My Author Interview at Smashwords

What and how you tell, tells about what kind of a writer you are.”

M.M. Loviste answers questions about what it is like to be a writer in the recently published Q&A author interview at Smashwords.

1. Where did you see the light of day? Do you think the place of birth influences your writing?

I was born in a hard winter with neck-deep snow, in one of the loveliest places on earth, Tara Lovistei. This land is largely a creation of the Olt river, just as Egypt is a gift of the Nile, of course, in different proportions. Tara Lovistei cannot be described in words; it must be seen on a spring, summer, autumn, or winter day. It’s hard for me to imagine something more beautiful, more fascinating. There it is said that the good God painted nature, and the locals are a living legend, as the Roman scribe Anneus Florus confessed regarding the Daco-Roman conflict in the Olt Valley: “The Dacians live in the mountains. These are ad mortem paratissimi,” meaning death scorners. What could you want more than to stem from these ad mortem paratissimi?

2. When did you start writing? Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Monsieur Jourdain was speaking in prose without knowing it. I started the same way, because story and reality overlap without a doubt in these ancestral places. In fact, stories enslaved my soul from an early age. I even became a book character in the volume “Doctor in Boisoara” by the formidable prose writer Andrei Pandrea: “I’m talking to the host’s children: Mihaita, a skinny blond five-year-old boy, and Tudorita-lita, almost three, plump and chubby-cheeked, with black eyes. Mihaita, wanting to befriend me, is telling me stories. He stares at me insistently and begins. Once upon a time, there was a Red Riding Hood. And a mother of the Riding Hood. Are you listening? Mihaita pulls at my sleeve, thinking I’m not paying attention.” Literally, I debuted a little later. It must have been in the first primary classes, when my father brought me the magazine “Cutezatorii” (“The Intrepid) because the shop assistant at the village store could not give him enough change. The then editor of the magazine urged children to write stories from their birthplaces, promising to publish the most beautiful ones. I wrote to them how I would run away from home in summer to go bathing, like Ion Creanga. To cure me, my mother would come to the backwater and take my clothes. I would take another change of clothes, which I would hide among the pebbles. About two weeks later, our postman brought my mother the edition with my story and 27 lei, the value of the story. My father took the magazine everywhere until it fell to pieces. All the children of the school sent their stories then, but only mine were published.

3. Switching from writing to reading, tell about the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you.

Ion Creanga is, in my vision, the greatest storyteller in the world, and “Harap Alb” the most beautiful fairy tale. If Harap Alb’s story were translated into all languages, to the question asked by school teachers “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” all children would answer: “Harap Alb, teacher, Harap Alb.

4. What do you read for pleasure?

Books worth reading. God, and there are so many of them, you can never get enough. If God receives me when I go, I will ask him to leave me the muse and allow me to finish reading the masterpieces of the world.

5. What are your five favorite books, and why? Who are your favorite authors?

It’s an unfair question given the titans of world literature. The number should be much higher, to allow for all the sons of Homer, up to the youngest of today’s postmodernists. The litany could only be completed by a well-fed priest in seven days. But to answer, I think Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” cannot be matched. It comes across as a fifth gospel, like the works of Tolstoy as well. Once upon a time, there was a Cretan, Nikos Kazantzakis, who succeeded in creating the eternal Greek Zorbas, cinematically embodied by a sacred monster, Anthony Quinn. Zorbas is pure life, with death lurking beyond. Umberto Eco has written many books, but one like “The Name of the Rose” is written once in 300 years. As the author himself said: “… A story about books, not about the misery of the world, which produces pleasure and comforts the soul.

6. Describe your desk.

My desk? I received it as a gift from my daughter when she was a student and she couldn’t afford to give me a present. You know, it’s more of a Procrustean bed than a desk. Here I torment myself, and sometimes I howl like a beast, or, as my mother answered a reporter’s question: “Well, just as I labored to give birth to him, he toils to write his books.

7. What’s the story behind your latest book?

The most recent of my works is called “The Sacraments of Matrimony” and is, I believe, a delicious satire on those who mystify the biblical concept of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. I got the idea from my daughter. We could say that she went through some of these humorous adventures, black humor at many times.

8. What are you working on now?

I have just started writing the second chapter of my next novel, which I intend to title “Courier for Edessa.” On the expanse of Syria, in the city of Edessa, Jesus performed one of His most spectacular miracles. An entire city with a population of over fifteen thousand Arabs converted willingly to Christianity in one day, from the moment a disciple of the Lord healed both Abgar, the king of Edessa, from the disease he had been suffering from for a long time, and all the suffering subjects in the city. It was the largest and fastest conversion of an Arab city from Islam to Christianity.

9. What is the greatest joy of writing?

The greatest joy of writing is writing itself. As the Latin saying goes, “Amicus certus, in re incerta cernitur,” this is the joy of writing.

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