Dr. Yuki Carlsson, author of the best-selling literary fiction novel ‘Prison of Loneliness,’ has dedicated their life to human potential and community-building. Originating the ‘Students for Students’ initiative during their school years, Yuki has always been an advocate for mental wellness and inclusion. Their international experiences have cultivated a nuanced understanding of diverse worldviews. Armed with leadership experience, Yuki elicits the best from others. They’ve distilled their wisdom into a philosophy called ‘Merge Merits,’ which focuses on amplifying collective achievements by balancing individual gifts. Leveraging their academic background, Yuki writes psychological non-fiction and literary fiction to create awareness and to inspire.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could transform into one mythological creature, which one would you choose?
According to my Asian zodiac, I would be a dragon. Japanese dragons are often seen as benevolent and associated with water and rainfall. I love rain, so that must be it. 😀
Q2. Finish the phrase “the way to my heart is…”
…with a knife through my armor. Alternatively with wits and charm.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Extroverts talk to people while introverts imagine talking to people. Who is more likely to become a writer? 😉
Q4. Do you watch shows one episode at a time or binge whole seasons?
A good show doesn’t leave a choice but to binge it, does it?
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
Future. I want to see whether humanity will have managed to survive in 10k years.
Q6. What is your last Google search?
I don’t google anymore, I ask ChatGPT. 😀
My last request was about visa options for self-employed writers.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
My keys. It’s gotten a lot better since I attach them to my bag with a carabiner. But I still manage to forget them dangling from the door after unlocking. Can’t remember how often my neighbours rang the bell to hand me my keys.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
A friend saved my life. Does that count?
Q9. If given the chance to start your life over, would you take it?
No. It was hard work to achieve what I did and I wouldn’t want to go through that again. However, if I can keep my knowledge, experience, certificates and could just add the time I had so far on top of my life, I would do that.
Q10. What is the best present you have ever received?
A friend made a special present to my 18th birthday with 18 useful items for everyday life, like a lipstick to soften my lips before a kiss, a condom to stay safe, a mint for fresh breath and so on. These were all very small things, but it was so well thought-off, I loved that present.
Q11. Describe your style in one word.
Bad-ass? Two adjectives would have been easier. Sophisticated yet sporty; feminine with masculine edge; …
Q12. If you were to devote the rest of your life to philanthropy, what cause would you choose?
I am already devoting my life to philanthropy. My plan is to share my experience, knowledge, and philosophy through my books to help humanity to a better life today and tomorrow.
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Yuki.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Yuki. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. There’s a grand stage surrounded by fifty thousand people listening to authors introducing themselves. They are bored and restless of listening to introductions all day. It’s your turn. How would you introduce yourself?
With confidence, I walk to the stage’s edge, and stretch out a hand. With a calm yet captivating voice I begin.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you on a journey—not just any, but one to your dreams. “Close your eyes—inhale—exhale. Now picture your dream future. Is it an achievement? A tranquil haven you call home? Or perhaps, the embrace of a lifelong love? Envision it with all its details—the sights, the sounds, the scents. Feel your emotions.
I pause, allowing the audience to immerse in their imagination. Then, with a warm smile, I continue.
“What if I told you that the path to this future, your ideal future, can be more direct, more enriching, and less fraught with conflict than you ever imagined? I am Yuki Carlsson, and through my travels across continents and cultures, I’ve developed a philosophy that doesn’t just enrich the narratives of my novels, but also transforms lives through my non-fiction works. My books aren’t just collections of pages; they are a gateway to understanding how we can reach our goals faster, more easily, and with greater success by harnessing the power of unity in diversity.
“This philosophy, ‘Merge Merits,’ is more than a concept; it’s a practical blueprint for a world where we amplify each other’s strengths, where your success and mine are not at odds, but are interlinked. Join me in turning these pages, and let’s embark on a journey to turn your dreams into reality.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what books did you grow up reading?
I grew up reading old classics: Hesse, Goethe, Exupery, Voltaire, to just name a few; And I’ve always been fascinated by philosophy and psychology.
Q. Interesting. Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Not myself, but it changed the way I see the world. To write a scene, one needs to describe the surrounding, how different characters regard the same situation etc. To do that, one must learn to observe places and people in more detail, which creates new awareness. Putting things into words also helps to process one’s own experiences and sheds new light on past circumstances.
Q. Would you share something about yourself that your readers don’t know (yet)?
Not sure I shared my hobbies, yet. I do martial arts, bouldering, and play piano. I used to kitesurf, model, and paint, too. My newest “hobby” if you will is AI. I play around with text-based AI as well as AI image generation. It’s a lot of fun.
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
As I haven’t received any crushing reviews, yet, I don’t know how I will feel about that emotionally. Rationally, however, I think every person has their taste and just because one person doesn’t like my work, doesn’t mean my book is bad. The many positive reviews agree. On top, it’s never necessary to leave a bad review. Even when I don’t like a book, I will say in my review who might like it. For example, if I didn’t like the shallow story, I might say, “This book is for people who enjoy light entertainment that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.” So, when someone feels the urge to leave a destructive review, I would think, “What a pity. This person must have a really bad day (and probably a really bad personality) to have to lash out at others this way instead of acknowledging that there might be people who don’t think the same way.” In that sense, I think I wouldn’t take it too personally, but I can never know how I will feel about it until it happens to me.
Q. What comes first for you — the message of the book or the words chosen to express that message?
They always come together. Without a message, words are empty; and without the right words, the message gets lost.
Q. How has your professional or daily life influenced you as an author?
My previous professional and daily life inspired me to my stories. In my novels, I often puzzle together real-life experiences of myself and of people who told me their story, into a new fictitious story. And my non-fiction work is based on the insights I have gained from observing the world.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
I am not fixed on any specific definition here. Literary success can take many shapes: selling a lot of books, having a book made into a movie, becoming rich or famous, getting an award or the Nobel prize. I can acknowledge all this as literary success.
Q. Let’s talk about your latest book. Tell us about it.
My latest book is also my first book. It’s a romantic literary fiction novel about the self-healing journey of a traumatised Japanese woman, virtually accompanied by a Korean-American. It’s a book addressing topics such as loneliness, depression, life abroad, and interrace relationships.
This book changed a lot for me. It turned me into a published bestselling author; and by that encouraged me to quit my job after my sabbatical and make writing my full-time profession.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even intend to write that novel. I went into the sabbatical wanting to write on a philosophical supernatural series about memories and time with one of my best friends. When that didn’t work out, I wanted to use the free time to write a story about obsession, online stalking, alter egos, AI fakes etc., but I realised I would need a prequel to explain how it got to that complicated situation. So my debut novel became part I of a trilogy, while the story I wanted to write will be part II of it.
Q. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
The hardest part of it was to create a story arch that is both closed and open. The book itself needs a round story arch that leaves people satisfied. But as I mentioned above, I always wanted to write part II of the story, so part I needed to serve as an entry point, kind of the exposition and initiating moment for that.
So when I handed my draft to the editor, they criticized the unfinished character development. So what I did was to create two story archs, the self-healing journey of the traumatised protagonist, and the slow-burn romance—and I only finished one of them in part I.
Q. What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter. For my fiction, I do the outline of the story, then the outline of each chapter, then the outline of each scene; and only then do I write. For non-fiction, I research a topic from all angles, create connections between the insights, think of a storyline to convey the message I concluded; and only then do I write.
Q. You also write fiction. What’s your take on that experience vis-à-vis a non-fiction book? Which do you enjoy more?
Writing fiction and non-fiction are two entirely different things. I find fiction has a stronger focus on writing: how to describe a situation; how to evoke emotions; and how to increase the tension. While non-fiction has a stronger focus on the research: why is this important (which problem does it solve); how to address this; and what to do exactly.
If I had to choose, I would say, I enjoy fiction more. But both have their fun sides.
Q. What has helped you most when writing a book?
Tools. I work a lot with digital tools, be it Scrivener for writing, ProWritingAid for language correction, ChatGPT for discussing outlines, etc. Also, the editor has helped me a great deal to improve not only my books but as a writer in general.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
There is no one-size-fits-all advice. It depends on where you struggle.
Do you struggle to bring something to paper? Establish a routine and write without thinking about quality; you can still edit later.
Or do you struggle to describe situations? Hone your observation skills and try to put in words what you see in your everyday life.
Do you struggle to write a compelling story? Look into different types of story archs and think of initiating moment, plot points, pinch points, a dilemma, the climax etc.
Do you struggle with language? Read. Analyse the sentences of other writers. Get lists of descriptive words or check for synonyms to bring more variety into your sentences.
In any case, write daily, even if only a little.