The official site of Ukrainian writer of fiction


10 May 2022

The interview of Dmytro Bondarenko on the Authors Show about his novel "How to Become President".


Read the text version below -

Danielle: Is becoming the President of a country a goal you believe to be out of reach? Welcome to The Authors Show, I'm Danielle Hampson.  My guest today is Dmytro Bondarenko, the Ukrainian fiction author of How to Become President. Okay, so it's fiction, but maybe you will learn something from it that could help you achieve your goal of becoming such a President if that's what you want to do, or simply discover how one goes about it. But first, a quick reminder that selected interviews on The Authors Show are available in our iPhone app, which can be downloaded in the app store, as well as on TV on the Roku channel, Amazon fire TV, and many major podcasting platforms like Amazon music, Apple podcast, Spotify, and many others and our app name on all these platforms is simply The Authors Show. So let's now bring my guest Dmytro in. Welcome to The Authors Show Dmytro.


Dmytro: Thank you Danielle, I'm happy to be here.



Danielle: Well, I'm happy that you are with me today. Let's dive in immediately to the book. Would you please give us a nutshell, a small synopsis, of your book?


Dmytro:  My book How to Become President.  This is a story of a young Ukrainian man nicknamed Khmurik. He dreamed of becoming President as a kid.  As a young man he learned the biographies of the most famous Ukrainian and American Presidents and got their unique formula for success. According to the formula, any man can become President. So finally, Khmurik decides to try his political career.



Danielle: Okay. And who is your specific target audience? People who are already involved maybe in politics, or really the general public who could have an interest in, as I said in the introduction, not only becoming President, but also maybe just learn how the system works?


Dmytro: Actually, my book is for wide range of readers.  I think this story would be interesting for all readers from say 12 years old till the oldest people. It's not just a political fiction. So political too, of course, but mostly this is an interesting story and I think most people would like to read it and see something interesting for everyone.



Danielle: So, is there anything specific that inspired you to write How to Become President?


Dmytro:  Yes, thank you. Some people I met during my own life, you know, a lot of people are dreaming about some great achievements. I mean, very, very great achievements, for example, to become a champion of the world in some sports or to win a Nobel prize in some science or something like that. But in real life, only a few of such people are ready to dedicate their whole  lives to the realization of their dreams. Most people usually postponed or forgot about their young dreams, and they just live ordinary lives. But some people don't. And my novel is about one of such guys.



Danielle: So are your characters modeled after people that you know, or did you just simply invent all of them?


Dmytro: I already said I was inspired by some real people I met during my life. It was interesting for me to see them during that process.  As I am a writer who is writing about people and of course, as an author of fiction, I added to my story a lot of suspense and adventures to have my book, a page turner.



Danielle: Yeah, of course. And of course, I have to ask this question: are there any connections between your country's current President, Mr. Zelensky, and your novel?


Dmytro: Actually, yes, there are.  I wrote this book 10 years before Mr. Zelensky became President. So, it was a kind of prediction, a lot of features. Yes. A lot of features from my book happened in real life later.  For instance, some Ukrainian oligarch helps the main character of my book, Khmurik, at the very beginning.  And in real life a similar oligarch helped the President too. And even the name of the oligarch is very very close in book and life, and many readers understand who it is, but it's fiction, it's fiction.  Yeah, the action took place in the same region of the country. I mean, […] are a lot of other similar things too.



Danielle: well, I'll have to ask you this: are you sure you are not able to predict the future? I know, that's a stretch but…


Dmytro: you know, during my writer history I see that a lot of things before was written and then they happened.



Danielle: Well, that can be good, but that can also be not so good.  So, okay, moving on.  You obviously must have done a lot of research to write this book. So what type of research did you actually do?


Dmytro: Yes, this is a good question.  To write the book I had to make a lot of research in biographies of many famous politicians. It took some time, at least to read some biographies.



Danielle: So, has anything that you personally experienced while you researched your books shocked or surprised you?


Dmytro: Yes. That was why I decided to write this book finally. The main thing that shocked and surprised me was that all the Presidents I researched have some features, the same features that help them to achieve success.   They behaved  all the same, and these things are not so obvious for people.



Danielle: And aside from this book, you actually wrote quite a number of books. So how challenging was it to write this book compared to others that you have previously written, or even after?


Dmytro: As I already said, it took some time to write the book.  I mean, I spent more time than usually when I'm writing a book, for I had to read a lot of other sources before I could start with my own novel.



Danielle: Now, I know that your book is already available in English, which is great for our audience. So, I'm going to ask you now if you could please read a short excerpt from How to Become President in English.


Dmytro: Yes.  I will do it with pleasure.


Excerpt reading.



Danielle: And what is the one message then in your book that you really would like to readers to understand when they read it?


Dmytro: First of all, my book is a very interesting story and I did my best to have it so, but the main message of my book is the way to success. Any success is not as obvious as it seems at first glance, this is not straight line.  What do I mean? I mean, for example, you know of course that our President Zelensky was a comic before he became President. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. But I think you don't know it, but he also was a winner of a nationwide TV show Dancing with the Stars.



Danielle: Actually, I did know that because I went on YouTube one time and I researched him a little bit before I started the project with Ukraine.  And I did see.... my goodness the man can dance!


Dmytro: Yes. He then was in the final, dancing tango. Yeah. So yeah, I love tango too, by the way.  I love dance so I I'm just dancing tango and lindy hop, but, okay. So in other words, I mean, a good dancer has much more chances to become a successful politician than a person who cannot dance. So I mean that not so obvious features often are more important in this area then most people think. And this matter also is in my book. If you take a look at a lot of politicians and famous politicians, they have some assets that you can not imagine would be important. But these assets are very important to be successful.



Danielle: Well, for sure in the US, I can tell you that when it comes to politicians, we always say that they need to be able to dance, and I do not mean really dance on the dance floor.  But anyway, that's a different conversation.


Dmytro: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. It's a good phrase. It's good.



Danielle: So, at the end of the day Dmytro, what is really the biggest benefit that you believe the reader will take away when he or she reads How to Become President?


Dmytro: I hope my book will help the reader to look at the familiar things from some unexpected view. My book will obviously make the reader think in some different way after reading my novel.



Danielle: And then with the situation going on in your country now, how have the current events in Ukraine changed how you get the word out about your books? Because the publishing industry in Ukraine has got to be very very hurt by what is going on as well.


Dmytro: Danielle, I want to thank you very much for your “Standing With Ukraine Literature” initiative.  It's very important for Ukraine and authors. As you know, we always have been in the shadow of big Russian literature. Even more, one time Russia has just killed the most of Ukrainian writers, I mean in Stalin’s time. Later, Russia sent Ukrainian authors to prison just because they were Ukrainian writers.  These days, Russia spends huge money to promote their culture. And of course their books in the world, and we all always have to remember that so called great Russian literature, just killing people now, still Ukrainians. But obviously the Russians are not going to stop just at our country. And it's a very important thing for Ukrainian writers to get a voice and the world.  You know, even now there are a lot of strange and silly things going on. The current events made more interest to Ukraine and our culture, and one American university made some study in Ukrainian literature and the university invited to teach Ukrainian literature. Who do you think?  Yeah a Russian writer! Yes. Maybe he's not so bad guy.  He is against Putin and blah, blah, blah. But it's nonsense. He's Russian!!  So again and again, the world is getting information about Ukraine through the Russian point of view. That's the problem.



Danielle: I understand exactly what you're saying.  Doing some research myself on Ukrainian  literature, I did find a lot about what had been going on for centuries, not just recently and not just the era of Stalin either, but before and for many centuries.  The Russians really were overshadowing Ukraine.  In any case, I am just happy to do what I can to give Ukrainian authors a voice. Okay. So going back to the book. We know now that your book is available in English already.  In what other language is maybe your book available? And of course, are you looking to expand on that through the sale of foreign rights?


Dmytro: My book How to Become  President is available in Ukrainian.  Of course, because it was the original text, and the English translation is available for everybody who wants to read it.  And of course I'm very interested in foreign rights, I want my book could be read by as many readers as possible.  I think it would be interesting for people, yes.



Danielle: So, Dmytro, what feedback have you already gotten from readers of your book?


Dmytro: Interesting thing from Ukrainian readers.  I'm getting messages, something like this. I will give the book to my grandson, or son, or cousin after reading this, he would understand how to be successful in life.  Even if he doesn't want to become President, he will get some things that's very important for success in any business. Similar feedback I got from my American readers too. And one elderly man wrote me that he wished he had read my book when he was much younger, in that case he would have surely achieved one big dream he dreamed from his very young years.



Danielle: Well, don't we all wish that we had done certain things when we were younger, after we reach a certain stage of our life. So, I agree with the gentlemen statement.


Dmytro: Yes, he is a very clever man. And he also wrote some books, nonfiction.



Danielle: Now Dmytro, is there anything that we have not covered here that you feel is important for people to understand about your book?


Dmytro: No, it's hard to say. I think the best way is just to read my book and have an interesting time during the reading.



Danielle: Okay. That sounds good. And last but not least: where may readers find out more about you and about your books?


Dmytro: My site is Also, social media like Facebook and Instagram.  And of course my book is available on Amazon. This is a translation from Ukrainian into English. There are electronic and paper versions of my book. So, you can reach this book through Amazon, and you can easily type How to Become President, and you will get it.



Danielle: And when you say Amazon, is it or is there an Amazon in Ukraine?  Because there are a lot of Amazon's out there.


Dmytro: The in any country. Where there is Amazon like Amazon-UK, Amazon-Canada. So it's available on all Amazon sites.



Danielle: Okay. Wonderful. Well, thank you Dmytro for spending some time with me today to talk about your book How to Become President, and I wish you all the success with it.


Dmytro: Thank you so much. Thank you, Danielle. Thank you for having me here.


Danielle: Dmytro  Bondarenko is our Ukrainian author today and How to Become President is the title of his book. And you heard it, it is available in English.  Still, I do call on publishing industry professionals who deal with foreign rights to consider Dmytro's book for translation in other languages as well, that way he can expand on that beyond just the English world and beyond Ukraine. Dmytro can be reached at his website at And I'm going to spell this for you [spelling] -


Ladies and gentlemen, our goal here at The Authors Show is to help Ukrainian literature and culture, but we cannot do it alone.  So please, give others the opportunity to discover our guest and his work by sharing this interview with your friends. I'm Danielle Hampson. Thank you for listening.  Until next time with another Ukrainian author and a wonderful book.




The book “How to Become President” on


@ Dmytro Bondarenko 2016- 2024