Hello all! I was hoping to get a book done by today, but I did not. On the plus side, I do have an awesome interview with Neve Maslokavic, author of Regarding Ducks and Universes (Amazon)! Check out her website here!
Before writing Regarding Ducks and Universes, Neve Maslakovic was crafting technical
papers and finishing her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Stanford University’s STAR
Lab (Space, Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory). She spent her early
years speaking Serbian in then communist Yugoslavia; after stops along the way in
London, New York, and California, she has settled near Minneapolis/St. Paul, where
she lives with her husband and son. Neve is a member of the Loft Literary Center and is currently hard at work on her second novel. Visit her at www.nevemaslakovic.com.
1. You have a background in electrical engineering. What made you decide you also
wanted to be a novelist?
I've been an avid reader all my life and had always wanted to try my hand at writing
fiction. As I was finishing my Ph.D. thesis (on ways of reducing man-made interference at the Big Dish, Stanford University's radio telescope) I came down with repetitive strain syndrome. I could barely open doors and drive myself, so after graduating I had to take time off. I spent that time reading— a lot! — and one day sat down to write and things just clicked. I now limit my typing to an hour at a time, which is a long time to sit still anyway, and vary that with editing on paper, reading, stretching my legs by taking a walk around the neighborhood lake to think about where the book is going, that kind of thing.
2. What was the hardest thing about writing Regarding Ducks and Universes?
The writing is the fun part. I enjoy all aspects of it –- filling up a blank page, research, editing... Well, except maybe for proofreading, because you're supposed to be only concentrating on finding typos and such in the manuscript, but I always want to keep making edits! Not big ones, just little details here and there. I hope I didn't drive my editor nuts doing that.
The business side of things is a different story. At some point you have to let go of the book and suddenly there are deadlines to worry about, reviews, sales numbers, marketing, promotion… It was all a bit overwhelming at first, but I am getting to the point where I feel more comfortable with that stuff.
3. Do you have any advice for new writers?
It's an interesting time to be in the publishing business. So much is changing and there are many paths to publication. I guess I'd say -- stay open to all opportunities. I entered my manuscript in a contest (the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) and it led to an offer. At the time I was querying agents and also keeping an eye out on all the interesting stuff going on with the Kindle.
4. Can you tell us anything about your next project?
My second novel, which is nearing a first draft, is time-travel one. It follows the story of a motley group of university employees who are marooned in the past. To get back home they need all their wits and a little bit of luck—and a package of cheese, as it happens. I don't want to give away too much at this point (check for updates at www.nevemaslakovic.blogspot.com), especially since this is the stage when things get pulled together and anything and everything is open to tweaking! Such is the nature of the editing process.
5. What is your favorite (or are your favorite) book(s)?
I'm one of those people who has trouble choosing a favorite anything, and books especially. Movies I have given plenty of online ratings to, but for some reason can't do it with books. If you go to my Goodreads page, for instance, you'll find that I've written brief reviews of books I like, but none of them have ratings. So in lieu of listing a favorite book, I'll list some favorite authors whose books sit on my shelves: Jasper Fforde, Dorothy L. Sayers, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Elizabeth Peters, Douglas Adams, Alexander McCall Smith, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Jules Verne… I could go on, but that's probably a good beginning!
Awesome! Everyone should totally check out her website and book! See you tomorrow!