A Conversation With Neven Škrgatić

Neven Škrgatić is my neighbour from Croatia – he’s a fine short-story author, and he writes (as N. N. Jackson) in English. You can find him on Facebook where he regularly posts links to his work, so check his profile and also his stories on Amazon.

Neven Škrgatić

Neven Škrgatić

Hi, Neven, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I was born in Croatia, Europe in 1979. After getting a degree on University in Economics and Interpersonal communication, I have worked as a column writer in various local newspapers, and wrote a number of short stories, ranging from thriller, to romance and erotica.

You write very fluently in English – what abot your mother tongue?
I am very fluent in my native language, too, haha! I wrote in Croatian, too, but mostly lirics for the rock band I had in the past.

What is literary scene like in Croatia at the moment?
There are good writers, as always, but I must say that there are not many new names emerging. Mostly old, established guys are on the scene.

Your focus is on short stories – are we going to see any longer work too?
Yeah, I’m at the last phase of the 100 page novel “Nasty cop”, about the detective who caught a young woman (accountant), in embezzlement of almost 5 million $, and he’s blackmailing her, but he’s not after money, haha! It should be released by the end of this February.

You are very good at creating ambient, in the Night Visitor for instance you can literally feel the steam and smell sweaty bodies in the bathroom. How much time and energy do you devote to fine-tuning the mood to enhnance the story?
Thank you for the compliment. Well, it depends, the process is never the same. Sometimes I feel the first draft is enough, and some other time I want to find the right note, the right color, and it’s like fine tuning a violin.
I find the spark of inspiration mostly in every day situations, and I try my best to use imagination to make it appear less as every day occurrences, and to make them more intriguing.

You self-publish on Amazon – have you tried going the traditional route with some publishing house?
For the time being, I’m sticking with Amazon, I am considering publishing of the paperback edition, but that’s the second phase, after I release a longer novel.

What’s your experience with Amazon?
So far, so good, it made the publishing game much more accessible, it’s a nice springboard, I’d say.

Doing research about you I also found out you’re a translator and musician. Beside writing which of these creative fields satisfies you the most?
It’s my guitar, without a doubt. Both – in creative sense when I’m coming up with the melody, but I enjoy just the activity of playing it, too.

You actively promote your (and your fellow writers’) work on Social Media. How important do you find these chanels for your work?
It’s a good way to promote your own work, and to get in touch with other people, other writers, that are basically doing the same thing as you do.
This is something that independent writer in 1980’s or even 1990’s could had only dream of. It’s also a good way to reach potential readers.

Who are your literary heroes?
Charles Bukowski, G.G.Marquez, S.King.

What’s on your desk at the moment?
“Just after sunset” by Stephen King.

Let’s say you meet a young (or maybe not so young) writer, what advice do you give him?
If you have the urge to write, then do it. Not because of the vague possibility of making money, not because you think you might get some respect in your community, and certainly not because you think it might get you laid. I’m not so sure it will, anyway.
Write only if you have some story deep inside yourself, crying out to be released. If the story haunts you until you get it out in the open, then do it. Then write. And if that’s the case, never, never, never give up. It might take some time and it will surely take up a lot of effort, but if the voice is real, it will get out, and it will reach people in the end.

Thank you, Neven!

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