Tatra Pro Interview Series: Lucia Grejtáková

Tatra Pro Interview Series: Lucia Grejtáková

We continue our Tatra Professional interview series with an interview with Lucia Grejtáková. Lucia is an illustrator and author who studied both in Koscie, Slovakia and Radom, Poland. She has published two books, Krajina (Landscape) and Píšťalkou ma zavolaj (Call me with a Whistle), both of which we proudly stock in the shop!


Tatra Tales: What inspired you to become an illustrator and author, and how did your journey begin?

Lucia Grejtáková: Ever since I was a child, I spent a lot of time drawing, playing with clay, and crafting with paper. I often say that I was born to create. 😊 As a little girl, I loved (and still do) illustrated books. Illustrations are an integral part of a story, helping the reader immerse themselves in the fantasy world. When my son, who is now 10, was born, I rediscovered the beauty of storytelling and illustrations.

Kite book

T: With my own kids, I’ve also found it’s very nice to rediscover activities with them. Speaking of inspirations, can you describe the themes that you often explore in your stories?

L: I am constantly in search of deeper meanings and the secret of life itself. Often, I engage in conversations with friends or even strangers who cross my path, listening to their stories, their triumphs, and struggles. Of course, many discussions happen with my son as well. Oh, the wondrous world of childhood he brings! I 'collect' these conversations, tuning in with my inner ear, and try to weave them into my novels whenever possible.

T: I do sometimes wonder if my own kids are teaching me or if I am teaching them. Switching gears a bit, how does your creative process differ when you're illustrating versus when you're writing?

L: Well, as I mentioned earlier, when I'm writing, I listen to my inner voice. Conversely, while illustrating, I read the story and follow my inner eye, allowing the images to emerge in my mind.

T: I like that distinction. It seems you have a very strong intuitive approach. I’m curious what’s it’s like as an independent author in Slovakia. For example, what challenges do you face in the Slovak publishing industry, and how do you navigate them?

L: The main challenge is letting people know about my book, especially since I am self-publishing. On one hand, I honestly believe the book will find its own way to readers. On the other hand, I promote it on social media, and I also visit grammar schools and festivals. I love hanging out with groups of children, reading from my book, and talking with them.


T: Oh, interesting comment about the festival scene. I can see that working out. Thinking more globally, for readers learning about Slovakia, the Slovak language, and discovering your work, what impressions would you want them to have about Slovakia and Slovak culture?

L: It really depends on individual preferences and interests. Personally, I am drawn to exploring the wisdom of our ancestors and the Slavic culture before Christianity. This includes their close connection with nature, the reasons behind their celebrations of events like the Winter and Summer solstices, the equinoxes, and how these were intertwined with their daily lives. I've woven part of this exploration into my book Krajina.

T: Ah, I started with your second book so now I can’t wait to read Krajina. Speaking of your books, can you share a little about your two published books and what they mean to you personally?


L: In my first book, Krajina, readers can follow the story of the main character, Jarmila. It unfolds from her childhood to her later years as a grandmother, encompassing various periods, rites of passage, and crossroads. My intention was to invite readers into their own inner worlds, to reflect on their relationships—with themselves, others, and nature—and to explore their inner thoughts and paths.

My second book is primarily for children, but it also contains insights for adults, particularly parents. The story, while less complex, delves into various aspects of nature—how it 'works,' the collaboration between animals, plants, and trees, and the beautiful network of life on our amazing planet Earth. However, I feel that I've only captured a tiny part of its greatness!

Girl with tree hair

T: Yes, my favorite illustration in your second book is the girl’s hair that transforms into tree branches which I think, perfectly captures what you mentioned. But also, your work seems deeply rooted in personal growth and transformation. How do these themes reflect your own experiences or observations in Slovak society?

L: Slovakia and the Czech Republic, being not very large countries, have a kind of community spirit. People often meet at festivals, drumming events in forests, or in cities for seminars with a specific goal—to live more wisely, closer to nature, and to cultivate more meaningful relationships. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to join people with such interests.

T: That goal seems like a good goal for all of us. So, if you could collaborate with any author or illustrator, living or dead, who would it be and why?

L: Oh, it would definitely be Antoine de Saint-Exupéry! I adore the wisdom woven into his storytelling. Or the fantasy world created by Jules Verne and the Slovak author Daniel Hevier.

Editor’s note:

  • Daniel Hevier is a prolific Slovak writer of poetry, prose, essays, children's poems, song lyrics, television scripts and more!


Man with book on paint

T: Lucia, thanks again for your time, it has been great getting to know the inspiration behind your work. Lastly, what are your future projects, and where do you see your artistic journey taking you next?

L: I have some ideas and a new story on the way, but I need to be humble and patient for the inspiration to come around and help me finish!  😊

You can continue to learn about Lucia with her own introductory YouTube video (English captions are available). You can follow her on instagram, facebook, pinterest, and her website.


All images copyright Lucia Grejtáková, used with permission.


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