Interview with Nir Yaniv

Nir YanivNir Yaniv’s short story, A Wizard On The Road, appears in the Autumn 2006 issue of Shimmer. Check out his website.

Questions About the Story

Where did the idea come from?
One night, rather late, I was doing my customary power-walk between the computer and the refrigerator, and then I got to think, for some reason, about how we tend to take things for granted. If someone appears out of nowhere and gives you an opportunity to go to a fantasy land – will you take it? Many would take it for granted that the answer is positive. I wouldn’t take for granted even my customary power walk to the refrigerator.

How did the story change as you developed it?
Not at all. It took me about half an hour to write, then I went over it several times, and that was that. The real challenge when writing such a short story is the exact choice of words, which is why it took half an hour and not three minutes.

You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
Alas, no different versions here, nor cuts. I knew exactly what the last sentence would be before I keyed the first sentence in.

How is this story like your other work? How is it different?
Well, I tend to write short rather than long stories, though this one is shorter than most. Also, I usually apply a considerable amount of rhymes, word games and other language special effects – but I had not done so in this particular story, to the great relief of Lavie Tidhar, who had done me the kindness of translating it into English.

Questions About Writing

Who do you write for? Yourself or someone else?
I honestly have no idea.

What’s it like to work with a translator?
In this case it was very simple. In some of my longer stories we had hours of discussions and considerations regarding this or other word, especially when dealing with word games and terms which exist in Hebrew but not in English, or which have different cultural meaning in English and so must be replaced. However, this particular story was really a very quick job, and my only concern was the model of the car, which was left as it was – I guess that a Fiat is a Fiat everywhere…

What writing projects are you presently working on?
At the moment I’m co-writing a novel about a murder in an Israeli SF&F convention – which, admittedly, isn’t actual SF, but is rather fun. I’m also composing a soundtrack for a horror TV series, which can also be considered as writing. Of sorts.

What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
Anytime after actually waking up. Waking up, in this case, doesn’t mean “getting out of bed” or “going to work”. It means something like “being out of bed for at least 5 hours and having eaten lunch already”.

Favorite book read when you were a child?
There were – and are – so many of them!

Random Questions

If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be? And Why?
Someone just like me, only with a tremendous amount of money.

Watch much TV? If so, what shows do you watch? Which shows are guilty pleasures?
No TV for me. I play in bands instead.

Favourite restaurant?
You should ask my girlfriend that question. Myself, gimme some meat inna bun, and I’m well and done.

Cat or dog person? (or something else, like birds, iguanas, or even evil robot monkeys?)
Only when it rains.

If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
I’ve no idea. I’m still waiting for an older self to appear and give me some good advice.

Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain your answer:
It doesn’t need to be changed, I wanted it this way!

Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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