A.G. Billig began writing short stories at the age of 8. Imagining plots and characters became her favorite pastime, leaving little time for playing with toys and dolls…
I remember, as a child, being taken to visit a priest at his house in a small village in the mountains. His warm smile, thick black beard and hair cut above the shoulders; his youth made him look more like a Robin Hood hero than a servant of God. My thoughts were wandering back to the wonderful glacier I had just seen in a cave, deep down in the earth, when he showed me to my room. It was almost the same size as our apartment in the city with a high ceiling and wooden floor. It had a large bed right in the middle of it and hundreds of books—old ones, with hard or leather covers—spread all over the place.
I remember my parents standing in the doorway next to the priest, their faces beaming, their eyes watching over me, whilst I was totally absorbed in this unexpected yet enthralling world. A world of my very own that I was free to explore until the Sandman’s arrival—the grown–ups had been given their room. It felt strange sleeping in a parish house, surrounded by holy books. I was at an age that I could hardly read, however, I was able to recognize Latin as well as some of the Saints’ pictures. Nevertheless, as soon as I had said goodnight, I became the narrator of an unexplored world, where the unnatural and fantasy were the real thing. I was able to see the whole picture and in my right hand was a pen topped by the red feather of a dove. A light flashing in the sky signaled that I had to start writing what I saw…
The next day, the first thing I told my parents was that I was going to become a writer.
Soon after, she started taking part in national literary contests and children magazines featured her creations. The grown-ups acknowledged her gifts, speaking on radio, TV and in print about the 13-year-old writer. They also awarded her with several first prizes in the most important national writing contest for young people in short story, reportage and drama categories.
At fifteen Billig finished her first novel. The book got good reviews from critics but because of a troubled economical and political climate at the time it was never published. Undeterred, she concentrated on her academic studies, finished high school and, maybe, knowing that one day she would write fiction for the native English speakers, she decided to attend the prestigious University of Bucharest, The Faculty of Foreign Languages (English-French). As a student, she discovered that she could express her creativity as a journalist. She wrote articles and interviews for several newspapers and magazines, she was a TV host and a radio presenter. In addition, she developed a career in communication, as a PR Consultant.
As the daughter of a French father and an Eastern European mother Billig is a natural born traveler, most of the time by imagination. She sees herself as a world citizen who crosses the imaginary frontiers between countries, wandering from place to place, admiring the beauty of the Earth, and feeling the warmth of the Sun, the caress of the waves, discovering the universal soul of mankind.
My father was a great storyteller. I still have his notebook where he wrote dozens of short stories inspired by his childhood in Paris. The one I kept asking for and never got tired of hearing was one where he got lost in the park, thought his grand-parents had abandoned him and persuaded a cab driver to take him home for free, so he can tell his family a word or two! He also had a taste for art, fine living and exploration. He met my mother in Bucharest, fell in love, married her and decided to stay. Therefore, I have a universal soul but I’m Romanian by birth.
Since Billig loves to travel, her trips took her across Europe, to the Americas. It was during a spiritual journey to Brazil to the magical land of Abadiania, at the end of 2010, that she decided to take up writing again.
Everything in life happens for a reason. That reason is to help us growth, to make us happy. As soon as we understand this, we understand the language spoken by the Universe, reflected in the small or big happenings we usually put down to coincidence or luck but what I’d rather call synchronicities. You know, being at the right time, in the right place, with the right person….
A year and half later, armed with four of her best short stories and without even knowing about the existence of MP Publishing, Billig ran into Mark Pearce and Maria Smith at the London Book Fair. The rest is history, or to be more precise, her debut volume Four Doors and Other Stories.
Billig is currently working on her first novel as a grown-up, inspired by her 2010 journey in Brazil. It’s going to have mystery, and romance, and fantasy, all these elements that we crave so much in the real world because we instinctively know they can lift our soul...
When she is not imagining things, she enjoys dancing (especially salsa), doing sports (she is a fan of kangaroo jumps, skiing, skating and kick box aerobics), taking long walks, reading, listening to the music and being outdoors.
As many spiritual teachers say, the human being is a harmonious combination; maybe the most harmonious that ever existed between spirit and matter. Let’s not forget that in our daily busy lives…
A. G. Billig's first collection of short stories Four Doors and Other Stories with MP Publishing is available in eBook now!