Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Nik Krasno

Today's interview is with a Russian author - Nik Krasno, who writes novels about Russian oligarchs.


Hi Nik and welcome to Creativity@Work. Thanks for sharing your writing process with us.

1.         When did you first start writing?
I started about 2.5 years ago... On the first book Rise of an Oligarch we were working together with my friend and co-author. He was doing most of the actual writing (2/3 or 3/4 even), while I was providing most of the content and ideas. Towards the end, I'd gained enough confidence to write some scenes, pieces and chapters myself... So much confidence, that the 2nd book Mortal Showdown, I'd written on my own -:)

2.         What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
Oligarch series describes the story of a fictional Ukrainian oligarch (a tycoon with considerable political influence) from his early childhood as a poor Soviet kid to a mighty billionaire and his showdown with powerful enemies that are apt to destroy and assassinate him. Probably something like Godfather Ukrainian style -:). The series also follows short but turbulent history of a young state - Ukraine, which became independent in the aftermath of the USSR's dissolution. The first book is more of a political thriller mixed with historical fiction, while the second - is a hard-boiled action thriller.

I'm self-published, while my friend and co-author on the first book is a trad-published author of his non-fiction books and indie on fiction with me.    

3.         What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I need to have an idea, a basic story to try to write it. Yes, I outline, but then again it happened quite a few times when new ideas, scenes events popped-up in the course of writing and generally I'm not that meticulous about following the initial layout. I type my work on the computer and send it by e-mail to myself pretty frequently, to have this additional option for recovery, if the computer fails...

4.         What's your editing process?
As I'm not a native English-speaker, so I'm hiring editors and do at least a couple of iterations before the book goes live. And even then, sometimes I discover some typos afterwards.

5.         Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
The real life events, I guess. Who would ever think that Russians and Ukrainians would turn weapons on each other? No one, never, not even in a nightmare. Yet it happens.

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.

6.         When in the day do you usually write? For how long?
I'm self-employed, so it makes it a bit easier to combine my writing with other stuff and to allocate sufficient time to writing in between work and other tasks. When writing a book I tend to have between 1 and 2K written words daily, although the writing may be spread unevenly along the day.

7.         Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
Sure, my writing causes more spending than income, since as an indie I need to invest in editing and cover design, while I didn't see these expenses return, so I continue with my legal practice as an independent legal practitioner and hope that one day I won't view writing as an expensive hobby -:) My practice as a commercial lawyer saves me a lot of research since my work gives me access to intricacies of various fields and industries, sometimes from a negative aspect of problems, set-ups and frauds, which fictional analogues I can use in my thriller stories.

8.         How much research do you do? What kind?
If I write about things, places, notions or other stuff I don't have my own knowledge and they are not purely imaginative, I read available info in the public domain, because I certainly do not want to write something ludicrous, when I don't mean it. On the other hand, I try to stick in my writing to the themes I do have some knowledge about, so I would need to supplement it rather than learn anew.

9.         How much marketing do you do? Which platforms are you most active on? 
My marketing is low-key really. I haven't done any paid marketing yet, but I might try it someday. I haunt Goodreads pretty much, try to get some interest and reviews from bloggers, do the interviews, when opportunities arise. I'm mostly on Goodreads, where I participate frequently in debates and other communications and where I try to develop and make interesting a group that I've founded - 'Enrichment, Tycoons and Oligarchs'.

10.       What project are you working on now?
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.

Bio:
Nik Krasno is one of those writers who never thought he would end up authoring a book. He just knew that he had a story that apparently waited for the right moment to break out.

Krasno was born in Kiev, USSR (Ukraine). Seeing the enormous Soviet Empire crumbling around him as a teenager, Nik immigrated to Israel, where he became a lawyer and after the Big Bang of the USSR returned to already independent Ukraine as an Israeli citizen. For many years Nik had been sharing his time between family in Israel and work 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, Nik felt compelled to expose to the world the unique phenomenon taking place in this less familiar part of the globe. In the fictional plot of his Oligarch series he combines real and imaginary events with some 'lawyers' folklore' and known corruption and criminal schemes customary for Ukraine and other former USSR republics. The author also shares some insight into 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 real behavior and mentality and provide decent entertainment for the readers.

Remember movies based on Bill Gates' and Mark Zuckerberg's biographies describing their path to wealth and glory? Although they were truly amazing, Nik thinks the rise of their eastern billionaire peers is just a little more thrilling and unorthodox.

Besides writing the series, Nik currently resides and works as an independent legal practitioner in Israel.


Most Recent Novel: Mortal Showdown

Mortal Showdown is an action packed thriller sending the reader on a kaleidoscopic race through violence, sex, scamming and anti-scamming, political upheaval and murder. 

Michael (Misha) – a Ukrainian oligarch who was rapidly climbing the Forbes rich list, wakes from a coma caused by an assassination attempt and realizes that he's in the thick of a multilayered attack on him and his business empire. Making things even worse - among his numerous adversaries is one of Russia’s most influential strongmen. From rich and powerful, Michael very quickly becomes a fugitive, struggling for survival. Counting on his wits and a handful of loyal associates, he searches for a way to even the score with each of his adversaries and to save his country from the Russian bear’s grasp. 

In order to have the slightest chance in a face-off with his prime nemesis, Michael needs to attack head on, undertaking the greatest risk of his entire life. Unfortunately, the dangerous mission goes wrong from the very beginning...

Mortal Showdown: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Rise of an Oligarch: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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