Interview with Neboysha Saikovski
Author of Pink Panthers: The Greatest Thieves in the World
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Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?
- I am the author working on the Pink Panthers trilogy series, including the first novel “The Greatest Thieves in the World”, which was published globally in June this year. I am a logistics specialist having worked for large international organizations and corporations such as the United Nations, Halliburton/KBR, or DynCorp, being stationed for twenty years working in areas consumed by ferocious civil wars in Bosnia and Serbia or the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. I am an author who lived and worked in 4 continents and witnessed 4 wars, walking the paths of my characters, therefore being able to turn my extensive experience into inspirational and instructive fiction and non-fiction narratives. I am telling stories about paradoxes of the modern world where evil reigns while chivalry yet survives and write only about real-life stories which have it all, a powerful blend of real-life situations and crime thriller, shaking family experience and shocking war and political drama.
What was the inspiration behind “Pink Panthers: The Greatest Thieves in the World”?
- This novel is the first part of a trilogy that deals with the socio-historical context of emergence, rise, and (temporary) fall of the famous and powerful international robber group, Pink Panthers. I have been writing my first novel “Pink Panthers: The Greatest Thieves in the World” for the last three years but I dreamt about writing it for the last 15 years since I read the reports of their first robberies. I considered them yet another gang of robbers who dare defy the society and its norms taking such risky steps. However, as time went on, I realized that all the risk that the Pink Panthers had invested in the robberies was very well calculated in the overall equation. The ideas that the Pink Panthers introduced as a ‘patent’ in committing the robberies were more intriguing than even the greatest movie-minds could come up with. And I’m not just talking about disguising themselves as women, fleeing by speedboat and the like, but that all the robberies were committed without a single victim, and that’s what makes the Pink Panthers unique in the criminal world. With their imagination and extremely expressed audacity in carrying out their robberies, they left the world breathless, including me.
By personalizing the functioning of criminal cartels, the horrors of war, the violent discord of country and pitiful dissolution of a family, and showing the results of these bold events have on individuals is the general theme I tried to dive into with this novel. The light form of adventure drama shows the correlation of organized crime, social anomalies, wars, and interests of the great who ruthlessly manipulate and destroy the lives of the small, from individuals to nations. The background story shows the entire process of the diamond business, how diamonds come to jewelry stores, from relentless exploitation of rich deposits of poor third-world countries and inciting bloody civil wars in them, to the intertwining of the diamond business with drug cartels, human trafficking, interests of banks, corporate and military-industrial magnates and diplomatic-political machinations.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- I love the raw style and brisk observation of all the dark and decay in human nature and society as brilliantly portrayed by Bukowski of the modernists and Dostoevsky of the classics. I admire Dostoevsky as a writer with the natural talent of scanning through depths of the human mind, as well as skill to infect the reader with the lucidity and passion with which he writes of his views and ideas. I love Bukowski, the dirty nihilistic realist with unquestionable talent and an unrivaled passion for writing as sheer pleasure. Despite all of the ups-and-downs of his disturbed life, constant intoxication, loneliness, misogyny, and personal problems, Bukowski actually wrote. His novels and poems are so simple — simple words, sentences, and ideas — and yet so lively, deep and relatable. The writing style I tend to be developing is based on that premise – digging deep into characters and write lively and relatable true-life stories.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- I don’t even have to mention that the heist locations chosen by the Pink Panthers sounded bombastic as if from the best Hollywood production. Antwerp, Paris, London, Tokyo, Amsterdam, St. Tropez, Dubai!
If you’re curious what it’s like to be a Pink Panther, read this book. If you have the courage, dare follow the steps of our heroes, embark on an action-adventure with the Pink Panthers, and personally experience the world’s most famous diamond robberies. Furthermore, find out how diamonds are made and come to that array of glittering shops, from the hot sands of Africa where greedy corporations exploit human and mineral resources in collaboration with corrupt politicians, through shining modern Europe all the way to Dubai. Get to know the dark world behind all that glitter and glow of riches, touch the blood, sweat, and tears that they represent in reality.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Beauty comes from within. If you have a story inside you that you need to tell – just start writing, initiate the process with some ideas, and put them on the paper. Don’t worry about the grammar or dialogues, it will be done later during the editing process. Blank page can’t be edited, so just start doing it. It will be hard, but you can do it and you know that story must be told! So, just keep writing. If you do just one page a day – you’ll have your first draft completed in a year. One page by one page, your book will be completed, and you’ll be so proud of your accomplishment.
If you have a creative block – go back to editing previous pages. When it gets rough and self-doubt comes crawling up your spine – ignore it and go back to editing, dive in your previous work until it’s gone. It shall pass… then you move on, write on…
Also, don’t let rejection or lack of support stop you! I used to be shy about my writing, which I have been practicing as a hobby for some 25 years or so, writing essays and stories predominantly about the war experience. Then I was too absorbed with everyday life, family, and business, and couldn’t stand exposure to the creative side of my personality. Slowly, I’ve completed the novel and pitched it for almost a year with no success, nobody in my homeland in Bosnia and Serbia offered to publish it. But suddenly, in March, I found myself locked down, with nothing but time, a notebook full of notes and complete novel in Serbian language and a chance to make some sense of this crazy moment in time. So, I had it edited and translated into English and published it in the USA first before my homeland. Only after that, the publishing offers from my homeland started popping up. Nothing is impossible!
What's your writing process?
- I obsess about my characters, as an infatuated lover, mixing up fantasy with the reality, my own experience, and reflections with ideas I mean to convey. I dream of them, I think of them day and night, observe them telling me their stories, talking and listening to them. I have a rich imagination and create whole dialogues and scenes, even chapters in my mind before writing them down. Then I add the narrative and descriptions according to my objective and themes I want to describe and convey.
If “Pink Panthers: The Greatest Thieves in the World” were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- Leonardo DiCaprio would be perfectly suited for the lead role of Victor, a charismatic, elegant smooth criminal diamond thief.
How have readers responded to “Pink Panthers: The Greatest Thieves in the World”?
- Part action-adventure and war/family drama, part mystery crime thriller, the novel is actually a critical examination of collective morals and the way society chooses to treat the vulnerable. Usually, they bought this book to relax with a true crime story of the most famous global diamond thieves but they feel quite surprised after the lively true-story war and family drama scenes as well as the last chapter's shocking revelations and twists which made them question the way the world of corporate and political elites is really functioning...
What are you working on now?
- As for writing, I am working on the concept of the second and the third part of the trilogy. As for publishing activities, the first part of the trilogy was launched in the USA, UK, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, EU, Australia, India, and Japan, right now I’m focused on Bosnia and Serbia where it will be published in September this year.
- Currently, I’m focused on publishing activities in Bosnia and Serbia, as well as promotional activities in the USA and worldwide. In some months, I’ll start writing the second novel in this trilogy. The second and third part will show the further fate of the main characters when some members of the group try to start a normal family life in a tragicomic way before returning to what they actually do best, while the others “re-specialize” in their criminal career.
A novel intertwining elements of "Ocean's 11" and "The Sopranos" based on a true story of the notorious Pink Panthers, the most successful diamond robbers in history. As a powerful amalgam of realistic situations and crime-thriller, this story conquers and touches hearts, with its shocking family, war, and political drama displayed through brisque dialogues, dark humor, effectively-positioned turnovers, and flashbacks. Through constant dynamics, action, turnover, and surprise effects, a reader is thrilled with tension and excitement all the way to the end. This quality and intriguing story will render you speechless with its colorful review of the criminal world in its intertwining with the world of corporative and political elites, making the subject of this novel more and more relevant and actual in the contemporary world...
After the thieving team of the Pink Panthers successfully carried out diamond robberies in Antwerp, London, and Tokyo, they are recruiting an elegant logistics expert and a top make-up artist to prepare for the robbery at the Diamond Biennale in Paris. After successfully completing the job in Paris, they carry out two more spectacular robberies together, at the Amsterdam airport and in Saint Tropez, after which discord and attrition occur within the gang over the division of the loot. If there is no reconciliation, the rest of the gang is forced to forgather and train a new crew for another robbery, this time in Dubai.