E.D. Evgenievich is an author who was born with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. So far his work consists of short story collections and longer narratives, which analyse various aspects of society while also being enjoyable speculative fiction. He writes for kids and adults, the latter definitely being for its intended audience. You can find him and his work at his website, The Weird Mind of E.D. Evgenievich.
E.D. has let me ask him several questions to share with our readers. Enjoy, and thank you E.D.
Bonnie: Your 2011 Omnibus, which I’ve recently reviewed, has three very interesting pieces (Familiar Feces, Chance Booty and November Ripples, and Jehovah Rising), can you give readers an idea of what you were setting out to achieve with each one?
E.D. Evgenievich: Familiar Feces: As you say in your review, while the story structure of FF is broadly speaking a dystopian crime thriller, “there are a lot of issues touched upon including racism, politics, mental conditioning, and certain areas of the psychology of sex”; I would also mention environmental issues; lifestyle choices in a metaphysical void; gender power relations in the sense of women becoming ‘increasingly equal’ as in ‘absorbed into/becoming part of the patriarchal structures’ by way of maintaining quasi-male identities, including both that of Clarice Starling and the tranny whore; emotion and cognition-regulating substance power relations; health politics; and, of course, the most adult of themes – that of selling out.
So on one hand beneath the surface of FF lurk various theoretical bogeymen and women from various out of favor branches of the social sciences, including Reichian and Kleinian psychoanalysis; 2nd wave feminism (of which the current crop of mystificating collaborationists are ‘embarrassed’, because, after all, calling a spade a spade is so uncouth); some political science 101 thrown in…
On the other hand, I’d have to be Tolstoy, or at the very least a Delany or a Woolf or a Wolfe to make it work as a novel, and since I’m neither, I couldn’t quite pull it off. I’ll try again when I’m like 40. Or 50. For now, as I said, I’ll be concentrating on more escapist projects.
Chance Booty: This is a collection of my initial writing efforts. ‘Traitors’ was the very first story I wrote and it was sort of “meh”, but then ‘The Wound Of Morpheus’ was the very second story I wrote and it was “hell, yeah!” Then, after a while, I reread them with fresh eyes and saw that they constitute portions of more or less a single mood, developing from start to finish, so I did what Brian Aldiss did with ‘The Canopy Of Time’ – I arranged the stories chronologically and added brief expositions in between to tie them together.
I felt really free when writing these stories, constrained neither by style nor genre nor topic.
Jehovah Rising: This collection I prefer to leave to the reader to analyze. I tried to make it a combination of shape-shifting structural intrigue and fun exploitative narrative, much more so than even FF, and I prefer to not interfere with the text’s interaction with the reader. I hope things are born from this interaction which even I myself couldn’t have anticipated, which in some way enrich the life of the reader if even for just half an hour. And this, in the end, applies to all my projects gathered in this omnibus.
Bonnie: Familiar Feces does comes across as being a novel with far more than a reader would bargain for, what type of research did you find being involved for it?
E.D. Evgenievich: Very little research at the time of writing; it was rather an outpouring of accumulated grievances, underpinned by jazzed up and simplified theoretical frameworks from the last decade of non-fiction reading.
It’s just me having reached my late twenties and starting to grumble about the world these days and remembering how much more respectful kids were when I was their age and skipped school to play real games like Mortal Combat and Duke Nukem, instead of lurking in this newfangled Facebook thing.
Bonnie: Do you believe it important for writers taking the opportunity to write without constraint, not trying to stick to the confines of genre and modern day structure?
E.D. Evgenievich: In my case it is totally sanity-saving to be able to suddenly write something without constraint, something in the vein of Daniil Kharms, or Donald Barthelme, where the rules of story, character, genre, and logic are left behind. My natural state is writing short absurdist stories, based on repetitions and jumbled sequence of events. And it’s periodic bursts of this free flow that allow me to then concentrate on more structured prose.
Bonnie: Jehovah Rising, while the influence of other materials is present, could be considered a religious text. Would you say you’ve done a modern day interpretation of a religious story?
E.D. Evgenievich: Jehovah Rising is best viewed as an exercise in deconstruction. Elements of both Testaments are used to provide structural framework, and the substance to mould is taken from our shared pop-culture heritage. A religious text, I think, implies the presence of a concrete system, and even if deconstruction of prior systems takes place, there is always something else offered instead, unlike in the case of JR; the miniscule crumbs of metaphysics present there being more in the realms of Pyrrhonism and Fallibilism, or the Anekāntavāda and Cārvāka approaches, if we are to go further east.
Bonnie: E.d. Evgenievich is your pen name, what inspired it?
E.D. Evgenievich: The nom de plume shall remain shrouded in mystery for now, dear damen und herren.
Bonnie: You can’t blame a reader for trying! Do you believe it important to have a level of anonymity when it comes to writing, possibly for more than privacy issues?
E.D. Evgenievich: Someday I too will perhaps find myself in a situation where I have to sell myself as a ‘personality’; to create ‘a buzz’; to ‘connect with readers’; but for now I’m grateful for the chance anonymous indie publishing gives me to not do any of that.
Bonnie: As an Indie author, what would you say are some of the pros and cons for taking this path in publishing?
E.D. Evgenievich: Well, a positive side is that I didn’t have to convince no editor or publisher to ‘take a chance’ on me. I just went and did it. I didn’t have to water anything down, neither did I have to follow specific genre structures: even in the ‘crime thriller’ Familiar Feces I could totally afford to build up for a half a book, for example the mystery of the Toy Basher, and then instead of providing a suitable climax – just mention the resolution in passing in a conversation between friends, and never revisit it again.
If dealing with corporate publishing, I could only have gotten away with such blatant anti-climaxes if I was already an established quirky academic author with a bunch of stories in the New Yorker and a history of suicide attempts and rehab stays. Or, if I was writing for say the French or the Japanese markets.
The negative is that if one really wants to succeed financially, then one has to commit oneself to a) writing endless assembly-line thrillers or paranormal romances or dragon-claw/galactic marine serials, and b) to invest all possible surplus energy and time into the dreaded networking.
Or in other words: if one is trying to really ‘make it big’ as an indie author, then one has to go all the way and beyond – the total, 120% commitment that is needed to start up a successful business; where one plans every minute and has the first more-than-five-hours-of-sleep sometimes after the initial two-to-five year burst. Not something many people are willing to try, and of those an ever smaller percentage are actually able to swing it. My respect to those who do. But I, at least at this stage, am neither willing nor capable of going down that route.
Bonnie: You also write books for kids, can you tell readers a bit about what kid friendly projects you’ve undertaken?
E.D. Evgenievich: So far I’ve been mainly feeling my way about, trying to outline the territory for future work. Just like say Chance Booty also contains initial attempts to see what is in my grasp and what isn’t, the same with my shorts, novelettes and novellas for kids and teens. Some space adventures; some ‘small town taken over by malevolent force’ stuff; some ‘kid finds love in fantasy realm’ stuff; some city-dwelling penguin families with adoptive polar bear daughters. No kid wizards and awkward teen vampire fetishists so far, but no promises.
Bonnie: What you currently have published is definitely not for children, do you find pre-writing rituals changing much depending on if you’re writing for children compared to writing for adults?
E.D. Evgenievich: A major difference so far has been the approach to inspiration. When writing for adults I would wait for my imagination to start probing the cracks of the world’s walls, so to say, while when writing for teens I would instead concentrate on restraining myself to not come within visible distance to certain boundaries. So, in two words: when writing the more outlandish adult stuff I would catch myself when floating and undisciplined and outline that way, before rigidity sets in during the drafting and editing, while with the teen stuff it would be rigidity in outlining, in drafting, and in editing.
But I am very much afraid that this division in approaches is based not even so much on the demographic of the intended readers, but rather on the intended method of publishing. My adult stuff was more personal and undisciplined – self-publishing fodder – while the teen stuff was meant to be submitted to publishers, and therein I think lies the real reason for the rigid approach. I have yet to develop the confidence to be capable of inserting things like ‘Bob bobbed his head’ or ‘Barked old Barker’ into manuscripts intended for ‘publishing proper’.
Bonnie: Are you able to tell readers what you have planned next and for the foreseeable future with your writing?
E.D. Evgenievich: Well, this omnibus contains 99% of my initial literary efforts in the postmodernist field. It was good while it lasted, and I will revisit this field later on, but I would have been blind to not recognize the rather urgent need of developing writing skills and techniques to keep up with the concepts and themes. So in the coming years I will be, and already am, concentrating on more family friendly escapist adventure literature under other pen names, sort of being the apprentice that I never was.
Like some inspired dude recording a radical deconstructive jazz demo and then realizing, upon listening to it, that he first needs to master the basics of the blues and rock’n’roll and maybe even a bit of baroque and classical music. When one goes for multi-layered jazz, but mildly cerebral punk-rock comes out instead, it’s time to revisit the basics. I dunno, maybe I can never reach that level. Maybe mildly cerebral punk-rock is all I will be ever good at. Time will show.
Thanks goes to E.D. for letting me interrogate him, it was very illuminating! If you’d like to check out E.D.’s work you can find his books at the following outlets;