Interview with Dinara Tengri

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1. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your entry for this contest?

I grew up in Almaty, Kazakhstan in the 1990's. We had just regained our independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it was a very strange decade. There was chaos and uncertainty. But we were also hopeful, and had the whole world open for us. In school, we still had to learn from old Soviet textbooks, because new ones hadn't come out yet, but at home, we would watch Sailor Moon and drink Sprite. I wanted to tell a story that reflected this uncertainty, and this culture shock.

2. What made you decide to enter this contest?

Honestly, I'm a big fan of The X-Files, and when I saw that the theme for this contest was alien abductions, I couldn't resist. I wanted to try and give my own spin on the alien abduction myth. There were a lot of urban legends and scary stories circulating in the 90's Almaty - just the place where you could get abducted by aliens!

3. Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

Two of my absolute favourites are Ray Bradbury and Clifford D. Simak. Their books got me to love sci fi. Their styles are very different, but they both have great heart and imagination.

4. What is your favourite book you read this year and why?

The best book I've read this year (so far) is Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic by Terry Jones. It's very funny and very silly. A real "feel good" book. Come to think of it, it's an alien abduction story, too!

5. What is your best piece of advice for all the new independent authors out there?

Don't be afraid of rejection and criticism, and don't be afraid to put yourselves out there! I'm struggling with that fear every time I submit a story or publish something myself, but that's the only way to get feedback. You have to give your writing a chance.