Stefan Calin, PhD is a Philosophy academic by day and explorer/adventurer by night. Having written numerous publications in the fields of general research into the history of philosophy, ancient greek philosophy, and continental philosophy, this is his first large-scale foray in the world of Literary Fiction.
He has published short stories and poetry in his native Romania since the age of eleven. His style mixes exciting writing, bodily exploration, transgressive fiction with a philosophical inquiry into the fundamentals of human nature and relationships.
You can always find more information on his current projects by visiting his website.
Author interview – Stefan Calin
Hi Stefan, thank you so much for your time! Tell us, when did you start writing, and why?
I started writing at a young age, probably around nine or ten years old. Back then, I felt I had so much to say and my first contacts with serious literature were so inspiring that the urge to write developed naturally. I started writing short stories and poetry that, however childish they were, provided me with a much-needed creative challenge.
At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
I’ll have to get back to you on this when it happens, as I have yet to master taking myself seriously in any capacity 🙂
Hahaha, that doesn’t resonate at all 😉 How long did it take you to write your first book?
I wrote my first book in about three months. It started as an afterthought while lying awake in bed, at night. Next morning, I jotted some ideas on a piece of paper, which I then quickly developed into a semblance of a story. At first, I did not know where things were heading so I was just pouring myself out onto the paper, without a proper destination, without an outline or similar plotting devices. I did get to write an outline for the book but not until I reached the half-way point and felt I needed some structure to the discourse.
What was your last book about?
My last book is about a love triangle where each person searches for meaning in their own way. Existential crises ensue, peppered with sex romps and love bouts as each feels lost on more than one occasion in this quest to discover a purpose for themselves. It’s actually about the struggles we each face while we evolve as human beings. Which opens up the possibility of philosophising on love and sex.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on finishing up the second volume of the aforementioned book. It is actually going to be a trilogy that I plan to release by the end of the year.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
Most of the time, my writing process can be all over the place. Seriously. I often just dive in and write, write, write. But, as I progress with my craft and dispense with a romantic view on the activity of ‘writing’, I find structure is much needed in this endeavour. Plotting and outlining have become more and more important in my process. In this regard, I usually start by plotting the major themes I want to talk about in a particular novel and how they grow over the course of the book. From this thematic tableau, I build the outline, which serves as the foundation for the book. I usually go through a first draft and two to three rounds of edits before the work is final.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
My own tendency for procrastination and general laziness. Though stories, ideas—they do need time to ruminate.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same or similar struggle?
Timed writing sprints helped me a lot in this regard. Also, having clear and achievable writing goals for each day and each week keep me focused, motivated, and accountable.
Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
Always had it. It’s getting better as I write more and more.
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
I prefer writer as I identify more closely with the verb ‘to write’ than the verb ‘to author’. I guess this is because I find the former to imply more action than the latter.
Who’s your favourite author?
It varies, from moment to moment. Right now, I’m rediscovering and loving James Salter and, oddly enough, Jane Austen.
What’s your favourite book?
My favourite book of all time is, without a shadow of doubt, the Bible.
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
This would have to be The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Never stop writing.