– How would you describe yourself – what excites you, what is your temperament? Or, in other words, tell us something about yourself.
– It is the hardest task to describe oneself even for a master of the pen, and God save me, I don’t consider myself one.
Every person possesses both ordinary and extraordinary features. The difference is in the ratio of these two entities.
The greater the share of the extraordinary, of the crazy, bold and wild, the more interesting a man is. At least for those around.
Have you asked yourselves why people read a given book or watch a film?
Because of the extraordinary. They need to see, feel, experience the different reality. Something they cannot or don’t have the guts to do from Monday to Friday, nine to five. But while reading, they are dreaming and flying in different worlds, be it with the help of some one else’s wings. Actually, to provide wings is the very purpose of an artist.
As of weekends too.
The ordinary, the trivial. the moderate, the monotonous is dull. It is quiet and uneventful, while the reader and the person in the audience needs to shout and rave, he longs for burning love, passion, terror, suffering, tension, the outline of the story, the twist, the culmination…
And the better the writer, the film director or the artist is, the more real the experience. The thrill, the emotion, the sweat, the laughter, the tears.
My temperament? I don’t know… enriched uranium. You have to ask my family and friends, who are forced to endure my difficult nature and love me all the same in spite of the bottomless ego of a successful surgeon and a writer, gathering speed.
– When did you start writing?
– I started writing late. Like I started talking late. My mother says I never said a word till I was 3. And then I blurted entire sentences with the correct word order.
I sincerely hope that my books would be mature and complete in the same manner.
At school I had zero affinity towards literature, probably because of the narrow-minded educational programs and obsolete norms.
If I must pin-point when I started writing, it was at university. In the course of Philosophy of Law we had to write an essay about Botev’s words ‘Freedom is precious, truth is sacred’. I had been working as a doctor for more than fifteen years then and I studied law rather for pleasure. Maybe for the first time I did not care about the mark and I poured out several texts from the point of view of Byzantines and Turks. I thought it wasn’t going bad at all.
Thus, it all started.
By the way, the professor appreciated my crazy approach to history.
– How do you prepare for your books, do you do research?
– There is a popular expression ‘I’m not rich enough to buy cheap stuff’. So, as an answer to your question, let me rephrase it and say that I’m not stupid enough to believe I know everything.
I would never touch the book of a writer who says everything comes to him from above or he sits and writes just like that.
He is either a genius or a fool. Or a liar.
Writing is hard labor.
My books involve a broad spectrum of scientific spheres and it would be a betrayal to my readers if I am not prepared enough. To walk in a swamp, praying not to step on Am Gul is not my cup of tea.
– What else are you interested in besides literature?
– I deal in various activities, incompatible at first glance. I have a charity foundation, I study Law, work actively as a dentist and surgeon in two cities, I teach classes for face aesthetics and implantology, I develop and maintain medical software, I write books…
I swim and run almost daily.
But I do not refuse foamy beer or red wine.
By the way, this is my latest passion – making of wine. But let us leave it for another interview.
And since the month of both wine and love finished very recently, let me confess that I am a bachelor, but not sinless, relatively co-habitable and with an interest to permanent involvement…
– In an Author’s Note to “The Cube” you share that literature was boring for you. Was that because of the authors in the program or because of the way you were introduced to them? Further, you mention some of your favorite writers – Asimov, Lem, the brothers Strugatsky, Crichton, Hawking – who else would you add?
– Stefan Zweig. Dumas. O. Henry. Michio Kaku.
In order to be a good writer, you must achieve three things with the reader: to identify with the main character, to wonder what the ending might be, and to feel.
Anything else is of little importance.
At school I did not feel. Sorry.
My deepest bow to the classics, but Tartuffe and Don Quixote are long past their literary youth.
New times – a new approach.
And so that I don’t sound totally bad, I’ll temper my statement and will say without false modesty, that I doubt my own books will be cutting-edge ten years from now.
Because then the nowadays future will be the present, and the achievements of mankind will have surpassed my boldest expectations.
Or else, all my futuristic nightmares will have come true.
– You also mention there that you would rather write than be read. Why is that?
– Because narcissism is overcome by the sheer pleasure of creation. But in the end, I suppose, the need to share is overwhelming. So, besides writing, I am being published. While I write, I really enjoy the story as much as the reader does.
– Do you imagine film shots while you are writing? Or – do you expect that someone might make a film out of your work?
– Definitely. We had talks with some producers in this direction. But for now, I will not go ahead of events, so I am not self-jinxed.
I mean, I don’t mind to be jinxed by Ridley Scott.
I don’t mind either for “New York Times” to criticize bitterly my books.
The truth is that the structure of some of the stories just begs to be put on film. Others need more serious adaptation. Far from generalizing, I believe that in the usual case complex characters, deep psychological conflicts and small, but valuable details are transferred with greater difficulty to the screen.
And vice versa, action, dynamic shots with plenty of muscle are more easily susceptible to filming.
– Do you create special atmosphere for writing?
Music. Red wine. Low lights. Focusing. Thrilling emotions. Memories. Dreams. Clock. Home-made pie.
At least that’s how it was in the romantic beginning. Now it is rather like that: Alarm clock. Juice. Sunrise. Work. Deadline. Refining. Text.
– How high is your coefficient for non-standard thinking (creation of ideas and characters in complex systems of events)?
– Ha-ha, that’s from “The Cube 1”.
The rest 36.2% are work. And a vision what exactly you want to do.
Respect for the reader.
Forgive me, but most of the contemporary productions, whether films or books, are just a mockery with the self-assessment of the audience.
They are being belittled to cheap reality figures.
I never allow myself to belittle the reader. On the contrary, I believe that if faced with something of value and at the same time interesting, one would not be bored.
And if you can pin up their attention, you can do anything.
– Would you ‘open’ for us the pages of your next book, that is supposed to be published in March?
– “The Auction” turned out to be a book between two geometrical figures. After the first Cube and before “The Cube 2”, which, by the way, is almost ready.
But its position between them refers to time only. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with mathematics, physics, non-standard scientific theories or travel in parallel realities. “The Auction” is dark, beautiful, perverted, cruel, macho, thrilling in a way that you won’t see even in horror productions. The curse to possess all and control everybody. Except yourself.
I realize it sounds like a vicious cliché, but the book is something you have never read before.
It is about two boys who receive a tempting proposal and accept it with no idea that it will involve them in a bloody mess of power, money, gambling, alcohol, drugs and sex.
The theme of love and God has been more broadly exploited than that of the Devil. Therefore, I meant my characters to be driven by hatred and revenge.
– We know you are a perfectionist and do some serious preparation for every forthcoming book?
I don’t know if attention to detail in surgery or my natural punctiliousness is the reason, but I transferred the precise preparation in writing too.
The location of the action, atmosphere, real geographic, architectural and other facts. These are just a part of the obligatory elements of the preliminary ass-placing preparation. I mean, placing your ass on the chair and starting to write.
The idea is crucial but the way it is executed defines the quality of the book.
Only serious back-up and hard work can guarantee success.
I like to mix serious scientific doctrines with plastic ideas that both provoke the scientists and thrill the readers. But in order to intertwine reality with fantasy smoothly, like a DNA molecule with its double spiral, you need solid background and convincing approach.
I hate to sound like a mentor with preaching tone, but for my next book, “The Virus”, I went specially to Oxford and Cambridge to see where one of the characters jumped from. I was sniffing for details around London. You cannot do it on the Internet only. It is unprofessional.
Because on the parking-lot, for which I did not pay as a proper Bay Ganio character, I met a beggar-artist who was fascinated with one of my tattoos – a skull. Or maybe he wanted to be given some change.
He did not get money, but instantly got to be a five-rated character in a techno-sci fi-action thriller about a dualistic virus.
– You were born in the home city of the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. What did Rousse give to you?
– I’ll tell you what it took from me.
It made me impotent. It crippled my heart, because it deprived me of the ability to fall in love.
In other cities.
They say, the first love happens just once, but when in its only net there is rich draught, it lasts forever.
My first and last love is Rousse.