Vashtan is not-for profit pseudonym of author Aleksandr Voinov, an emigrant German author living near London where he makes his living as a financial journalist, freelance editor and creative writing teacher.
At 34 years of age, Voinov has written about 13 novels and commercially published five with German publishers. After many years dabbling around in horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy, and making a (different) name for himself in those markets, Voinov has set his sights now on contemporary and historical erotic novels.
Voinov's first major English language work is Special Forces, co-written between 2006 and 2008 and published online. The epic three-part novel comprises around one million words. Its 'hero', Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada, stretches the very concept of 'heroic' - Vadim is a Soviet special forces soldier in Afghanistan, where he meets, seemingly, his nemesis and the great love of his life. A love that develops despite war, atrocities, torture and anguish. The second part explores the lovers' time as mercenaries/private military contractors, and, finally, in part three, as military advisers and civilians.
In August 2008, he co-wrote a massive fan-fiction novel called Collateral featuring a cross-over between Iron Man and The Punisher, two Marvel characters that have always fascinated him.
In 2008, Aleksandr Voinov sold his first explicit gay short story to one of the major German gay publishers: Die Rasur ('The Shave') was published in the anthology Jungs auf Entdeckungsreise ('Boys on a Journey of Discovery') by Bruno Gmünder Verlag.
In September 2009, Noble Romance Publishing published his short story Deliverance in the historical and historical-themed anthology Forbidden Love. The story deals with a Templar suddenly facing his ex-lover in the Holy Land in 1185, and forces issues of faith, guilt, and desire back to the surface.
Test of Faith, another historical m/m story he co-write with Raev Gray, was accepted by eXcessica and will be published in May 2010 (ebook) and print edition.
A co-written short story, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, has been signed with MLR Press for an upcoming anthology; the story deals with the pressures of gay soldiers who face a hostile environment in addition to the pressures of the modern battlefield.
Voinov recently finished a gay financial thriller called Return on Investment, with two connected novels in the outlining/writing stages.
Currently, Voinov is working on a German-language historical novel, which he promised his German agent two years ago. English projects include a gay vampire novel, a gay urban fantasy novel (both co-written with Raev Gray), as well as a handful of projects in research and outlining stage.
Writing style and preferences
Voinov's natural form is the novel, as all short stories eventually turn into novels. Described as a "workaholic speed-writing freak" by fellow writers, a "creative writing class drill sergeant" by his writing 'padawans', Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos. Voinov's characters are often scarred lonely souls at odds with their environment and pitted against odds that make or break them. He described the perfect ending for his books as "the characters make it out alive, but at a terrible cost, usually by the skin of their teeth. I want to see what's at the core of them, and stripping them down to that core is rarely pleasant for the character. But it does make them wiser, and often stronger people."
Voinov's style has been called "dynamic to the point of breathlessness", "dark to the point of fatalism" and "disturbingly poetic" by publishers and literary agents.
Hobbies and interests
Voinov has just barely enough time to take care of a Chinese elm bonsai standing on his desk, goes weight-lifting, and confuses opponents as a left-hander in foil fencing. Intellectually, Voinov is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, Voinov is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.
Interest at the moment include professional chess players, raising bonsais from seed, Swedish massage, tailored suits, and networking with writers and literary agents. The interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains three bookshops in London.
On the Web
- Special Forces
- Test of Faith
- Spoils of War
- Clean Slate
- Risky Maneuvers