INTERVIEW: Sergei Lukyanenko (Edited by Eric Meyers)
1. What can you share with us about your life as a writer and your struggles before publishing Night Watch for the first time?
I started writing a fantasy at 18. Very quickly my stories began to get published, back when Russia was still the USSR. At the same time, I was studying at the medical institute to become a psychiatrist. But, after I graduated from the institute, I understood that I wanted to be a writer. My parents worried very much because of my decision. They are doctors and wanted me to choose the same profession. But I wanted to write fantasy, despite all the difficulties of the writer's life. By 1998, when Night Watch was published, I was already a known writer. I had written about fifteen novels and my books were selling well.
2 . Would you share some advice for upcoming writers who are on the path of trying to get published?
The most important thing for a beginning author is to find the subject, the style and the heroes. It's almost inevitable at the beginning of a career to imitate a known author. But if the young writer doesn't find original features for his or her creativity, he or she becomes one of thousands of unremarkable authors whose books are read but not remembered.
3 . Have you always had a fascination with beings from the otherworld? Did it start during your childhood and did folklore influence you any?
No! On the contrary, I’ve been fond of science fiction since childhood. I read the Soviet writers, read Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov's books. I dreamed of traveling to other planets and stars. My answer will be very banal. But I was affected by two writers – the first John Tolkien, and the second – Stephen King. Having read Tolkien I understood that fairy tales and fantasies don't necessarily have to be children's literature. And having read Stephen King, I understood the literature of horrors. But most importantly, I learned from King to place mysticism in the most usual, even boring human life.
4 . I host a paranormal radio show at Churchofmabusradio.com. We discuss ghosts to aliens to Bigfoot and the metaphysical. I am curious to what your thoughts are on people having paranormal experiences in their lives or if you've have had any personal ones you'd like to share or ones you've heard?
I would be very happy if there was more fantasy in our lives. In any case, that would mean I would stop being a science fiction writer, and become a realist writer. But to speak seriously, I’ve never experienced a real paranormal phenomena.
5 . Could you tell us about your perspective on the Twilight reality that is embraced in your storytelling?
Twilight in my books is the world parallel to ours. It has another current of time, another relief, another climate. There is only primitive life. Twilight accumulates the mental energy of people (and also, probably, animals) and allows some especially sensitive people to use this energy. To draw an analogy – Twilight is the fountain where all passing throw coins, but only very few can take them.
6 . What about the Others? What would you like to share with our readers about them and who they are?
Others are people who are sensitive to the Twilight and can use the energy accumulated from all the people living on Earth through this parallel universe. From our point of view Others seem like wizards. But if we had time to study them, we would probably find scientific explanations for their abilities.
7 . What did you personally think about the Timur Bekmambetov films and the difference between them and your books?
Timur's movies very strongly differ from my books. Certainly it afflicts me as author. But I know that all the differences weren't caused by evil intentions. I consider movies separate from books, and so they are even pleasant to me. And most importantly – the success of these movies caused interest in my books around the world. They were translated into thirty languages! For that I would forgive even a bad screen version!
8-9 . Would you share some thoughts with us on the story progression regarding Twilight Watch that is soon to be published by Harper? Can you share some more thoughts on the upcoming New Watch that is to be released by Harper?
I wouldn't like "to run forward" and tell too much about the plot of Twilight Watch and New Watch. I can say only that there will be old heroes – and new. Anton Gorodetsky's daughter will get involved (she really could be the strongest magician in the world). And in New Watch, characters meet the Twilight face to face. I am now writing the Sixth Watch which might remain the name of the book. On the one hand – six books in one series is a lot. Almost as many as the "boy-who-survived"[Harry Potter]. But on another – I wrote them over fifteen years! (Certainly, with distractions and other books in between).
Sergei Lukyanenko's book can be purchased at Amazon.com
Brought to you by Harper Collins.