- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an author from Canada. Always great to be with Canadians.
Welcome, Claudiu ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I was born in Romania and has called Canada my home since 1997. I graduated Computer Science in Bucharest, Romania hence my experience in the IT industry. I have also accumulated experience in various fields such as renewable energy, real estate, finance and arts, experience that helped me create complex but real characters that brought forward meaningful messages.
I attended numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions in Europe and USA giving me the opportunity to come in contact with remarkable writers that helped me improved my own trade.
My short stories have made it into anthologies in Romania in 2017 and 2018.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I started writing Science Fiction when I was 11-years-old. I was listening to a radio show that encouraged young writers submit their stories. Later on, during the university years, I joined a Science Fiction club that had among his members well established writers and scientists that gave the starters ton of good advice and ideas to write about.
But the more serious approach happened in 2014 when an idea that needed a long time to brew came forward very powerfully and forced me to start putting it on paper.
The second book it happened in only seven month.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
Lately I started to plan more in terms of characters and plot, but I found that (as I’m sure that you heard this statement from other authors as well) the story takes unplanned twists many times during the writing process. I just have to go along and be sure that it ends as I initially envision it.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I enjoy sharing stories that no one else thought about. Like many others, I’m a storyteller and I bring further my own craft.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The hardest thing is that you have to keep up a certain level of creativity and not disappoint your readers. One has to work harder and pay more attention.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
My near-past life still hangs around. At this point in time being a ‘pro’ is not completely possible. My day job is that of an IT project manager working on contract for the main banks in Canada.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
So far I’ve published two books loaded with worthy messages that I would like people to decipher for their own benefit. Writing fiction (Science Fiction & Fantasy in my case) gives one the liberty to hide certain powerful codes in plain sight. It shields the writer from a reader’s rebuke when finding the truth which he or she had a hard time facing in the real life.
We, as writers, change peoples’ lives even if we want to acknowledge or not. And to me, this is a big achievement.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
In ‘Water Entanglement’ I left several leads hanging so I decided to write a sequel. Water and crystals are so important in our lives that they need more attention and awareness brought upon them.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Powerful images inspire me, feelings that engulf me all of a sudden as triggering the inspiration in purpose, a good book or an amazing musical piece. We are surrounded by beauty but somehow we forgot to see it and appreciate it.
10. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
I know writer’s block is a common symptom but I try not to pay attention to what I call ‘a short period of being an empty vessel’. What we, writers, should understand is that like any other cycle in life, we fill ourselves with inspiration then, we put it on paper. The writing process draws out that creative energy. At the end of one or two productive weeks we need a short respite. We fill empty and we need a certain amount of time to go back to that state of fulfilment. In the question ‘What inspires me” I mention how I get back to that sublime state of fulfilment.
11. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Mainly between 5:00 – 8:00 PM after dealing with the daily job. Sometimes it can go as late as midnight if the inspiration hasn’t dried out.
12. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
No, I can write anywhere if I have inspiration, pen and paper. I wrote several paragraphs of the Water Entanglement’s last chapter on a promotional flyer while waiting for my wife inside Victoria Secret’s store.
13. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
The greatest compliment came from a former work colleague which I haven’t seen in years and we met during a book signing event for my first book, ‘The Decadence of Our Souls’. She had no idea that I’m an author and was very surprised. She bought the book just because she wanted to be supportive with no expectations of its quality. Three weeks later I received an explosive email from her congratulating me for the book and saying that one of her friends is reading it now and her husband is next.
After that instance I received several more. It’s the normal reader’s feedback that gives you the most satisfaction because you are not a household name, you have a limited number of readers and any such ‘small winning’ is a significant step forward.
14. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love to read and travel. I can’t spend a day without reading. Spirituality, new age, science (especially as part of my research for my books), Science Fiction and occasionally Fantasy if recommended by a person whose taste I trust. Unfortunately, I buy more books than I can usually read in one year so the pile of unread books is going higher.
15. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes, both my books have been edited by professionals, individuals that also write, teach creative writing at universities or colleges.
16. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
The message I have for the world leaders is part of my book ‘Water Entanglement’. I would tell them how careless, egotistic, selfish and hard-headed they are in dealing with crises that involve humans and animal reign alike. I would tell them that they are minions in the big scheme of things and they should deflate their egos and serve humanity instead of the interest of a few power-hungry individuals.
You could have such wonderful lives if we apply the concepts I talk about in ‘The Decadence of Our Souls’: Love Compassion, Empathy. It cost one nothing to think positive, to love the people around him and to take a stand to things go wrong.
World leaders have to change their mindset before anything of significance would change in the world.
17. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I plan to keep writing books with worthy messages and reach a point where I can do it fulltime. I want to get more involved with the environmental NGOs, especially with those cleaning up the oceans. In fact fifty percent of the royalties generated online from the sales of ‘Water Entanglement’ go to Project Aware – www.projectaware.org
18. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I created a book trailer for ‘Water Entanglement’ and I got very positive reviews. I can’t comment on how that has translated already in sales. I think it’s too early for an assessment as it has to hit more eyeballs on TV, FB, and web in general.
19. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
I’m a positive person.
20. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
‘The Decadence of Our Souls’ was thirty-years in the making. Why I’m saying that? The initial idea came to me when I was 17-years-old and I wrote a short story that got published. The title was different. Then I wrote another story that had this title, but was never published. So four years ago, after a long period of accumulation, I was able to get the creative juices flowing again. In ‘The Decadence’ I write about themes that are dear to me and reflect realities of life. My characters suffer, die, have good and bad days, and in the end, when it seems that there is no light in sight, The One Who Created All gives everyone another chance for redemption. So far, this is my favourite manuscript.
21. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
While reading the book I would like my readers to feel the pain, the disappointments, the anger, the happiness and the uplifting of my characters. I want them to find in my characters that tiny piece of behaviour that they can identify with. I had readers asking me why I killed a certain character because they had an attachment to him. After explaining my reasons they agreed with me, but still felt sorry for the ‘early loss.’
No matter the emotional journey during the reading, in the end, my readers should always have to feel that there is hope for a better life, a better opportunity, a more rewarding family experience. They have to have faith and stay positive.
22. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
Both my books would make great movies under a good director. In fact someone has already offered to write the movie script for ‘The Decadence’.
I personally never wrote a script as I am not familiar with the process for a successful screenplay.
23. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Marketing and promoting your own books is the tough part that almost every writer loathes. A lot of effort, time and energy goes into it but I like it. I don’t have an agent yet in order to arrange my book signing events, the convention participations or the radio and TV interviews. I enjoy this type of interaction because it exposes me to more people and gives me a certain toughness that you need in order to push forward. A good example is the way we connected for this interview.
I teach other authors how to put aside any misconceptions and just find the energy to do it.
24. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
‘Water Entanglement’ was published by Author Academy Elite in USA. While initially ‘The Decadence of Our Souls’ was self-published, the same publisher has agreed to publish this book as well.
25. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Determined, focused, joyful, grateful, ‘Scorpion-ed’
26. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
“Sea Sick” by Alanna Mitchell (non-fiction); “The Last Summoner” by Nina Munteanu (Science Fiction)
27. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
To see visible changes in the world as a result of either my writings or my actions outside writing. Most of us dream to change the world but very few have the chance to really make an impact.
Also to see my books translated in other languages so the message gets spread.
At the time of this interview ‘The Decadence of Our Souls’ was translated and published in the Romanian language and garnered amazing reviews. ‘Water Entanglement’ is next and slated to be translated and published by the end of 2018.
28. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
If you are new to the industry and want to connect with a well-established author don’t be shy sending him or her a message. You would be amazed how often they will reply. This type of email exchanges could develop in long-lasting business relationship or friendships.
Clancy's comment: Go, Claudiu. Well done. Keep writing, and good luck with book sales.