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Questions to Niko Zinovii

Q: How do you come up with the titles for your stories?

 

A: In most cases the title simply comes to me at the same time as the story idea, intimately linked. It just happens.

On rare occasions, I have changed titles. Of the speculative fiction stories that I have written this happened with my novel The God Antenna, the title change occurring early on in the writing process.

Of the screenplays that I've written changing a title occurred twice, with the title changes occurring years later, for marketing reasons.

Once I imagined a title before having any idea what the story would be about. This was the case with my tale "The Million Eyes of Nobo Savu."

Q: What authors have influenced your creative writing?

 

A: The authors of fiction who have influenced my writing and who I have appreciated in a special and memorable manner, viewing either their style, a particular work of theirs, or a number of their writings as remarkable or special or outstanding—in regard to their writings appealing to my personal, subjective taste and interests are, in alphabetical order:

James Blish
Ray Bradbury
Arthur C. Clarke

Loren Eiseley
Raymond Z. Gallun
Robert Harris
James Hilton
James P. Hogan
Fred Hoyle
Dennis Feltham Jones
Neil R. Jones
Nigel Kneale

Stan Lee
Larry Niven
Robert Silverberg
Clifford D. Simak
Leó Szilárd
Jules Verne
H.G. Wells
Morris West
John Wyndham

All but one of these authors were selected from the books of fiction that Niko Zinovii has read (Niko's reading of fiction has been limited as he reads mostly non-fiction), which are listed on his LibraryThing web page:

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Q: What others have influenced you?

 

A: The minds that have influenced my mind significantly are, in alphabetical order:

Isaac Asimov
N. J. Berrill
Arthur C. Clarke
Jacques Cousteau
Loren Eiseley
Kenneth L. Feder
Michael A. Park
Carl Sagan
Jonas Salk

And I have learned much from many others, and continue to do so.

Q: Do you have favorite poets?

 

A: Yes, indeed:

Matsuo Bashō
Yosa Buson
Kobayashi Issa
Omar Khayyam

Rumi

The philosophical quasi-poetry of: Marcus Aurelius

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On my writing

I don’t believe I possess any natural writing talent to draw upon. Writing for me is a struggle, but a labor of love. I see my writing born from the will to put forth the time, thought, and effort necessary to craft the story, to overcome its challenges.

Niko Zinovii

A natural wondering and imaginative mind  do help me along, but creative writing is quite difficult for me, very hard work, mostly an act of sheer will. I write by instinct, guided by my imagination and objective. Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, treating it as an art. Sculpting. Every line must be right. I remind myself along the way to follow my protagonist, coupled to the unfolding story idea. I ask myself, is what I'm writing moving the story forward in a meaningful way?

I suspect wondering, learning, and observing combine with my imagination to generate ideas in my mind. Ideas seem plentiful, endless, easy. Implementing an idea successfully, that is where this artist encounters the challenge.

 

I write employing informed imagination, philosophical thought, research, and a bit of daydreaming. I write solely as an expression of art, art for art's sake.

The vignettes, short stories, and novelettes contained within my collective works are especially close to my artistic heart, as each story was born from what I was experiencing, learning, thinking and wondering about at the time. I treasure these shorter works, and believe that they represent my art at its finest.

Art, Screenplays & Children's Books

Art

Niko Zinovii began experimenting with drawing and imaginative writing in his early teens, sketching and writing science fiction and fantasy purely as a creative endeavor, as a pastime. From 1977 to 1987, Niko wrote a manuscript for an unpublished sci-fi novel titled Land of the Id, which he later based his first screenplay on.

Screenplays

Later in life, from 1990 to 1994, Niko individually wrote 16 original feature-length screenplays on spec plus 2 additional feature-length screenplays co-written with Taylor St. Sauvage Brandon, who Niko worked closely with regarding screenplays and later children's books.


Several screenplays had been optioned, a few projects came close to being produced, but in the end, that vital element of good fortune proved elusive.

"They wander over waves, visit strange cities,
Seeking a world of wealth.
All alike, sure of achievement; yet
One man's aim misses the lucky moment.
Another finds fortune in his lap."
—Euripides


 

“For nearly three decades, while pursuing our individual and joint creative endeavors, Taylor and I endured seemingly unending hardships and frustrations. It was Taylor’s genuine appreciation for my writing and artwork that made those torturous years easier to bear. I’m thankful to him for this, and also for his unbounded enthusiasm, his never-give-up attitude, and his Spartan stoicism.”—Niko Zinovii

Children's Books

From 1994 to 1998: As one of the founding partners of a small publishing company, Niko was fully immersed creatively in doing the initial artwork for 16 picture books of the Upside Down Animals children's books series—a series of internationally published children's picture books that Niko views as a creative success that he is very proud of.

 

Art

It was not until around 2010 that Niko stepped back into creative endeavors, returning to his earliest passion of writing science fiction, something he had stepped away from long ago. Since 2010, Niko has written the works of speculative fiction featured on this website, most of which are new, original works, several which are adaptations of his earlier screenplays.

Niko is presently continuing to enjoy having come full circle, indulging in the creative process again, finding fulfillment in writing speculative fiction on most Saturdays, purely as an artistic endeavor, art for art’s sake, while pursuing the development of his Zinovii Art Studio and its artistic projects.

An Evolving Writer

The God Antenna

When Niko returned to writing in 2010, the 18 screenplays that he had written from 1990 - 1994 had sufficiently developed his writing skills to allow him to make the transition from script to manuscript format—tested with his writing the novelette adaptation of one of his screenplays titled Blind Date with a Wood Frog? Satisfied with the outcome, Niko then wrote his 2012 science fiction novel The God Antenna, his prior work enabling and culminating with this novel of extraterrestrial visitation.

The Call of the Dolphins

Similarly, Niko views his 3 collections of 27 short stories of speculative fiction, written from 2013 - 2019, as enabling and culminating with his 2023 utopian novel: The Call of the Dolphins

A novella (Origins) and a novelette (Rats Have Kings?), both adaptations of Niko's screenplays, also proceeded The Call of the Dolphins, but this author does not believe these two works to have prepared him in any significant way for the utopian novel that culminated from this second block of writing. It was the three collections of stories that led to The Call of the Dolphins. 

What's next?

Time will tell.

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February 2024

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