Tell us a bit about your family. My father and mother are typical Soviet Union folks: very well educated, with strong moral principles. “Never take bribes, never steal, never betray your friends,” is what I learned from my childhood. Then, when I moved to the US, those things were combined with the American principles, “never explain, never complain,” which completed my list of values. :) I must add that my parents are both 75 now, and they are still really full of energy!
I’m living with my third wife, Asha, and we are very much in love. My latest book, SEMMANT, is dedicated to her.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I have a very short temper.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I have always done only what I wanted.
What is your favorite food? Asian, of every kind.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Outer Banks, NC, USA
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I received an excellent education – for which I’m very grateful to the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists. And I grew up reading great Russian literature, which significantly shaped my literary tastes.
Perhaps the most important thing I got from my childhood and my youth is a habit of not being frightened by problems that appear unsolvable, or goals that look unachievable. And that’s important for a writer: when you start a book it often seems impossible to take all those diverse thoughts that scurry through your head and put them into words on a page. :)
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I read a lot as a child, from the age of four. I considered books to be the most fascinating things in the world, and I always knew I would write fiction myself. I just knew it; no one told me about it or encouraged me in any way. I even had “writer dreams” – line after line of a written text running before my eyes and resounding in my head. I didn’t understand the meaning of the words, but I felt their rhythm.
When and why did you begin writing? At the age of 22, my head suddenly became full of rhymed lines. I had to get rid of them, so I started to write poetry. It was very bad poetry.
How long have you been writing? 30 years.
When did you first know you could be a writer? I’ve known it since childhood.
What genre are you most comfortable writing? The safest answer is “literary fiction” - although I don’t believe in dividing books by genre.
What inspired you to write your first book? My first novel was inspired by sudden and complete FREEDOM. I completed a huge, seven-year project, divorced, moved to another continent, felt that my life started anew, and was free of all responsibilities and worries.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? It was influenced by some of my favorite writers – Kafka, Marquez, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, etc.
Genre - Literary Fiction
Rating – NC17
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Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG13