I am not a Chauvinist, Says Nik Krasnov. In conversation with the author of Oligarch Series

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Action, violence, thrills, chasing, boxing, football; No, I
am not talking about Rambo or Fast and furious or any movies. It’s a book.
Which is the book? Who is the author? Well, let’s get to know all these through
this session.
Welcome Nik Krasno, the author of Mortal Showdown.

Hi Nik,

to this virtual tete a tete.
Nik: Hi,
it’s a pleasure. Thanks for your interest.
     Q       Before moving on, tell me about
your passion towards action.
Well noticed -:) Indeed, action is by far my favorite genre, be it in
literature, motion pictures or even music. It’s probably a natural follow-up of
my childhood interest in adventure books in different exotic or simply
unfamiliar locations. For a kid, growing up in the USSR, it was virtually
impossible to visit other countries, except maybe for a handful of Warsaw pact
states, so I ‘traveled’ the globe with the help of Jules Verne, acquainted
Paris through Dumas’ musketeers’ eyes, London – with the guidance of Arthur
Conan Doyle and so on.. Some years later I like many genres, provided still
they have a strong action/adventure flavor in them. And besides – I try not to
miss any of the available adrenaline injections myself: diving, skydiving,
bungee I did at least once. Now waiting for commercial space travel to commence
and trying to save 100K USD to afford it -:) 

     Q       Tell us a little about yourself and your
I’m 40 plus now. I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, then – USSR. When the enormous
country started to crumble politically, economically, territorially, I didn’t
see that much sense in staying put. Having an opportunity to leave for Israel
as well as appetite for adventures, of course -:), I emigrated to the
Mediterranean’s at the age of 17. I was lucky enough to be admitted to the law
faculty at Tel Aviv University, where I spent few excellent years. Not studying
that hard, but rather partying, travelling, playing cards and indulging in other
foolishness of the YA. As I had to finance tuition as well as living I worked
hard both before and during the uni. In some places I didn’t stay for long, but
I washed dishes, operated embroidery machines at textile factory, worked as a
pool boy in a hotel, as a janitor at basketball arena, as a cashier, bouncer, shift
manager at a student night club. I might’ve even forgotten few more occupations.
After passing my Bar exam, I saw a good
business opportunity in now independent Ukraine, which had a great potential,
but lacked even most basic things, amenities and business heritage.
In the legal sphere I’d established a law
office in Kiev with local and Israeli partners, while on the business side I
worked for an international business group, specializing in emerging markets.
Although engaged mostly in real estate projects, I had to a lesser degree dealt
with privatization, defense, telecommunications and other spheres in Ukraine,
CIS and Eastern Europe in general.
As my girlfriend and later – wife stayed in
Israel all along, I used to live for some years on the plane between Israel and
Eastern Europe.
In 2005 I ‘returned’ to Israel, but still
every once in a while travelled to Ukraine to supervise the law office.
After selling my share in the law office, I
work as a sole practitioner in Israel and rarely leave my family for business
trips. Consequently, I have more downtime now, which resulted in starting the
Oligarch series…         

      Q       What’s your Ukrainian Political
Now – hardly any. But when I used to do business or practice law there I
acquainted many prominent businessmen, politicians, functionaries and so on..

      Q       Do you agree with the protagonist
about the Ukrainian –EU collaboration.
Nik: Definitely. It’s for a
good reason that oligarchs and even less influential businessmen live in the
West and send their kids to study in Europe. That reflects the striving of most
Ukrainians. Not everyone can afford moving abroad though, but association with
EU should serve a good stimulus for building a more modern and less corrupted
state in Ukraine, so that eventually she can become a proud member of
the EU. On the other hand, nowadays no one can’t be sure that EU would survive
for that long -:)

Give us an insight into your main
character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Michael (Misha) is a slum-dog billionaire. He has a complex, many would say –
flawed personality. He’s influenced by injustice done to his father and the
poverty hosting most of his childhood and adolescence. He’s a tough, cynic,
sarcastic, often cruel, ambitious and audacious SOB, yet much of his negative
flairs resulted from his adaptation to and coping with harsh and evil reality
and surroundings. On the other hand, he’s a loyal friend, a man with
principles, who has a natural inclination towards basic fairness and a sense
for a greater, common (not only his personal) good and purpose. All these form
an individual with conflicting and sometimes opposite personalities. He’s not
black or white. Just like in the real world, where you can only rarely meet an
absolute heroes or villains. 

     Q       Now, the question, which many
women would have in mind, while reading Mortal Showdown. Why the portrayal of
women as commercial properties?
Nik: Unfortunately, that’s
often a mentality among Russian/ Ukrainian super-rich. As I wanted to have a
realistic although fictional protagonist, I had to portray Misha chauvinistic
as many of them are, however I don’t share his attitude 

     Q       Do you mean to say that Misha is
an anti-hero?
Nik: To a certain degree –
definitely. He’s a murderer, but he turns against those who endangered and
betrayed him, he’s a swindler, but he’s also a patriot, trying to save his
country and to protect his family and friends. Is Michael Corleone an
anti-hero? What about The White Tiger of Arawind Adiga? I think these have
multiple choice answers.

What are you working on at the minute?
Nik: I still need to be a
breadwinner doing other things, mostly practicing law, so I can’t dedicate most
of my time to writing. Nevertheless, I have a raw draft of a sequel, which
eventually may evolve into the 3-d book.

       Q       How do you manage you profession
and writing?
Nik: Not the way I prefer. I’d
rather write more and do less legal work, but I won’t reveal a big secret if
I’d say that only a very small percentage of writers can live off of writing
and I’m not in that lucrative category yet -:)

For your own reading, do you prefer
ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Nik: I prefer – paper. As a
lawyer I spend way too much time with electronic documents, so for leisure I’d
choose a physical copy

What book/s are you reading at present?
Nik: ‘Putin’s Kleptocracy’ by
Karen Dawisha. Someone who read my books insisted that I must read ‘Kleptocracy’,
so much that he even cared to mail me this book. After all those efforts,
although I rarely read non-fiction, I don’t really have a choice with this one

How are you publishing this book and why?
(*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
Nik: I’m
an indie, but I wouldn’t say – by choice. On the first book – we (with a
co-author) applied to agents, but none seemed interested. It’s understandable
to some degree, as Russian/Ukrainian oligarchs is probably a relatively narrow
niche and people in the publishing industry are unwilling to take risks in the
current market conditions. 

What would you say are the main
advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the
other way around?
Nik: The
advantages are clear: you have a full control of your book and you don’t have
to share anything with anyone, but then …. there is frequently nothing to
share -:) In order to succeed and actually see some proceeds an indie must
invest a great deal of efforts (not necessarily funds) into marketing and
sales’ promotions. That’s entirely not my thing, so I would rather outsource
this part to professionals for a certain percent.

you intend to see the book on silver screen? If so,
which actor/actress would you like to see playing the
lead character from your most recent book?
Nik: I’d
love to. Action books are natural for an adaptation into action movies. With
all the action and twists, I can definitely imagine ‘Mortal Showdown’ as a
mind-blowing action film.  I can feature
Leonardo, as an Oligarch (with Jason for Arthur, of course -:)), Liam Neeson
maybe, Gary Oldman, Clooney even

What are your thoughts on writing a book
Nik: I
think that series can be beneficial for both writers and readers, therefore I’m
doing it as an Oligarch series with first two installments already out: ‘Rise
of an Oligarch’ and ‘Mortal Showdown’. On the other hand, it’s a question of a
good measure. If the theme is ‘exhausted’, I don’t see a point in adding
artificially something ridiculous.   

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to
create one for your own book/s?
(* please provide a link to trailer if you have one)
Nik: Not
there yet, but wouldn’t rule it out for the future..

Do you think that giving books away free
works and why?
Nik: The
success game for any author is ‘visibility’. If a giveaway helps to gain that
much, to create some kind of buzz – I think you need to do it to ignite some
momentum. Like in any art: new bands first play for free in pubs and clubs,
artists do some free street art/graffiti and so on. It’s mostly a marketing
tool to enable further sales, as of course author’s work and sometimes –
monetary investment in editing, internet site, etc well deserve a reward. 

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’
Nik: Hopefully, more engaged in
writing and less in more mundane things…

What advice would you give to your
younger self?
Nik: I’m not the type
reflecting on the past that much. Yet, business wise I would’ve advised not to
be afraid from grand things, from taking risks. You may love, hate or be
indifferent to oligarchs or other magnates, but many of them made billions in
their twenties and thirties both in the East (Abramovich, Khodorkovsky,
Ahmetov, etc) and in the West (Mark Zuckerberg, Jan Koum, Sergey Brin). In the
modern world twenties and thirties are probably the most productive years to
fill them with hard work, attempts, achievements, all those however to be
balanced with pleasures, adventures and rich personal life.  

What advice would you give to aspiring
Nik: Write for the art in it,
for the pleasure of a creative work, invest wisely into making a professional
product: editing and proofreading, cover design, etc. Don’t do it for money, as
many of those would be disillusioned. Yet a breakthrough may happen and then
it’ll be a pleasant surprise. 

Is there anything else you would like to
add that I haven’t included?
Nik: No, I
think we’ve addressed most of the issues that might interest readers

How can readers discover more about you
and you work?
Nik: through social media, of

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009937664739
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=nav_responsive_tab_home
Amazon Author Page:

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8672304.Nik_Krasno
Thank you very much for taking the time
out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Nik: You are most welcome.
Thank you for hosting me and for running this excellent ‘bridge’ between the
readers and the writers. Beware of oligarchs, some of them bite -:)

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