One thing that really struck me about Ahmad's answers to my interview questions was how similar his journey to publication was to that of people I know here in the United States--being a vigorous fan, joining writing groups, participating in NaNoWriMo, going through the pain of rejection, and then at last publication--in his case, with a new small press. But I'll let him speak for himself:You are a student. What are you studying? Will you pursue work in the field when you graduate? Or go on to postgraduate studies? Or are you contemplating something entirely different?
I’m currently taking a master program in forest and wood technology. For a long time, I’ve been aiming to work in ministry of forestry, or CIFOR, or WWF, or other NGOs. I like forestry, environmental science, and I want to write more on the science of ecology and natural resources.You're also a writer. How old were you when you began writing? How have balanced the demands of your studies with the demands of your writing life?
I was . . . I don’t know. 16 and 17? It’s probably around high school, right when LiveJournal started becoming a trend in my country, and Facebook begun replacing Friendster and Myspace. It was a chaotic, but totally interesting time. I started by writing my daily activities, blogging, you know, and straight into fanfiction when I graduated high school (the last Harry Potter movie was approaching, and all HP fans were. . . I don’t know, in frenzy? Making incredible fan arts, fanfics, stories, theories, and everything else. It was a great period. I feel fortunate enough being able to participate in all of those awesomeness).
Balancing demands of my study and writing life is actually a bit difficult. I manage by trying to be able to write anywhere I am. I started using my phone to write. I write in notebooks, in classes, in commuters, buses. I write before I sleep, after I’ve finished my homework.What writers and works have had the biggest influence on your writing?
J.K. Rowling is the first. She literally introduced me into the fantasy genre. And I also learned a lot from her, on how building plot, mystery, thriller, and so many more. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game
introduced me to science fiction.
Stephen King and Neil Gaiman taught me a lot on how to use poetical, lyrical, dreamlike plot and narrative in a story. Their description and narration is top notch. Lovecraft and Junji Ito showed me how to make a twisted horror even more twisted. And so many more.What novels or short stories did you particularly enjoy in 2014?Bird Box
by Josh Malerman is probably the best Lovecraftian horror story I’ve ever read. The Shadow King
by Jo Marchant is just amazing--one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read, second only to How to Think like Sherlock Holmes
by Maria Konnikova. Stories,
a short-fiction anthology by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, is great, with my favourites being "Wildfire in Manhattan" by Joanne Harris and "Juvenal Nyx" by Walter Mosley.Can you speak a little about your novel, Spora? What is it about?Spora
is a pseudo-lovecraftian horror story about a boy who faced an ancient monster who spreads diseases, making zombies, and planting nightmares by using its spores. It’s also a bit gory. Telling you more than that would be giving a lot of spoilers away, though, sorry!How long did it take you to write? Did it change very much while you were writing it, or did it stay close to your original idea?
Surprisingly, it didn’t take a lot of time. I remember started writing it in January/February, and sending it to publishers in late March. It’s short, less than 35k words, and it was cut here and there in the editing session. There are changes, some of them make the novel a bit different from what I intended it to be, which is a pure lovecraftian horror, but I don’t really mind it.What was your publishing journey like? How did you find your publisher?
My publishing journey is a bit difficult. ( Read more... )What are your plans for 2015?
I’m currently writing two books, one of them has been signed to a major publishing house. I’m also doing a bit of translating works to help sustain myself while waiting for the royalties to come. I plan to publish more books, at least three, in this year. I plan to start a sci-fi series and write a horror novella. And I hope I can still balance my study (which is getting crazier by each day) with my equally maddening writing life.
What about you?Me? I'll be writing too! And enjoying the adventure of finding new and interesting people to talk to online.