I C Publishing is extremely proud to announce our newest published author.
Nikolina Ivankovic is a beautiful and courageous soul. As she imparts her astonishing experiences in Where the Roses Grow, you will be hard-pressed to truly imagine what her life was like during the Bosnian war, yet somehow you may still see yourself in her in many ways. You will see your sister in her sister, your mother and father in yours too. Human beings on this incredulous journey called life.
Such a poignant and passionate storyteller, Nikolina reminds us of the extreme harshness that still exists in this world. At the same time, she finds a way to exude light and positivity and encourage us. You root for her and her family. You think of them for days, and longer, after you’ve read their stories. You reflect on life with your own loved ones and are reminded of the precious little gestures and moments with each other that can sometimes be taken for granted, like cooking and breaking bread with them.
Where the Rose Grow: Touching Stories of Survival is the epitome of hope and a searing reflection of the overwhelming compassion and strength of the human spirit at its best. In these times especially, everyone should read this precious book. And read it again and again if you must. Change and healing begins with love.
I introduce you to Nikolina in our written interview below. Be sure to look her up on IG and FB too.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have always cared a lot. I care about my communities, about my family, and about myself. When Covid-19 hit, it became clear to me that many of my fellow Canadians had a hard time accepting and adopting to the new life circumstances the pandemic imposed on us.
Before the pandemic started, I felt an overdue and pressing need to tell my stories of survival through the war. I have been journaling and reliving them for the past thirty years but haven’t had a good reason to write them. I could not see their purpose.
In the second year of the pandemic, my compassion for community and the swelling urge to share my thoughts and experiences from those many years ago began to gel. I sat down and wrote the manuscript hoping it would help at least one person through not only a pandemic or war but throughout their life.
What do you want others to gain from your book?
Wars are constant through our human existence on earth. I would love readers to connect and understand what it is like to live through the war. It would fill my heart to know that Where the Roses Grow inspires people to be kind and care for each other and to prioritize humanity above short term goals.
Through true empathy and compassion for war survivors, I hope that each person who reads this book finds one way to help those in need as war continues to torment the lives of others. I also want people to understand how one can go through the tragedies of war and still love life. I want passion for living to outgrow the barely existing we see today.
I have a vision of an inspired reader who puts this book down after reading it, saying, “I am so grateful for the gift of life. I will make it the best journey I can for myself as well as for the others.”
What was your creative process for this project?
Writing about the most traumatic part of my life—my family’s war experience—taught me many lessons about myself and the creative processes for this project.
As I evoked memories, the danger of getting stuck in the whirlpool of emotions they created became so evident early on. I remember my left arm feeling numb as I wrote about our day trip through the forest with the people smuggler; it was the same feeling I had in my arm as when I finished that grueling trek thirty years ago. The realization that the unhealed trauma was deeply buried in my body made me reach out to my Heal Your Life (HYL) teacher to help me do trauma release and healing while I continued writing my book. Amazingly, numerous sessions with the HYL coach became the conduit to bravely go into stuck memories, sort them out in chronological order, and heal along the way.
While writing the stories, I also needed to ground myself a couple times a day; this process varied on how I felt and involved physical exercises such as paddle-boarding on Lake Ontario, walking along Oakville trails, cooking for my family, and playing either accordion or piano depending on the sound I preferred to hear. I let myself lose the power to give the power to my writing. Thankfully I gained it back. I incorporated meditation and other tools to support my journey. I needed to affirm personally that I trusted life and that I am loved.
As I continued to write, I would ask myself: What Do You Feel? Why is this so painful? Do you remember how this looked like?
Although I so wanted to give up due to the immense trauma brought back by reliving those memories, I committed to the process for six months. Within this time, I was able to focus my creative energies to writing the manuscript.
Why did you choose the story-telling format you used?
I always saw my book as a set of stories in sequential order, as if moving from one train station to the next. Each station has its arrivals and departures which corresponds to the stories beginning and end.
What’s next for you as an author?
Where the Roses Grow tells my family’s stories of survival during the Former Yugoslavian war and it has reached its destination, Canada. I will be writing next about my Canadian journey that began twenty-five years ago.
I invite you to learn more about Where the Roses Grow in the I C Bookstore. The digital version can be purchased and downloaded now, and the paperback format is available for ordering and will be shipping by mid-April. You’ll also be able to find it on Amazon.ca later in April as well as in e-reader formats for your tablets.
Thank you Nikolina. We wish you deep joy and meaningful success as you continue on your path: raising people up and encouraging them to live their best life because they can—and you show them how.
Sheri Andrunyk ©2022, Publisher, Senior Writer, Mentor, Author
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