1124 GMT September 20, 2020
An Iranian author who has recently recovered from COVID-19 said the coronavirus pandemic will have its impact on future stories.
Rouzbeh Moein added the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the world and mankind, noting that the world has changed a lot compared to what it was prior to the outbreak of the virus.
The young author, 29, gained early fame after his debut novel, ‘The Cold Coffee of Mr. Writer,’ was published in May 2017.
Having a bright future ahead of him, his first piece became a bestseller helping him notch up great success overnight.
The novel was, and still is, so successful that it has been republished 80 times and is planned to be translated into other languages.
Moein had begun penning his second novel, ‘Antarctica, 89° South,’ which depicts a dreamlike and complicated atmosphere and is totally different from his first book, before he was infected with the coronavirus in March, right when he was about to finish his piece.
The novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, in December, started spreading in Iran in late February. The first wave of the virus, which causes an acute respiratory disease known as COVID-19, swept through Iran in March.
Although after catching the virus, the young author had a tough time, the disease helped him gain a bitter yet different experience and has had a considerable impact on his attitude toward the surrounding world, which will definitely be reflected in his future works.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, he, who has fully recovered from the disease and has got back to normal life, talked about his days of sickness, books and future career as an author.
The full text of the interview follows:
IRAN DAILY: Would you please talk about your experience of catching the coronavirus?
ROUZBEH MOEIN: In the early days of the coronavirus spread in Iran, during late February to late March, my parents and I caught the disease. My father and I, however, contracted the more severe form and, thus, were hospitalized. Since we could not tolerate the situation at the hospital, we continued our treatment at home. Although the severity of the symptoms was reduced after two weeks, we experienced great fear during the 14-day period. The disease caused me great inconvenience as I continued to have shortness of breath until late April and sometimes needed to use oxygen spray. Of course, I still experience shortness of breath at times and fail to completely regain my sense of smell.
Did you completely stop writing during your days of sickness?
It was a little bit difficult to write in those days for when the symptoms reach their peak in severity, your main preoccupation is whether you would survive. I could not concentrate on writing; but I read books to keep negative thoughts at bay.
Of course, I have seen many other people who read books, particularly novels, while in quarantine, as it takes you to another world, helps you experience a different life, and is soothing. During those days, I understood that the number of the people reading my novel had increased, as I received a larger number of messages from readers about my novel.
Were you thinking about dying in those days?
One night I felt so sick that I told my father I would not last until morning. I had an above-38°C fever for two weeks, which was very annoying, and I felt nausea.
All people, naturally, experience the fear of death. I also had the same feeling. When the severity of my symptoms increased, I considered the possibility of not being able to finish my book, which was a painful experience given the hard work I had put in to writing it.
Do you mean you even expected this to happen.
Definitely. Among my main concerns has always been not being able to finish the story I have started to write. It is very depressing that a story would remain unfinished. I remember, one night, I felt very sick. I called one of my close friends and gave him the password to my laptop. I told him if anything happened to me, there was a file on my laptop containing the book. I did this because many people asked about my new book each day. I received up to 600 messages in this regard every day.
When will your new book be published?
I am rewriting the story, going through the final stages. However, it is slightly difficult to publish a book under the present circumstances and in view of the current critical situation [created due to the coronavirus outbreak]. I hope to be able to release the book in 2021 at a time when the people of my country are in a better economic situation. In addition, it is, at present, impossible to hold a signing event, which is a good opportunity for advertising a book, given the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus spread.
Is your unpleasant experience of contracting the disease going to lead you to toward writing related stories?
Yes. But I really cannot say definitely if I am going to write a story about coronavirus or not. In general, the events that occur in a writer’s life become a source of inspiration for him in his works. This holds true about me. In my new novel, a fatal disease enters the world, becomes an epidemic in a way different from the outbreak of coronavirus and kills millions of people. As far as the coronavirus pandemic is concerned, we are seeing with our own eyes how a virus can change the entire world in just a few months and how it has impacted people and their interactions. The outbreak of the virus has had a tremendous impact on the world. I am not an exception. The issue will have its impact on my future stories. I may rewrite parts of my story as such strange events are unfolding in the real world that no one could have predicted them a few months ago. These events can occur in the world of my novel in a stranger way.
Do you predict greater success for your second novel?
We must adopt a positive attitude toward different events. When people experience exciting events in their lives, things of lesser degree will no longer satisfy them. I hope this book will achieve greater success. Nevertheless, my previous book and the success it attained can contribute to the greater popularity of the new novel. My second book will probably sell much better than the first.
Do you think that the second novel is better than the first one?
Definitely, as I have gained more experience. I am a young author and will gradually get newer experiences in writing, which will help open my mind further. The story of the second novel is very attractive and about parallel universes. It is a totally new and modern story. I believe that few authors would choose to write such a story. To write this kind of story, the author must have certain knowledge and information. I have studied chemistry and conducted extensive research on such subjects.
Has anything new happened regarding your previous novel?
Its 80th edition has been published in 2,200 copies. The number of copies was limited to 1,100 when the novel was republished for the 70th time. I have also held talks with a number of publishers to publish the book in other languages. A good Turkish publisher has announced willingness to publish the book. A good translation of the book in Turkish is available at present.