neighbor’s apartment. It was John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. I remember it had something to do with war and I remember it had a way too long description of a forest. Most of all, I remember a feeling of freedom. A freedom of being in fiction.

Ten years later, I read the same book again. This time, the experience was completely different. I felt the writing was old-fashioned and the description of that forest was really boring. But the feeling of gratitude remained. Mr. John Steinbeck, who died before I was born, was there for me when I needed him the most. He was on that volleyball court with me. He was in the “healing fiction” called East of Eden.

What I want to say is that books do save lives. And that’s why I really don’t like to read the slogan “This book will save your life!” on the book cover. There is no marketing genius who could guess what book would it be for you or for me, because it’s not just about the book, but about the reader too. To be saved, first you need to feel desperate.

About Tomica Scavina
Tomica Scavina is a psychologist, who, at some point in her life, felt that her professional life was squelching her creativity. She diagnosed herself as "overly normal" and returned to her forgotten love of writing fiction to unleash her creative streak. This resulted in three novels. Tomica lives in Croatia and for now the only one in English is Kaleidoscope World.

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Synopsis: A collector of kaleidoscopes and lousy relationships, Dahlia Kasper leaves her possessive alcoholic mother and moves from New York to Barcelona. In search of lost bits of her childhood, she starts living in an apartment where her father was murdered when she was four. As soon as she enters the apartment, strange things begin to happen.

Her favorite kaleidoscope becomes a gateway to another dimension where she encounters a ghost of a famous physicist from the 19th century who tries to persuade her that reality is like a moth-eaten sweater – full of holes. He needs her to help him plug up these holes and save the world from vanishing, while the only thing Dahlia really wants to save is her sanity.

This is just a part of Dahlia’s problems. An elderly cello-playing neighbor turns her emotional world upside down and her longing for lost home takes her further than she ever imagined she could go. To collect all the scattered kaleidoscope-bits of her life together, Dahlia needs to go through an intense inner transformation that takes courage and a sharp sense of humor. 


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