musical interview to alexander zelenyj

15 Jan
15.01.2015

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“Songs for the Lost” was one of the best books I have read recently. Alexander Zelenyj has a complex and visionary writing and what I can say is how the book touched me for its beauty, for its insanity, for its soul, for its melancholy.

Alexander Zelenyj is a singular writer whose words beautifully crafted, with a sustained rhythm, still carries an effect, after placing the book on the shelf; he loves, clearly, pushing buttons in our brain.

1. Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes and no, I suppose. Yes, in that I think someone could recognize my writing no matter what genre or type of story it is. No, in that I actively enjoy writing in a variety of styles running the gamut from very verbose to more streamlined and minimalist.

2. What books have most influenced your life?

The dark fantasy short stories of Robert E. Howard, which was the first fiction I fell absolutely in love with as a child and without which I likely wouldn’t be doing the kind of writing I do today; early Ray Bradbury, so dark and poetic; Harlan Ellison, who showed me the limitless potential of fiction. And far too many more to list!

3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would say Robert E. Howard, because it was in his writing that I first saw (although I didn’t realize it at the time) a seamless merging of genres. It was in his sword and sorcery stories that I first found a merging of the fantastical with realism with horror to create a very grim and believable world. Reading an REH story – especially his dark fantasy and historical fiction – I’ve always felt that anything can happen. There’s limitless potential in that kind of a story, and it’s been drawing me back into Howard’s clutches time and again since childhood.

4. What are your current projects?

I recently finished work on two manuscripts – one is a collection of magical realism-influenced literary short fiction, the other a novel much in the same vein. I’m really excited about them – I think it’s my strongest writing yet, and a lot different from my last couple of books. The prose style is a little more refined, the surreal motifs are woven into the gritty, realistic backdrop more subtly.

songs for the lost by alexander zelenyj

songs for the lost by alexander zelenyj

Also, I’m a good ways into another collection that’s a little more in line with the type of material of Songs For The Lost, very slipstream in style and pulling in influences from a lot of different genres. I’m also finishing up work on an expanded version of my first novel, Black Sunshine, scheduled for re-issue later in the year as a collaborative release from Fourth Horseman Press and Eibonvale Press, which will mark the book’s 10th anniversary.

5. How much research do you do?

I read a lot of non-fiction, and I find that this often inspires me to write fiction with certain backdrops and so forth, so in a way I’m always doing research because I’m constantly reading and learning things that often find their way into my fiction writing.

6. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I’ve made a habit of writing every day for several hours, without fail. I’ve been doing that for years so at this point it’s very natural to me. It’s like breathing, I don’t really have to think about it, it just happens as part of my regular day to day life.

7. Where do your ideas come from?

I have no idea, other than to say they come, in some form or other, from my love of stories. I’ve always loved telling stories, and being told stories, whether in the form of a book, a song, another person telling me a story from their life. Often when I sit down to write I want to convey a certain mood or atmosphere that I’m feeling particularly strongly, and I go from there, with everything else falling naturally into place from there on in.

8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

By visiting either my website – alexanderzelenyj.com – or the websites of my publishers, Eibonvale Press – eibonvalepress.co.uk – and Fourth Horseman Press – fourthhorsemanpress.com. Or by reading one of my books!

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