Author Interview With Nik Krasno

Sunday, 17 January 2016
Next up to take their seat in the interview chair is author Nik Krasno. Make yourself comfortable and lets delve into the mind of this indie author:

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?
In order to separate regular legal practice and writing books of dubious content -:)
Why do you write?
For fun mostly, because I enjoy the process and some of the attributes of being a writer. I can't really look at it as anything else as long as my writing generates expenses rather than income. My other motivations are to expose to the world something unique, less known, from my personal angle and perspective. I write about the things that matter in my opinion like: enrichment and its toll, social (in)justice and adaptation of the society to new challenges, world order, security architecture and so on..
When did you decide to become a writer?
It happened by accident really -:). I never ever imagined myself being a writer. I knew I had a story though. After seeing how popular a series about Russian or Ukrainian oligarch became on Israeli TV, I thought I could come up with something more realistic and less clich├ęd. So over the years I was outlining the plot, writing down scenes and stuff like that. Then.. I have a student friend, who lives in London and we get to see each other twice a year, when he comes over for holidays. He's a prolific non-fiction writer. So at one of those 'get-together' after we'd already drunk too many beers, I told him about the idea for a fiction series. He was rather enthusiastic about it and after I'd sent him my raw sketches, we decided to do it together. That's how 'Rise of an Oligarch' was born. Since it didn't become an NYT bestseller overnight, my friend and partner decided to proceed with his much more successful non-fiction career (under his real name), while I gained enough confidence to continue on my own.  
What genre are your books?

Thrillers encompassing the following subgenres: hard-boiled, political, noir, transgressive, spy, international.

What draws you to this genre?

Well, I'm a big fan both in literature and cinema. Besides, as a lawyer you are often exposed to a darker, unromantic side of the big business, where I can have endless inspiration from for a dozen of thick thriller books. Combining imagination with some known to me real scams, episodes, 'lawyers' folklore', which I've learned or witnessed saves time on research...

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It was the feeling of a unique phenomenon unfolding in front of my eyes of the turbulent transition from pre-communist Soviet republic to an independent, Wild West capitalistic, corrupted pseudo-democracy. These not -so- glorious times benefited few modest Soviet citizens, who were apt to grasp what was going on and use the new rules, or more precisely - total collapse thereof, to their personal favor. My general assumption was that people were always curious how someone made countless fortunes. Many watched with interest movies about Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. Their stories, amazing as they are, may just look trivial in comparison with those of their Eastern peers....
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time, of course. I need still to be a breadwinner and it's rarely possible from writing -:)
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
When I write a book, I try to dedicate a lot of time to it each day, I get engulfed -:)
As I'm self-employed, I can allocate time according to my own planning. 
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I've learned a technique or two and accumulated some confidence. I'm not sure I've evolved though, maybe even - regressed, as I feel I've distanced myself from the mainstream, which would necessarily result in narrowing the niche of people to whom my work would appeal. 
What have you written?

'Rise of an Oligarch' - together with Carlito Sofer, 'Mortal Showdown' - alone and now the third book, which is at its prepublication stage.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?

I usually know what milestones I want to cover. Pretty much all the rest is an ad-hoc improvisation. 

How do you market your books?

I'm not sure I do. At least I haven't done paid marketing yet. I'm socializing - if it counts for marketing, applying for reviews to bloggers, low-key really. And I should say that the results are accordingly low-key -:) 

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

I hope I uncover few of these soon -:)

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?

I did without doubt, but since it didn't cost me money, I guess their ramifications weren't that serious... I'm not coming from Anglo-American mentality, culture or humor even, so understanding those of my prospective readers might correct some of the past mistakes.. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I say, make money elsewhere and come enjoy being an author -:). It's really very nice to write books, to interact with readers, bloggers and fellow authors. On the other hand, at least for me marketing and promotion are much less exciting. If one is anxious about sales, expecting to sell lots of books, this rarely happens. The faster disillusionment comes the better. There are instances when a book/series gains traction, but these are very rare and usually it takes considerable time, numerous books before it happens.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

My protagonist is more of an anti-hero really, being a complex, realistic, multi-dimensional figure.  Michael, the Oligarch, is a cruel, ambitious, street-smart, cunning, sarcastic son-of-a-bitch, who have purposes in life he wants to achieve and little to nothing can stop him. On the other hand, he's also a true friend, a patriot, a man with certain principles he follows, who subordinates to no authority, humorous at times, who takes everything with a grain of salt

Where do your ideas come from?

From my imagination, current events, bizarre hangover thoughts -:)     

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Disinterest after it's written, maybe? If your name doesn't ring a bell and with an exotic theme that I offer, not many take the risk of purchasing a book, although I hear mostly positive feedback from those who did 
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
To preserve credibility. I mean, Michael, the Oligarch, has already climbed to #1 spot on Forbes, what could possibly bother him? 
Which writers inspire you?
From the point of view of their achievements - writers like Alex Shaw or Orest Stelmach, because they both have Ukraine as kind of an anchor and succeed with her. Writing wise - many. To give few examples - Irvine Welsh or Sergey Minayev for their hilarious characters and writing style, John Grisham - for his great attention to details, Pushkin - for beauty, Bulgakov - for magic, Zelazny or Harrison - for superb engagement, Dumas or Verne - for action and adventure.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Contact pretty much anyone, who says she/he does reviews on Goodreads.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
No complaints. I mean, there is a certain percent of those who requested the review copies and never got back with the reviews, but in general most reviewers were really helpful, even those who had a negative opinion. The only annoying thing was that when I was a rookie, I did send a couple of physical copies of the book to the reviewers, who just never came back. Not sending those any more.
What is the current book you are promoting?

Both books of Oligarch series and hopefully the third one joins them soon. 

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

I (and 'we' on the first book) tried to present a rather solid cast of characters, and I hope each of them has something appealing and special. Michael, the oligarch, is the most complex and developed, he's really a mastermind. Gigo and later - Arthur are cold blood 'muscles'. Boris, David, Johnny - each has distinctive individual features. I think Guy Ritchie or Quentin would be pretty happy to direct such a bunch for a movie -:)    

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast?

I'd find place/role for Statham, Vincent Cassel, Vinnie Jones, Gary Oldman maybe, Liam Neeson 

What is your next project? 

I'm at the pre-publication stage with the third installment, which should conclude the trilogy, at least for the time being, and it has a little surprise in it.
Michael, the oligarch, tops Forbes billionaire's list only to find out that those, who really dominate the global economy, rule illicitly and stay away from public eye. It so happens that he needs to confront the "Old" money conspiracy in order to survive and to save his country... For good or bad, it's extreme, radical, uncompromising, grotesque, action-packed and philosophical.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

That writing is addictive...

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Book Links For Nik Krasno

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