Amber: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your book.
Sorin: I am a programmer, gamer, writer and husband, in no particular order. The book is called The Scriptlings and it is a tongue-in-cheek contemporary fantasy aimed at geeks and mortals alike.
Amber: What got you into writing and how long have you been doing it? When did you know that you wanted to publish?
Sorin: My first serious piece of writing, and by serious I mean something other than random poetry and skits, was an online project which I worked on together with my cousin. It started off as a Harry Potter parody, but it soon gained a life of its own. The concept was simple, yet quite avant-garde for the time (over ten years ago): the chapters were written alternatively by each author and published online, with no communication occurring between us.
A bit like improv comedy, I guess, but on the Internet. We ended up writing three such novels, achieving a decent level of popularity. Alas, I believe the website and its content are lost. It was written in Romanian, anyway.
Amber: What are some of your favorite writers and books?
Sorin: Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Stroud, Philip Pullman, Tom Holt, Robert Asprin, P.G. Wodehouse, Robert Rankin, Tom Sharpe, Piers Anthony, George R.R. Martin, and many, many others.
Amber: What inspires you?
Sorin: I like to find inspiration in the most banal events, especially if there is an absurd quality to them. Indeed, next to puns, absurdity to the point of non sequitur is my main style of humor.
Amber: Tell us about The Scriptlings. What inspired it?
Sorin: I often describe The Scriptlings as the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas. I don’t do this just because it sounds catchy, but rather because it captures a bit of its eclectic wild spirit.
I believe the main idea behind the story – that of Syntax being the language of both computers and magic – was inspired by Richard Dawkins and his “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” (River Out of Eden, 1995).
Sure enough, the way genes trigger various actions is hard to distinguish from object-oriented programming. The very fact that we have discovered this similarity after actually inventing the first programming language is remarkable.
Amber: What made you get into humor writing? What is your favorite part about writing humorous material?
Sorin: Certainly, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams were huge influences to me as a writer, and as a person. I did, however, write humor before discovering them. Being the joker in my class obviously helped, and from then on, it essentially became a self-sustaining mechanism.
The thing I love most about humor is its catalytic nature. Add it to anything and it will definitely cause a reaction. There is this subtle alchemy that humor is capable of, and that is the ability to turn an idea on itself and make people look at it in a new way.
Amber: I notice you had your cover art ready upon acceptance with AEC Stellar Publishing. Were you originally going to self-publish The Scriptlings? What made you go with AEC Stellar Publishing?
Sorin: Self-publishing did cross my mind, but that’s not the reason behind getting the cover art ready so fast. I knew exactly what I wanted the cover to be, so when I found the right artist (Travis Anderson, a fellow Vancouverite), we had that instant connection and he just worked his magic in no time at all.
Amber: What future works do you have in store for readers?
Sorin: I started blogging, which is an interesting experience to say the least. Other than that, I’m gathering material for a sequel to The Scriptlings, called The Masters, and for a standalone novel, tentatively titled Son of Neither.
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