Getting personal with Konstantine Paradias
Konstantine Paradias is a writer by choice. At the moment, he’s published over
100 stories in English, Japanese, Romanian,German, Dutch and Portuguese and has
worked in a freelancing capacity for video games, screenplays and anthologies.
People tell him he’s got a writing problem but he can, like, quit whenever he wants, man.
His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
While I can’t be 100% certain, i think I wrote my first story (by way of crayons on notepaper and sticker-rebuses) when I was about 5. It was a collaborative effort with my brother, who was 3, while we were rebooting one of our earlier imaginary playmates, DUCKIE. He wasn’t too bad, but he just lacked the oomph we needed to push him into a franchise.
So we ended up with KITTENCHILDE (first name Mordecai), the richest kitten in the world. He was born with a silver cat toy dangling in front of his face, hated work, controlled the world’s economy and was plagued with moocher relatives.
I didn’t really start working on writing another story until I was 14 and my English teacher at the time told me I was hopeless with the language, so I started writing a pretty atrocious, 200k word fanfic starring every character from every game I’d played so far. I’ve since expunged it from the internet since it was absolute cringe but hey, it got the ball rolling.
2. How many books have you written?
Counting all the stuff that didn’t make it off the ground? I’d say around 6, at last count. The first one was a fantasy western story about an android assassin in a steam punk world. It was called STONE COLD COUNTENANCE and it had voodoo and ancient sorcery and demon dogs but it was so poorly written that I had to make it go away.
The second one was a novel that’s currently stuck in rewrite hell, which began as a post apocalyptic body horror novel. I started working on it in 2010 and have since taken off 50k words, added another 30k, re-worked the setting and now it’s slowly turning into the story of a motorized Mongol Horde coming back in the wake of a fossil fuel apocalypse. I call it the CHROME HORDE and I hate it and love it in the same breath.
The third once is a YA novella that’s still stuck between publishers, titled TEENAGE BADASS. It’s the story of Finn, a monster hunter born, who chooses to leaves the magical comfort of her weird family to venture out into the strange world we call our own. Also, it feature time travelling Nazi werewolves.
My fourth book is SORRY, WRONG COUNTRY, which I am immensely proud of, on account of how I was working on it for 8 years and made it happen. It’s a collection of short stories about everyday weirdness in the heart of post-recession Greece.
My fifth book is a pet project I’ve always wanted to get down to, a novella that’s the first in a series I’ve always wanted to get on with. It’s titled VIOLENCE DAVE and it’s all power metal and space marine rage and all that good old ultra-violence.
And finally, the last one is FUTURESUCK, which is coming out by Sybaritic Press and people tell me it’s depressing but I don’t see how: it’s just the story of the worst time traveler ever, whizzing across the time stream after having erased his own timeline while trying to get rich quick and messing it up royally. He can never get back but neither can we and there’s nothing we can do about it.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Politics. Can’t stand the stuff. It’s toxic and it clings to your skin and if you aren’t careful, people around you are gonna catch it. There’s nothing more stilted and awkward than stopping a story cold in its tracks just to advertise your leanings or tell people why they’re wrong and I wont’ be changing my mind about it anytime soon.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
At the risk of dating this interview, I’m 32 at the time and happily married with the only woman I could ever call ‘wife’. No kids yet, but they’re gonna happen. I’m thinking about 6, so I can train them as trapeze artists on the off-chance this writing thing doesn’t work out.
I’ve worked as a sandwich shop worker, owned a small business selling religious icons, worked in marketing, bookstore sales and even spent a spell living full-time off manuscript editing. But if I had to pick a career for myself, I’d cook for a living. People tell me it’s a crap job, but there’s nothing like the sizzle of cooking oil over a fire to get me going in the morning.
Also, waking up at 4am. People can’t stand it, but there’s no sight better than that pre-dawn light, peeking through the cloud cover on a Monday morning.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
So far, it’s gotta be SORRY, WRONG COUNTRY. Mostly because I worked on it for 8 years and I rewrote it a thousand times and I was never good enough for it, but I loved working on it and I think it liked the attention.
It’s a collection of stories from regular weirdos, customers and passers-by I got to meet while the country was coming apart around me and I think they kept me from losing it, especially when things turned for the worse. Hell, even if we slip off the edge of the First World, I’ll still have those guys to keep me sane.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Like I said, i started because I wanted to piss off my English teacher, but the person that got me into writing was the Sandwich Captain, a man I kept running into at 2am in the morning when I was working in that aforementioned sandwich shop. He was probably the most interesting man in the world and he hated the attention and he was more troubled than Sisyphus.
And I loved him for it.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Don’t laugh, but I make pickles. Carrots, cucumbers, cabbage and garlic, chili and bell peppers and onions, oh my. Then I check on them in the middle of the night, as if they were children and worry for about two months before I crack them open.
Also, I like to grow stuff. Nothing too major: maybe some peppers, some onions, when I can. Someday, I might just head off to the boonies, live off the land, then come back just in time to regret it.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Panic. Worry. Tell people. Feel like garbage. Start planning out the next one. Am I doing it right? I don’t think I am doing it right, at all.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
Mostly, I write anywhere. I write at work, between handling customers. I write at home, while trying to wrangle dinner. I never had too much time to write since I started doing it earnest, but I can’t stand music, so I guess I need the..noise?
The hum of humanity, the gentle rumble of the kitchen or traffic.
God, if the world ended I don’t think I’d ever write another word.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I don’t even know where to begin: personally, I hate my dialogue, think I need tons of work on establishing hooks, am garbage at pacing and overall wouldn’t publish me if it was up to me. Also, I think my research is atrocious and I have a very heavy hand when it comes to editing myself, to the point where I start second guessing to an atrocious degree.
You know what? It’s best I don’t touch anything. I already hate the entire thing.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Famous? With the attention and the interviews and the podcasts and all that jazz? No, just give me enough to live on and a tank of gas-filled from book sales and a settled power bill and I’ll be happy.
But then maybe I’ll just bellyache and wish I had a movie deal by then.
12. Where do you live?
Athens, heart of Greece, birthplace of philosophers and every terrible idea alike, in a little place overlooking the Acropolis, nestled against the hill of Filopappou. On summer nights, we’re lulled to sleep by the distant baying of strays. In winter, beggars form impromptu choruses in street corners.
We swelter in August and we freeze in December and it hasn’t snowed in Christmas since forever, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
13. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Writing itself, I guess. Also, browsing markets, struggling to reach publishers, trying to finagle a story every chance I get.
It might come off as cynical, but I hate writing for myself. I am the worst audience I’ve ever had: I’m awfully judgmental, offer little to no feedback and am an all-around insufferable smartass.
But writing for others? Man oh man, that’s a blast. I love talking to editors or readers, especially, pitching ideas on the sly and searching for that little nod, that semi-indifferent “go for it” sign and know that I wanna give them something they will enjoy.
Hell, even if I bungle it up I’ll get some form of feedback.
You can connect with Konstantine Paradias here:
Sorry, Wrong Country Book link:
Shapescapes Editing Services:
Some of Konstantine Paradias’s books: