Creation is a very important running theme in “The Puzzle.” Did the various elements of creation — including the idea of cooking days and painting — borrow from your own perspective on the idea?
Creation is indeed a recurring theme in my fiction. In “The Puzzle” it is presented in extremis, as one of the so-called ultimate questions. Indeed, what is the purpose of any creative activity sub specie aeternitatis? The older I get, the more often I ask myself this fundamental question. If I don’t happen to find an answer eventually, I might just follow the steps of the protagonist of “The Puzzle” — simply to continue living. Indeed, what other alternative do we have?
What character trait of Mr. Adam do you feel was the most intriguing to write? The most challenging?
It was Mr. Adam’s determination to go on with any activity he chooses to perform regardless of how gigantic its proportions are. That trait had to be impeccably motivated in order not to make the protagonist look like an idiot. It is for this reason that he is a retired SETI expert.
What was the inspiration to tell a story like “The Puzzle”?
“The Puzzle” is a part of Seven Touches of Music, one of my ten mosaic novels. It is a book about how music occasionally offers us glimpses into deeper levels of reality. The idea seemed very inspirational indeed, so I have written as much as seven variations of the basic theme.
“The Puzzle” was translated from Serbian to English. How involved were you in the translation process, and what do you feel might have changed about your own process as a result?
I am very, very fortunate to have Mrs. Alice Copple-Tošić as my translator. She has translated into English eighteen out of twenty of my books of fiction. Alice knows so perfectly well the structure of my writing, my style, my idiosyncrasy, that I often have an impression, while reading her translations of my manuscripts, that my stories and novels were indeed originally written in English.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
Hopefully a new book — for example, the third and final part of the Inspector Dejan Lukic trilogy — although at the age of sixty-five I have to be rather careful about any long-term promises.
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