Tell us a little about yourself
I'm one of those writers who never thought he would end up authoring a book. I just knew I had a story that apparently waited for the right moment to break out. For many years I had been sharing my time between family in Israel and business mostly in former Soviet republics, virtually living on the plane between Middle East and Eastern Europe. Witnessing the meteoric rise of a small number of individuals from modest citizens to mighty billionaires, I felt I could create an interesting and revealing story based on the Wild West enrichment scenario. In the fictional plot of Oligarch series I combine real and imaginary events with some 'lawyers' folklore' and known corruption and criminal schemes customary for Ukraine and other former USSR republics. I also give some fictional interpretation of the glorious and simultaneously tragic events of 2013 uprising in Ukraine resulting in ousting of the president, ensuing Russian aggression in Crimea and tensions and war in the Eastern regions of Ukraine. The imaginary characters are designed to reflect a real behavior and mentality and provide decent entertainment for the readers. I watched with interest movies based on Bill Gates' and Mark Zuckerberg's biographies describing their path to wealth and glory. Although they were truly amazing, in my personal opinion the rise of their Eastern billionaire peers is just a little more thrilling and unorthodox.
What genre do you write in?
In hard-boiled, political, international thriller genre. There are two books available at the moment: 'Rise of an Oligarch' and 'Mortal Showdown'.
Tell us about your latest book.
Released in June 2015, 'Mortal Showdown' is a gritty (political, spy) action thriller; snappy, fast with lots of twists. It should appeal to Robert Ludlum's or Tom Clancy's fans. If I look for a proper metaphor, it would be something like James Bond done by Guy Ritchie -:). On the other hand, those having head ache from Russian names or exotic locations like Kazakhstan or Mongolia probably shouldn't bother.
When did you first know you wanted to be writer?
Well, I'm not sure I want -:). There is money in there for maybe 1% or less of those who write and I still need to be a breadwinner. After finishing the first book I'd discovered that writing was ... addictive, so I just indulge in this positive addiction, but don't put all my eggs into the writing basket -:).
Are there any books or writers who have particularly influenced or inspired you as a writer?
Particularly? I'll probably mention two: Mario Puzo with his Godfather, as Oligarch is somewhat similar in concept to Michael Corleone, just Ukrainian style, and Irvine Welsh, who demonstrated that literary mischief could actually be 'barry', if I borrow a word from his Scottish slang -:)
What is your proudest moment as a writer so far?
I hope these are still ahead.. I was proud though, when one of the reviewers wrote that she found my book 'far and wide superior' to some of Robert Ludlum's stuff. That's a big compliment and I'm not sure - entirely deserved.
Have you ever considered branching out into other genres? If so which other genre/s would you like to write in?
I'm being prompted to write a non-fiction book, but I have some doubts about it yet.. It may be .... boring. I'm not particularly locked on thrillers though, but I need to 'see'/conceive a story in my mind in order to consider writing it.
Why did you decide to be an independent author?
Not by choice, I'll tell you that much. If we (with the co-author on the first book) had an interest from agents or publishers, we would've most likely preferred a traditional route. As an indie, you must invest much more efforts into marketing and promotion than into writing per se. Although this is an arguable point. Since we both have other occupations, none of us really has time for that. But with the niche fiction which readership isn't clear, literary agents didn't want to take a chance with us....
If one of the big 5 publishers offered you a contract tomorrow would you swap indie for traditional publishing, stay as you are or try to do both?
I'd switch without a second thought at this stage. Even though they don't invest much in the unknown authors, they can build the 'brand' quicker and they provide the entire financing. I've spent some money on editing, cover designs, etc for the books and I'm far from being sure I'd ever make it back. On the other hand, why would someone like John Grisham or Steven King need a publisher now that everybody knows who they are and a huge readership waiting for their next book? The established and universally recognized authors sell many thousands of whatever they release with or without the publisher probably.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced as an indie?
How to stand out of millions of other titles available on Amazon. I've picked up the gauntlet, but I'm not sure I know how to rise to it -:)
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm at the pre-publication stage with the third installment, which should conclude Oligarch series, at least for the time being, and it has a little surprise in it. Michael tops Forbes billionaire's list only to find out that those, who really dominate the global economy, rule illicitly and stay away from the public eye. He needs to confront the ancient cabal in order to survive and to save his country... For good or bad, it should be a transgressive, radical, uncompromising, grotesque, action-packed and philosophical read.
Where can people buy your books or connect with you?
Buy Nik's Books
Rise of an Oligarch
Rise of an Oligarch
N.B. This author interview does not constitute the endorsement of the featured writer or their work by this blog. This interview is provided as part of a free promotional opportunity for indie authors.