I recently posted a Call to Writers, asking those of you who write to allow me to interview you for a guest spot in my blog. The response was magnificent (and if any of you still want to participate, please contact me for details). I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Arman Jeremiah Grigorian, had some very clever responses which I’m sure you will find as fascinating as I did. (I would also like to note that even though English is not Arman’s first language, he writes it remarkably well.) When you’re done reading the interview below, please hop on over to Arman’s blog and make sure you follow him for more interesting anecdotes. And now, introducing the talented Arman Jeremiah Grigorian…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
Arman Jeremiah Grigorian, 24 years of age, Copenhagen – Denmark. I’m originally born in Yerevav, Armenia, but moved to Denmark in the age of 3 and have lived here ever since. I have an older brother and younger sister and parents who are happily married.
2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
Actually all I have at the moment is: www.Armangrigorian.wordpress.com. I’m quiet shy when it comes to socialism and a have the angst of being ‘boring.’ So yeah, I keep to myself, until I am ‘forced’ to interact more socially, when I am –hopefully- published some day.
3. How many books have you written?
I have actually never written a book. I have written for several of years and have more than 300 documents consisting of poetry, essays, thoughts, memoirs and so on. But I have never had the confident to write an actual book – until now. I am currently writing my first Novel: Pioneers, which I will be finished with soon enough. Been working on it for a long time now.
4. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?
My plans and dreams are that I will get published the traditional way – the way I prefer and find more admirable – and that I can pursue a career as a writer. I don’t care much about fame – I just wish to publish stories that change the lives of others. So yeah – I plan to be a writer who can live of writing.
5. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I have always written – but it is only these past 4-5 years, where I’ve dared to call myself a ‘writer.’ I’ve always dreamt of becoming a writer, but as you might have sensed by now – I am quiet shy and a perfectionist, so therefore I’ve kept my writings to myself.
5. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
Life motivates me. I’ve experienced more in my humble 24 years than most people will ever do through a lifetime. So therefore I feel that I HAVE to give something back. So yeah – Life is my biggest MOTIVATION – whereas love is my biggest INSPIRATION.
6. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
I’m a huge fan of the ‘fathers of literature’ as I call them: Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Fjordor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allan Poe and of course William Shakespeare. But I’m also a huge admirer of John Green, Ian McEwan, and Anthony McCarten.
The last book I finished was: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and I’m currently reading: Crime and Punishment by Fjordor Dostoevsky.
7. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
I prefer hardback. They last longer.
8. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
I write in third person because I like the idea of my readers knowing the secrets and most inner thoughts of my characters.
9. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I ALWAYS read. There’s not one day that goes by without me reading a book. It’s a lifestyle really.
10. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?
I read roughly 25-50 books a year, but that mainly because I like to re-read some of the books to make sure I got the essence – the core- of the book.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:
11. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
My current work is a novel called: Pioneers. It will probably fall in the category of Y/A –type of novel.
12. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
I’m not quite sure where to place the Novel yet; I’m only 60.000 words deep, but it will most likely fall in the category of Y/A.
13. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
Life inspired me. I’ve put a lot of experiences from my own life into the Novel, but I have yet to finish it. Maybe you will keep an open? 😉
14. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?
To be honest I don’t to put my audience into a ‘box.’ I want to believe that everyone can read my Novel and feel inspired.
15. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
Well my Novel is about Lucky Jenkins, who moves to NY to pursue a career in writing. He attends the Institute of Arts and Sciences, where he meets a group of friends and a beautiful girl, who will end up being the love of his life. With the ‘group’ he starts a journey that is never to be forgotten.
That’s all I can tell you really, because I might tell too much and ruin the great moment of surprise, which I’m hoping my readers will be: surprised.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:
16. How often do you write?
I try to write every day! At least 2,000 words. But I’m a great fan of inspiration, which means I don’t like to force myself into writing something I don’t believe in.
17. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I do the editing myself, but when I finish writing – when I finish editing the best I can, I will have to send it to someone professional, so that he / she can edit it for me. The reason for that is: I speak Danish everyday, whereas I write in English. And when I send my Novel to English publishers and agents, I don’t want them to find me anything else but professional. Therefore I will most likely get help. But I plan on learning and I strongly believe in growth, so I plan on ending up as an editor as well as a writer.
18. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters? Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)
I write the entire Novel, before I re-write it, make changes, add chapters etc. I see the first part as a draft, which allows me to fully mold the Novel into the story I want it to be. Small, but traditional steps. I’m quite old-fashioned.
19. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?
I find inspiration from life, really. If I am to write a novel about, let’s say, mysterious murders, I would most likely choose a location as London, simply because I would be inspired by stories such as Jack the Ripper. So I basically take inspiration from life, and put them into my Novels / writings. I’m quite rational when it comes to locations, names etc. I want them to be as real as possible.
20. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
My notes are very roughly sketched. There’s not much meat on them really. I don’t believe one can write a novel, or very detailed sketches, because the characters, the story, the emotions etc., might not react and turn out the way you plan to. Somehow the story comes into life, once you begin writing. Or else I would feel that the story was “forced.”
21. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
I always like a hot cup of tea.
22. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?
I always like to write in the early mornings, around sunrise. I like the silence in the world. I never make myself stop, I write until my fingers stop – until I feel that the story is being forced; once that happens I stop.
23. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?
For me writing IS life, so I’m not too sad about missing a couple of birthdays, parties, and so on. Because I can only write as long as I’m inspired, and I can only get inspired if I live, and I can’t live unless I let myself participate in life. Therefore I believe it’s about choice: make the right calls so you don’t neglect your life ‘cause of writing, but even more important, (for me) don’t neglect your writing because of your ‘real life.’
Thank you, Arman, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have, and I think we will all agree, you can put your social networking fear to rest… You are anything but boring. 🙂