Tell us a little about yourself, your career and Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind
I was born in Ukraine before moving to Moscow to complete my undergraduate degree and PhD in metallurgy. Soon after I launched my first business and have since had a successful career. My house as a child was always filled with books, and I have never lost my love for literature. I wanted to create an adventure story that teaches children lessons of morality and science and helps them map their way through life.
How was the idea for Travels with Sushi born?
I often tell my grandchildren fairy tales that I invent myself. In every fairy tale I include a hidden lesson since I am convinced that direct teaching is much less effective than wrapping up a lesson in an interesting story. My grandchildren like sushi very much and my wife and I often take them to Japanese restaurants. This sounds mysterious, but it’s true – every time, my grandchildren’s order is the same. Aaron orders sixteen pieces of salmon sushi without wasabi, Stella orders ten of the same. Once we went to a Japanese restaurant in the South of France and it crossed my mind that the numbers sixteen and ten are what is known in mathematics as the golden ratio: 16/10=1.6 (16+10)/16=1.625. The golden ratio (phi) is 1.618. So I said to them: ‘You know that there is a country where the mushi live, who like sushi.’ That was the beginning…
What was it like to see your book come to life with illustrations?
Illustrations are extremely important since they reflect the spirit of a book. I am very grateful to whitefox and to our Art Director Strawberrie Donnelly for finding the very gifted artist Tomislav Tomic. He one hundred per cent captured the spirit of the book.
What was your publishing experience?
For me it was really important to have the control to create the book in exactly the way I wanted. I believe that self-publishing makes better sense as a business model.
Now that the book has been published, what are your hopes for its reception?
I am not a professional writer and I didn’t write the book with a focus on commercial success. I am hopeful that readers will find something in it to help them navigate through their lives. I also hope they will find interesting and dramatic adventures and discover for themselves the wonderful and mysterious world of quantum physics.
Is there a specific message or feeling you would like to leave with your readers?
Be the people of the book: strive for knowledge, be resilient, never lose hope and discover the inner powers you were never aware you had.
What are your plans for the future – can we expect a sequel?
I have a sequel in mind…
What was your experience of working with whitefox?
Professionalism, integrity, effectiveness, nice personalities.