After I completed college and specialized in power supply, which I wasn’t really interested in, I enrolled at university for a course in economics, but I finished it rather late, at the age of 28. The reason for this was that I was interested in so many other things, even though economics had always attracted me.

There was a special way of learning I used at that time, involving cassettes. I would underline the most important things in a course book and then I recorded the underlined information on tapes that were around 60 minutes long. In the end, I had over 200 tapes and I’d listened to each one up to 20 times. I don’t think many people could do that. Often, when I went out on my bicycle or for a walk, I had earphones on and listened to one of my tapes.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that this had also given me a lot of grammatical knowledge as all books must be edited. Besides, I gained a feeling for how sentences must follow each other. And as I recorded the tapes myself, I had also learnt to read out loud. A famous Russian writer once said that reading out loud greatly influenced his success. Before I started writing, I also recorded writers whom I’d always liked, such as Sidney Sheldon, Shirley Conran and Mary Higgins Clark.

There are different genres of writing and beginners must decide on one of them and find out as much about it as possible. Only later, when they’re sufficiently confident and experienced, they can create their own variant of the genre.

Vanity can cost you your career. If you’re convinced at the very beginning that you can write fantastically well and you don’t need to learn from anyone, then the cards won’t be stacked in your favor.7

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