Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?
I was born in Kiev, Ukraine (then - USSR) in the seventies. At the age of 17, seeing the enormous Soviet Empire crumbling, I immigrated to Israel, where became a lawyer by the age of 23.
Ukraine turned independent in the meantime and offered endless business opportunities as a newly emerged market, so I returned there in the late nineties already as an Israeli citizen and established with partners an international law firm there. As a lawyer I counseled a wide range of multinational sovereign, corporate and individual clients, engaged in diverse areas and industries.
Simultaneously with promoting the law office, I worked for an international business group and took part in different projects primarily in real estate as well as in privatization, defense, medicine and telecommunication in Ukraine and some other countries, such as Moldova, Russia, Poland and Lithuania. As my family stayed in Israel while I worked primarily in former Soviet republics, I had to virtually live on the plane between Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Witnessing the meteoric rise of a small number of individuals from modest Soviet citizens to mighty billionaires, who often neglected any rules or laws, I felt compelled to expose to the world the unique phenomena taking place in that less familiar part of the globe. Although the series is about a totally fictional character, it nonetheless reflects the spirit, some of the known scams, 'lawyers folklore' and pretty realistic business ambience. I also tried to portray some cornerstone events in the history of a newly- independent Ukraine and to share some insight into the glorious and simultaneously tragic events of 2013 uprising resulting in ousting of the president, ensuing Russian aggression in Crimea and tensions and war in the Eastern regions of Ukraine.
I started outlining the first book a long time ago, but it wasn't until my friend and a published non-fiction writer agreed to take part in the project that I did anything serious about it.
My premise was that people are always curious how someone makes countless fortunes. Many followed with interest a bio of Facebook's founder or that of Apple's, adapted into popular movies. Their stories may just look trivial when compared with those of their Eastern peers....
After selling my share in the law office, I currently reside and work as an independent legal practitioner and an author in Israel.
What was your inspiration for ‘Mortal Showdown'?
Since the first book ends as a cliffhanger, I, myself, wanted to know what happens next -:), so I had to continue the story. I pretty much saw the development in my mind, so I just needed to put it on paper (or computer for that matter), hopefully in an engaging and enjoyable way.
What three words would you use to best describe 'Mortal Showdown'?
I guess they would be: "Transgressive action thriller"
Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?
Yep, I'm working on the third installment that shall conclude (at least for the meantime) the trilogy. I have some fresh ideas which, if it works out, I want to introduce into the third book.
What was your very first book that you wrote?
It was 'Rise of an Oligarch'. It's a thriller and a historical fiction novel, which opens the trilogy, describes the tectonic perturbations in Ukraine and Michael's (the Oligarch) crafty manipulation of the ever-changing surroundings to benefit him and his inner circle.
Other than your own, what are your favourite books?
Oh, there are lots. I could probably give 10-15 examples in 5-6 genres from thrillers through transgressive and to sci-fi and fantasy. To offer just few, I can mention Puzo's Godfather, Welsh' "Glue" or "Porno", Zelazny's "Amber chronicles" and many more.
When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?
No, I don't, since I can't ignore the words and then the songs distract. As regretfully I don't go out to the night clubs that much anymore-:), my music sessions are mostly confined to when I'm driving. I have an eclectic taste, which depending on an ad hoc mood includes house, trance, hard rock, but also rap and sometimes even Russian chanson.
Who is your favorite character in your books?
Michael, as the protagonist, is the most complex of them all. He's a sarcastic, cynical, audacious son-of-a-bitch, but on the other hand - a patriot, a true friend with his own sense for fairness and his own principles, often contradictory to those acceptable by the society. There are no real heroes there. The personages are pretty realistic with their individual vices and virtues.
Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?
I had a co-author, who's also my close friend, so it was fun to work together on different characters from their 'inception' to full development. I don't remember 'borrowing' any particular trait from anyone. My close family doesn't read books in English, so I'm privileged not to embarrass them with my bizarre ideas, but orphaned from their input -:)
What’s your favorite treat?
In Ukraine - it's probably borsch, in Israel - shwarma or hummus, abroad - bacon
What’s your Favorite place to read/write?
Reading goes well almost anywhere at home from bathroom to living room sofa with only the former providing some solitude -:), while for writing - it's only my study
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I'm pretty satisfied with where I am, although some of our neighbor countries aren't. Other than that, if I needed to choose something else, according to Tripadvisor counter, I've visited around 100 cities in 40 different countries. Out of all those, I'd single out Sydney, as I was really enchanted by both her appearance and vibe.
Thanks Nik for taking the time to chat with us on Genuine Jenn!
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~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~