View Full Version : Guest Interview & Giveaway: Seb Doubinsky

September 19th, 2018, 02:20 PM

Today we're excited to interview Seb Doubinsky. Seb is a bilingual author and poet born in Paris. His novels, all set in a dystopian universe revolving around competing cities-states, have been published in the UK, the US, and translated into multiple languages. He currently lives with his family in Aarhus, Denmark, where he teaches at the university. His latest work, Missing Signal, published 8/29/18, tells the story of Agent Terrence Kovacs, who has worked for the New Petersburg Counter-Intel Department propagating fake UFO stories for so long that even he has a hard time separating fact from fiction. Especially when he’s approached by a beautiful woman named Vita, who claims she’s been sent from another planet to liberate Earth.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Writing the book! I mean, as much as I love playing with the idea of the plot, finding the title, the right music to play in the background, what actors could play the main roles, I absolutely loathe the process of writing itself. I find it extenuating, not fun and unforgiving. Then again, when it’s finished, I am very happy.

How many hours a day do you write?

Whenever I can. With a teaching job and a family, free hours are hard to come by. So it depends.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, I have a wonderful wife who supports me 200%. It’s a very important factor in a writer’s life, to have a supportive companion. I consider myself very, very lucky.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Both. I try to build a coherent “parallel” dystopian world in which city-states compete with each other, but each novel can be read separately. Of course, it’s more fun to read a few and see what characters re-appear and what happens to them.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes. In every book. Unfortunately, reading the reviews, I realize that they are so well hidden that nobody sees them.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe in nothing and distrust everything.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the book. For Missing Signal, I went on a lot of conspiracy and UFO discussion sites to see how they worked and what sort of lingo they were using. That took me about three or four months.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I have been asked this question a few times before and I always give this answer: do not listen to older writers’ advice. Experience for yourself, create your own tools and walk your own path. Do not do like me, be yourself. Entirely yourself.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

The wrong music. I always write with music in the background, but if I can’t find the right tune, it just becomes almost impossible for me to work. For instance, I was completely stuck for a while when I began on The Song Of Synth. I just couldn’t begin properly until I found the perfect background music, which was the album “A” by Matt Gangi. The songs of this album actually became the titles of the chapters, but in a different order. That should show you how important music is to me.

What did you do with your first advance?

I drank it with friends in a bar. I think it covered most of the drinks.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A pig. They’re very intelligent animals. And actually clean too.

Do you Google yourself?

All the time. In every language.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones.

Yes I do. I am very interested to know what my readers and the critics think. Getting good reviews is always a pleasure, of course. Bad reviews can be hurtful, if I feel them unjustified, or constructive, if I can learn something from them. Which never happens, of course.

What is your favorite childhood book?

All the Moomin books. Tove Jansson was a genius of mixing sweet stories and characters with scary and uncanny themes. I think she could be easily seen as one of my biggest “secret” influences.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Yes, absolutely. Reading Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius stories or William S. Burroughs’ novels made me see that traditional narratives were only one way of telling a story. Recently, I discovered the British writer Ann Quin, which also awed me by her mixture of collage technique and hyper-realistic details. As a writer, I think it is very important for me to read books that push me forward, make me take risks. I can’t see writing as a safe process.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

Ursula K Le Guin. I received A Wizard Of Earthsea as a present when I was twelve and, to be honest, it bored me so much I didn’t even finish it. Today, i have completely revised my judgement and consider Le Guin to be a major and mostly underestimated voice in sci-fi.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Doctor Sax, by Jack Kerouac. I really, really love that book which is both a nightmarish and incredibly emotional vision of childhood. I also think that it’s a completely new way to look at Gothic novels, but I don’t think many critics and writers have been aware of that.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I don’t believe in hero worship, but when I am in Paris, I like to walk by rue Gît-le-Coeur, in the Latin Quarter, where the so-called “Beat Hotel” was located. Burroughs, Kerouac, Corso and Bryon Gysin lived there in the early 50s. The place has completely changed today and the hotel itself doesn’t exist anymore, but if you’re really lucky, you can sometimes see their ghosts smoking a cigarette at the corner of the street, looking at the Seine river flowing nearby.

What are you working on next?

My agent recently submitted the next installment in the City-States cycle to my publisher, working title: The Invisible

Where can we learn more about your and your work?

Seb Doubinksy's Blog (http://seb%20doubinksy%27s%20blog/)

@SebDoubinsky on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sebdoubinsky)

Missing Signal Book Page (http://meerkatpress.com/books/missing-signal/)

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Giftcard: Giveaway (http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7f291bd86/?)


Missing Signal Book Trailer


Ralph Rotten
September 19th, 2018, 04:41 PM
Great interview, I just tweeted it out to a couple thousand writers!

September 19th, 2018, 06:13 PM
Dr. Seb! Nice interview, cool dude. Longtime FB friend.

ETA: He posted on FB about the interview. I let him know how much I liked it.

Harper J. Cole
September 19th, 2018, 09:56 PM
Some fascinating insights, thank you!