This is one hell of a question. Probably one of those intrinsically philosophical ones. But for now I’m just going to tell you a little bit more about myself.
I was born on December the 25th 1990 which is probably the most interesting fact about me. The second most interesting fact is that I was born in Constanta, Romania, a city near the Black Sea. What’s interesting about this city is that it was the place were the Roman poet Ovid was exiled two thousand years ago. We have an Ovidius Square, an Ovidius statue, a high school, and there’s even an island bearing his name.
When I was a kid, maybe six or even younger, I used to enjoy imagining all kinds of strange worlds. Some of those settings, in which our apartment was Seattle, Washington (well a fictionalized version of it anyhow), I used later on in my writing. I chose Seattle because I had this great Atlas of the World, and I loved the name of the town, even though back then I used to pronounce it as seetle.
The living room was Downtown, the washing machine was a Nuclear Powerplant, the bed in my parents’ bedroom was a plantation of some sorts; a glass coffee table was Town Hall. I never struggled too much with coming up with new ideas for my toys; I gave them a background, and I gave them powers and ambitions. The main game I used to play involved a plastic figurine representing an astronaut which I named Captain Hank. The idea behind this game of mine could be called as an Alternative History. And I’m not joking. Maybe one day you’ll read a story based on precisely this childhood game of mine.
Around the age of fourteen or so I decided to become a writer. It was a cold and bitter night in December, if I’m not mistaken, and my mother and I were taking the tram back to our place after having visited my grandfather. And then, sitting in that tram, watching over the snow as it cascaded down on the ground, it struck me. You could name it an Eureka moment, if you wish. I don’t know how or why, but I had a precise vision about a story that I absolutely had to write down. I began to write that very night. I never went past a couple of pages in Notepad, but it was worth the try. I was reading avidly all the kinds of books I could get my hands on; from thrillers and adventure stories, to SF, magical realism and literary fiction. I fell in love with Dune which even now, after five or six re-reads, still stands as one of my favorite books.
One day the following Summer I stumbled upon an internet forum that had a section called “Bistro D’art” or something like that. I wrote a one page piece, something about a guy in a shower, trying to wrap his head around the events in his life, and uploaded it on that forum. And the reviews were overwhelmingly negative. Some tried to offer some advice, like the usual read as much as you can, or work harder, which are nothing more than common sense. But one guy said I was a retard. Something like that. It turned into a flame war, me trying to defend my little story, and he trying to show me undeniable proof that I was, in fact, a retard.
But this only nurtured my ambition. I suppose failure does that to certain people. Makes the stronger, more avid for success than before. So I really started to write. More and more. I found an internet workshop for SF&F short stories which even held a couple of contests once every two or three months. It was fun, and it was the first time when I could understand what positive critique really meant.
At age sixteen I wrote a novella called An Emperor’s Will. A magical realism tale, written maybe too much in the style of the great G.G. Marquez, but it was the first story that proved to be good for more than just the delete button. Reviews from my mates in the workshop were mostly positive. They enjoyed the style, the tone, the writing and the story itself, so this encouraged me to send it for a national contest. And I won first place, which consisted in a diploma and praise from a few teachers. After that I gave up on writing. Slowly but surely.
That I ended up writing again simply because I had bragged to someone about me being a writer, that’s one of those bizarre occurrences that never cease to amaze me. And, after that, it kind of stuck with me. I wasn’t writing daily, and I wasn’t reading daily, but once a week, I would sit down at my desk and try to write down a few stories. It wasn’t until the Autumn of 2010, when I found out about NaNoWriMo, that I started to write more than usual. And for the first time I considered the possibility of writing in English(previously, everything I had written had been in Romanian.)
I think it wasn’t as much a decision based on the fact that in Romania the publishing industry is virtually non-existent, but it was more of a stylistic decision. What I’m really trying to say is that I’ve always considered English to be a good language for writing; a beautiful language for that. It just sounds better, if that makes any sense. So I wrote La Tiers du Cylindre, which isn’t in French, no matter what Amazon says. It was rubbish, and I found myself self-publishing it, fueled by a sort of pathetic eagerness. I’m not a patient man, but this was one of the most rash decisions I had ever taken. And it wasn’t about the poor editing, it wasn’t about the typos and grammatical errors, it was just bad writing. A lot of it. And too much philosophical musings that had little or nothing to do with the plot itself. And somehow, it gave the perception of redundancy; the whole novel was just plain bad.
I pulled La Tiers of the marked after three or four weeks, in which four unlucky people bought my book. Two of them the paperback version, and two the e-book version. Anyway, I rewrote the novel, then I rewrote it again. This was practice, because now I’m writing it once more, trying to turn it into a really good novel.
In september 2011 I made an account on Wattpad, and e-met some really amazing writers, from all over the world. And they liked some of the stuff I uploaded there, which in turn managed to make me work even harder on this dream of becoming a writer. I wrote a novel and a novella since then, and I have several more chapters from two other works in progress, one of which is the fourth(?) version of La Tiers Du Cylindre.
The novel is called The Writer, and it’s basically a frame story, and it can be easily categorized as being metafiction; a story involving a writer writing. It’s a pretty strange novel, with one hell of an unreliable narrator, Jonathan Fisher, who can stare at the sun for as long as he wants without hurting his eyes and who’s constantly trying to figure out the world around him; a world he doesn’t particularly understand. It’s a Kafkaesque kind of story, and I’m now trying to figure out if it makes enough sense to be worth self-publishing.
The novella I wrote is called Jazz and hopefully it will be available on Amazon and all other retailers from the US to Jupiter by the end of Spring. Hopefully.
This is pretty much who I am, at least as a writer.