About George Eli
G.S. “George” Eli is an American Rom who works as an activist, author, filmmaker and spiritualist. He is the founder of the Romani Media Initiative (RMI), which addresses the issues related to Romani exclusion from society. He authored “The Last of the Magi,” a fiction novel that speaks to this very topic and which creates one of the first ever Romani heroes. Eli created a documentary film entitled “Searching for the 4th Nail” which explores and questions many of the Romani traditions he grew up with while simultaneously smashing racist Romani stereotypes. As a spiritualist for more than ten years, he has helped hundreds of clients live their best lives by guiding them as they reached their personal goals and lasting spiritual understanding and wellness. Eli has been featured on NPR, WEBE-108, FOX News’s Tucker Carlson, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Additionally, he’s a public speaker who has shared his teachings in spiritualism and his expertise on Romani culture at Harvard University, the United Nations, University of Texas at Austin, U.S. State Department, Bohemian National Hall at the Greek Consulate, Hungarian Cultural Center in Berlin, and many others. www.GSEli.com
About The Last Of The Magi:The Devouring
When a tarot card reading reveals an evil secret from biblical times, Mila, an orphaned gypsy, is forced to confront his true destiny. When he recklessly ignores the prophecy, a twist of fate brings two Americans into his world: Casey, an heiress, along with Jack, her ingenious companion, who were both stranded in Berlin by unusual circumstances. The three teens accidentally plunge into a world of dark secrets contained within Berlin’s abandoned underground tunnels. There, they uncover a lost artifact once wielded by the Nazis that awakens an evil force. Seeking to possess these powers, a sinister cult unleashes a shadow army to hunt for this holy relic. Mila and his new friends must flee to escape certain death, and they are burdened with unlocking the mysteries of the artifact’s lost history, which promises to uncover what was Hitler’s unholy vengeance against the Gypsies. The novel is the first installment of a new adventure trilogy, which promotes a much-needed positive hero and illuminates the Romani plight and culture to readers across the world
1. How long have you been writing?
Our culture is not a written culture. We are culture of what we call, “para-miche” which translates as “an amazing story”. The story Gone With the Wind is an example of this. I grew up with a very unique philosophy of storytelling.
2. In what order do you write your books ? (Do you outline the plot first, work on world-building, create the characters etc)
I usually tell a story by creating bullet points and filling in the outline as I go, each character coming to life through the process. However, The Last of the Magi began different and the first 40 pages of the story just flowed right through me onto the page. It’s hard to explain. It was as if I had become a vessel and the story was telling itself.
3. Do you have a set writing schedule ?
I don’t have a particular writing schedule, but the best time is either after I meditate or finish a session with a client. I am a spiritualist by trade and my clients and the teachings inspire me.
4. Where can readers find and interact with you?
5. What is the most draining part of writing?
I think the most draining part of writing for me is just finding the time to do so outside of working my full-time job.
6. How often do you see parts of yourself in your characters?
I think every storyteller sees a part of themselves in their characters. I certainly can say that certain scenes from all of my stories have been influenced by my personal experiences.
7. Based on your experiences is there anything you would like aspiring authors to know?
Writing gives us the power of time and expression through storytelling. If there has ever been a situation where you regret not getting a point across or making something known, writing gives you that opportunity and that is a powerful thing.
8. What is the most important thing you learned from writing in general?
The written word carries a special power that is unmatched.
About The Last Of The Magi
1. Was there a specific incident that prompted you to write this book?
Yes. For years, I realized that the Gypsy people lacked heroes, specifically national heroes. You see, we don’t have a nation so therefore, we cannot have national heroes. I believe my people were deprived of role models that can take them out of their desperate circumstances. It is also my belief that fictional characters can also aspire and inspire. Consider James Bond, Zorro, or Mulan for example. I wrote the book to help create a hero for the Gypsy people with hopes to inspire them. I often say I wish J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter as a Gypsy boy.
2. How do you think this fictional story will impact the lives of Romani people in the real world?
My hope is that it inspires them to be more than what the world believes of them. The world depicts us as buffoons and beggars, and the book tells a different story of the Gypsy. One of heroes, protectors, and guardians.
3. What do you want this story to do for the Romani people in the real world?
As I said earlier, I would love the characters in the book to inspire an international hero for my people and help them to see outside of their current limiting situations.
4. Did you draw inspiration from an experience or story, fictional or not, when creating this world?
Absolutely. I drew inspiration from many of my experiences. For example, there is a chapter in the book where the main character is on trial. This scene was based off of actual events from my life. My grandfather was a Gypsy lawyer and I spent many of my evenings growing up witnessing Gypsy tribunals.
5. Do you see yourself in any of the characters?
Well I don’t want to expose too much of which character I believe I am, but I can relate to the main character a lot. I also feel a strong connection to Sabina, the wise mistake with a comedic disposition.
6. Do you have a favourite character?
My favorite characters are Sabina and Mila.
7. What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from this book?
If my readers walk away with a different sense and understanding of the Gypsy people, I feel I’ve accomplished what I was meant to.
8. What is the most important thing you learned while writing this book?
Character development. I learned that the character should grow and learn and continuously change throughout the story.
9. What was your favourite part about writing this book?
My favorite part was immersing myself in a scene. There is so much adventure in the book that when you’re writing it, you actually feel that you are in it. I have to say it really was the most fun.
10. What was your least favourite part about writing this book?
My least favorite part was realizing how bad my grammar is and working through that to get the story across correctly.
About G.S Eli
1. What was your dream job when you were younger?
Storytelling in some form, but I thought it would be through filmmaking.
2. Is there a particular incident in your life that opened your eyes to the exclusion of Romani people in today’s society?
There wasn’t one incident in particular, rather an entire lifetime of incidents that inspired me to do what I do today.
3. Who inspires you the most?
Oprah Winfrey. I often call her a true magician because her belief system changed her destiny.
4. Describe yourself in two words?
5. What do you think is your greatest achievement?
I don’t think my greatest achievement has happened yet, but I’ll let you know.
About The Romani Media Initiative
1. What was the most important thing that pushed you to create the Romani Media Initiative?
The lack of representation in entertainment media was by far the greatest inspiration.
2. What plans did you have for this organization?
To inspire producers, filmmakers, and authors to give a more authentic and sensitive portrayal of the Gyspy people.
3. What impact do you think the Romani Media Initiative has had on society?
I’m glad you asked this question. Since its establishment in 2012, we have inspired many people to learn more about the Roma people. I believe the impact is felt in the films and TV shows we produce, the concerts we put on, the “FYI’s” we arrange, etc.
4. What do you want people to know about this organization?
I would love producers, filmmakers, and other creatives to know that there’s a place where you can go to get an authentic feel about our people. You don’t need to rely solely on an internet quick search to find stories about Gypsies. The Roma people are happy to advise and consult on any Gypsy characters wished to be portrayed. We are not looking to censor artists, rather ensure they are portraying our people as accurately as possible.
For more information about G.S. Eli head over to his website.
That’s All I Got, Danielle.