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20 Q&A. Children’s book creator Marin Darmonkov

2021.07.31 Няма коментари
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Marin self-portrait

A long time ago Marin Darmonkov was a child. He was one year old when his father passed away. His mother remarried and Marin was raised by his loving (but strict!) grandparents. He learned to read and write long before he went to school. Books became his imaginary parents and his fictional friends.

Marin studied nuclear physics, art, and literature. He owned an advertising agency for many years.

Oh, a few more things: he does not drive, he does not drink carbonated beverages, he had never consumed food from fast-food restaurants, he does not have a mobile phone, he had never used legal or illegal drugs, and he had never visited his GP – much to the disapproval of his wife. He started his small publishing house FONTREAL (children’s picture books) in 2016. Marin lives with his family on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean – in St. John’s, NL, Canada.

Born in Valchitran, Pleven region many years after the Valchitran Gold Treasure was created 16-12 century B.C.  The author is a mere mortal and has no intention to compete with the priceless value of the biggest golden treasure known to Bulgarian archaeology – 12.5 kilograms of pure gold.

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Children’s book creator Marin was interviewed by
the children’s book creator Marin

Glad to meet you, Marin. You said that you have something serious on your mind and you plan to interview yourself. Why?

Three reasons. COVID 19 being the first – it is not easy to meet a journalist in person like before. Secondly, journalists are mostly interested in talking to celebrities and I am not a famous individual – I am a rather boring person. Thirdly, my mind is a free traveler – therefore not always available to be interviewed.

Why do you think you are a “boring” individual?

Not only boring but useless for the world economy: I do not drive, I do not eat fast food, I do not have a mobile phone, I do not drink carbonated drinks, I do not play video games.

Anything else you would like to add to your self-portrait as a dull human being?

I have never been to my family doctor’s clinic – neither once – much to the disapproval of my wife. (The funny thing is that my two Canadian children study medicine).

Now let’s flip the coin. What is your exciting side?

Apart from being creative – I am a very, very generous person. And I possess a weird sense of humor.

What about your dreams. Do you have dreams?

I create dreams I can never achieve. If dreams are attainable we would be calling them goals. Tomorrow is where a dream and excitement belong. And tomorrow, no matter how close it looks, is thousands of light-years away.

I disagree. Excitement is now. Just imagine a dog that suddenly sees a fire hydrant…

I am sure the fire hydrant will be pissed off.

Is there any question you have difficulty finding an answer to?

Yeah. Do turkeys have goosebumps?

As an author of children’s books, you use only your first name only. Why?

It is easy for children to pronounce it.

How do you pronounce Marin?

Mare-in.

How do you come up with your stories? Some of them are quite unusual.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, my mind loves to travel. Sometimes – although not very often – we meet. My mind shares with me stories, I write them down, and place the copyright symbol in front of my name.

You have only one book that was not illustrated by you. Why only one?

For good luck. Although I am not superstitious.

Why do your illustrations differ from each other? It seems every book has a new visual style…

True. I believe it is a professional dishonor if an artist develops a style and stops there – no matter how likable and financially rewarding the style. Creative people must constantly search, explore and change – it is in our DNA. In addition, my stories “tell” me how they want to be illustrated. To make my books visually appealing and thought-provoking I have to listen to their requests. This way – when ideas, words, images, and layout happily match and marry, the picture book becomes a cohesive piece of art.

When did you write your first story? How did you start?

Honestly, I never thought I would be creating children’s books. My first book was a celebration of my son’s name ­– Alexander. He went away to study biomedical science, my obligations were not necessary anymore – no more hockey matches, parental supervision, or soccer games – therefore I had the time. It came to my mind that his name ALEXANDER could be divided into two – ALEX and ER. I had no idea about a theme, sequence of events, or protagonists – just the name. After I finished writing the book, I did the illustrations.  Then I created the font and designed the cover. Finally, I made the layout of the publication. When I finished, I realized that I was hooked.

How many books have you created so far?

Oh, I have more than two dozen, but only ten are published. Unfortunately, I have only two hands and 24 hours a day. And I work every day between 10-14 hours to catch up with my ideas. My grey matter is constantly flooded!

You are a self-published author but you named your publishing company FONTREAL. And your website is FONTREAL.COM. Does the name have any meaning?

Yes, it does. Fonts are used to write down any text. And Montreal is known all over the world as a Canadian city. I simply combined these concepts to create a name that I think is short, memorable, related to books, and Canadian.

Do you sell your books online?

My books are available on many platforms: Amazon, Google Plus, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, ACX, Audible, iBooks, and more. Also, on my website https://fontreal.com.

What about book reviews? Do people like your stories?

I try to create meaningful, eye-catching, and inspiring stories that are well received. I post some links and reviews on my website but you can read some of the reviews on one of the most popular platforms for readers – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20010061.Marin_

Any surprising book reviews you have received for your publications?

One of the reviewers – a British poet – wrote about me that I am “the master of the unwritten line”. I am a minimalist and the reviewer, being a poet, sensed it. I really appreciated this comment.

What is your personal motto? Is there any sentence that has stood out to you as such?

Yes, my grandfather’s advice, which I broke once and paid dearly. He told me never to play leapfrog with unicorns.

We are finished. Thank you, Marin, for your time.

Oh, it was a pleasure thank you, but it was not my time. Time belongs to no one…

 

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