Thursday, May 17, 2012

He Glows in the Dark… with Ideas

If you think it's a funny title wait till you see my co-author and you'll have to agree with me. His name is Andrei Levitski, and the post-apocalyptic novel series Technotma is entirely our baby: we've conceived and written it together, the two of us. But in Russia and Eastern Europe Andrei is best known as the most popular author of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. post-apocalyptic series. At some point, S.T.A.L.K.E.R  even made it into the Guinness book of Records for its then-largest print run.

But I'd rather show not tell, so let Andrei Levitski speak for himself in this little interview for my  Obviously Incredible readers:

art by I. Khivrenko

Me: Andrei, from what I hear, you have some rather unique childhood memories?

A.L.: I do indeed. My Gran used to live in Chernobyl, of all places, and when I was little, I used to stay at her place a lot. I spent a lot of time doing things all boys do: roaming around, investigating the woods and fishing in the Prypiat. We did venture out to the nuclear power station, too, keeping our heads down, of course, because in the Soviet times it was heavily guarded. Then the disaster struck, and we became refugees overnight... and had to move to Kiev.

art by I. Khivrenko
Me: And you lived happily ever after?

A.L.: No, I didn't. I always craved a complete change so, once I started to earn enough as a writer, I bought a house in a Bulgarian village high in the mountains, and moved there. You can call me a hermit if you want (laughs). 

Me: Have you ever been back to Chernobyl?

A.L.: A few times, yes. It's so totally different there these days. I simply couldn't recognize any of the old familiar streets or landmarks. If you can imagine a city overgrown with trees, silent buildings with gaping paneless windows, brambles bursting up through concrete pavements...

Me: A perfect post-apocalyptic setting, isn't it? So this is where you find inspiration for your books?

art by I. Khivrenko

A.L.: Absolutely! First, for S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and later, for TechnoTma. You remember, don't you?

Me: How can I forget!

A.L.: Some of the TechnoTma books have just come out in German. The English translation shouldn't take long, either.

Me: Readers keep asking me questions about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. novels. Is it the same with you?

A.L.: They do indeed. The series had some decent print runs. I still get emails almost every day from people wanting to know when they should expect a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. book.

art by I. Khivrenko
Me: What do you do when you don't work? 

A.L.: I don't. A writer has no nine-to-five job to go to. He works twenty four-seven. If you don't write, you think what to write next. You never stop thinking about your current work in progress: you just keep rolling ideas around in your head. (Me: Didn't I tell you he'd soon start glowing in the dark with ideas?) I do love traveling, though. Recently, I took nine days off and traveled around the Balkans, visiting Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. I like watching good old movies - not too old, but nothing too modern as today's blockbusters leave me cold. I also read quite a bit.

art by I. Khivrenko
Me: Good for you! Well, thanks a lot for the interview. Anything you'd like to say to our readers?

A.L.: If you want a book to read, buy one, don't be tempted to download a free pirated copy. Piracy's bad for your karma!

Me: Thank you very much! Good luck with your new books!

A.L.: Likewise!