Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Featured Author: Ognian Georgiev

About the book:

This wasn't the first time Galabin Boevski felt oppressed. He had suffered the atrocious legacy of communism and the lack of support that a talented athlete like him should otherwise expect from his motherland.

It had been a week since his arrest. He'd spent a night in the jail of Sao Paulo's airport, then transferred to another Brazilian prison for temporary detention. Now he was in Itai, a prison for foreigners, full of people from all over the world.

His memories kept rushing in and he kept going over the unfortunate events over and over. What went wrong? He spent his first night in jail with 1500 prisoners who were serving their sentences there - murderers, rapists, fraudsters and thieves, but the majority of them people like him - accused of drug trafficking. "I'm not a mule," he thought, "I am Galabin Boevski. Legendary weightlifter and Olympic champion, not a criminal!"

...based on a true story...

Interview with Ognian Georgiev

Ognian, tell us about your book.
The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s Secret Story is a typical non-fiction sports book.  It’s based on the events around the arrest of Galabin Boevski, the famous weightlifter, who was caught with huge amount of cocaine in his suitcases at Sao Paolo airport in 2011. He received 9 years plus sentence and started to serve it in Brazilian prison.

Surprisingly, one day he landed in Sofia airport after been served just two years of his jail time. Nobody believed how he was able to get out of prison. Many versions were put on the news stream not only in Bulgaria, but around the world.

Why “The white prisoner?”
The word white is linked with three things: First, Boevski was sentenced in Brazil, where most of the other prisoners were Latinos or Afro-Americans. Secondary, he was arrested with cocaine possession and the color of the drug is white. Boevski is pleading non-guilty in the novel; this is why the other connection is with pure and white.

His story is secret, because for the first time many things not only around him, but also for the ugly elite sports world are unveiled.

How did you get to know your characters?

As a non-fiction book, it was easy and tough to describe and to present the characters. You know that every person has different dimensions. The characters in my book were related, because all of them were part of sporting life.  I tried to describe every one of them as much as closer to the reality. My base for doing so was all the interviews that I took during the research process.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?
The main one. Galabin Boevski is one of those persons, who put curtains around him. It’s extremely hard to understand his logic and why he acted unconventionally. The mysteries around him were so complicated that for some situation I’ve heard three different stories from three different people, who knew him. The problem was which one was closer to the truth.

What song would you pick to go with this book?
"What You Want" ver 2 by Kevin MacLeod. This is the music that I used for my trailer. You may check it out here:

Why did you decide to self-publish?
The Bulgarian version of The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s Secret Story was traditionally published by “Trud” house, one of the most popular in our country. I took the decision to make a translation and to publish in English. I checked around the possibilities. The feedback of new authors was that it’s very tough to find an agent or a house if you are not a well-known name. John Grisham, for example, was rejected by more than 20 publishers for his first novel – A Time to Kill.

Self-publishing was better selection. I love it, because everything depends on you. You learn a lot of new things around formatting, marketing and publicizing. So guys, if some of you, who аре currently on my position, as I have been before, don’t think twice – go as self-published author.

I agree. What are you working on now?
I am in primary research phase for my second book. Once again, it will be a sports non-fiction story. This time the main character will be a boxer. He is very special and has an amazing story. The guy’s name, Serafim Todorov, is probably not so known worldwide. But he is the last person who beat in the ring the most well-paid athlete in the world – Floyd Mayweather.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. It’s a 2-milion plus metropolis with a typical Eastern Europe architecture. We’ve got a lot of parks, sweet center, a mountain right next to the city.

I lived for most of my childhood in one of the most populated districts. It was happy times, because I caught some years of Communism. As a kid I didn’t know how limited is that system and how our parents were forced not to do many things. But we kids, were happy to play around all day long without cable television; the computers were still not so popular as in our times. It was very secure times, when the children went alone to school since first grade. Now the parents are scared to put alone the kids to play away from home alone.

Where’s home for you?
My home is where my family is. I’ve got a very sweet daughter, Valeria, and with my partner Ralitza, we are living in a very small suite. But our place is so nice, and I am feeling very happy every time, when I come back from work and my almost 2-year-old girl Valeria hugs me.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
My main job is as newspaper editor of the sports section. I am doing also TV commentary for boxing/MMA events for some national television. In April 2015, I will “celebrate” 15 years in the profession, which gave me a lot of emotions and adventures. I still love it very much, and I am very happy that I was able to find my place in the Universe.

With what five real people would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?
My favorite football player, Denis Bergkamp, would be one of them. Would be great if I meet him while I am browsing his biography and he would be able to sign my copy. I would be happy to speak in a bookstore with Michael Connelly; he is my favorite crime author. I would like to ask him a few questions for his characters.

What a nice surprise it would be if I met Quentin Tarantino and by a chance to carry with me my book. I would be very happy to make a gift to him.

Let’s see – two more. One of them would be my late grandmother, Valeria. She was always so gentle to me and helped me a lot during my young years. She wasn’t the most avid reader, but I am sure she would be very happy if she saw my book. The fifth probably would be you, Amy, for giving me a chance to do this interview and for having such a nice blog.

Thank you, Ognian! That's quite an honor. What book are you currently reading and in what format?
Currently I am reading The Summons by John Grisham on my Kindle. I just finished a great fantasy book by Jamie Maltman – Brush of Darkness, the first novel of Arts Reborn series. I love when I see such a good production by an indie writer.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
Northern France and Belgium are my best selection. I love those places. It’s such a beauty, fresh air, middle ages architecture...Yeahhh, I start to dream now about Bruges, while I was writing the last paragraph of our interview.

About the author:

Ognian Georgiev is a sport journalist, who is currently working as sports editor at the Bulgaria Today daily newspaper. He covered the Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and in London 2012.

The author of the book The White Prisoner - Galabin Boevski's Secret Story specializes in sports politics, investigations and coverage of Olympic sports events.

Ognian Georgiev works as a TV broadcaster for Eurosport Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting group, TV+, F+ and TV7. He is a commentator for fight sports events such as boxing/kickboxing and MMA.

The author was born in the capital city of Bulgaria - Sofia. He started work as a sports reporter in 2000. In the following years Ognian Georgiev covered different sports events in USA, Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Spain, and Italy.

The author lives in Sofia with his partner Ralitza and their one-year-old daughter Valeria.

Connect with Ognian:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads