Author Profile: Michael Croban

How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

I have been writing poetry since my teenage years, which eventually turned into writing songs for my band. I have written hundreds of songs, but writing prose fiction was always a desire. There were two crucial events in my life that instigated me to start writing fiction. The first one was when I’ve read Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. That book literally changed my life and made me want to write down my thoughts on paper. The second event was when I lost my job. The radio station where I have been working for more than a decade went under and I was left with a lot of free time on my hands. Since I’m a person who can’t sit and do nothing, I finally started to write. My wife supported me wholeheartedly.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

I saw an ad on the internet where they were asking people to write a short story in only 100 words. I never knew that such a thing even existed. So I tried and by luck or something else, the first story I’ve ever written (in English, since Croatian is my mother tongue) was published. Only then, I learned that it was called flash fiction, or micro fiction.

Describe your writing process.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been putting myself to sleep by inventing stories in my head. If the story does the complete opposite and keeps me awake for hours, then I know I have to write it down. It is in a way as if I’m freeing myself of the story. Usually, I write in the afternoon. At first, when I started writing, I wrote almost every day, at least for an hour or two. Pretty soon I had almost a dozen of stories, some of them flash fiction and some short stories. Now I try to write a new piece every week, and in the meantime, I revise some of the old stories. When writing, I never sit in front of the screen waiting for inspiration to struck me. I always try to invent some outlines of the story in my head first, and only then I sit and write. I do a lot of research. Thank God for the internet, the knowledge of the world is only one click away. I read about the themes that interest me and I watch a lot of documentaries on a particular subject that I’m writing at the moment. But most of all, I rely on the idea. If the idea sits with me, then I do my research.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?

The inspiration is the world we live in. With the rise of social media we have become more connected than we have ever been, but somehow at the same time, I think,  it pushed us further apart. We have hundreds or even thousands of virtual friends but in reality, most of us feel lonelier and more distant than ever before. We photoshop our pictures to make us look more beautiful. These carefully selected photographs are there to show the world and to our virtual friends that we lead these incredibly interesting lives. I guess, in a way, we want to feel important. The idea for the story was what if someone tried to do the same but in the real life.

What are you working on now?

I’m actually writing something that could turn out to be a novel or novella. I’m not sure yet. I have written forty pages. It is a sort of philosophical sci-fi story. I have always found science fiction as a genre a great platform for exploring philosophical concepts. In the meantime, as I’ve mentioned before, I try to write flash fiction almost every week.

The Traveler

By Michael Croban

Every morning he would get up from his bed and do his morning rituals, which include shaving and showering, among other things. Then he would put his best suit on and with a briefcase in his hand, he would face the mirror. Almost every time he would be pleased with what he would see. He would leave the apartment with a smile on his face. Sometimes he would take a cab to the hotel if the hotel was somewhere near. However, most of the time he would ride the train, sometimes for hours, until he would reach his destination. The city was big; there were hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels waiting for him to visit. Continue reading