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An Interview With Miriam Drori

Firstly, thank you very much for agreeing to an Author Interview with me, Miriam. I appreciate how busy you are and am grateful you were able to make time for me today.

Thank you so much for inviting me back to your blog, Val.

You are always welcome, here. Please could you tell my readers a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in London, but have lived for most of my life in Jerusalem, Israel. My husband and I now live in a lovely house with a large garden and a beautiful view of the Jerusalem Forest. We have three children and one granddaughter.

There are plenty of things we still miss about England, but one item has recently been removed from the list. Salt and vinegar crisps are now made by our local crisp manufacturer. I hope they last, even though most Israelis don’t like the taste.

What inspired you to become an author?

I knew I could write – I used to be a technical writer – but I didn’t think of being an author until I became passionate about raising awareness of social anxiety. I began with non-fiction, and then ventured into the realm of fiction. For a long time, I didn’t believe I could be creative. It’s amazing what you can do when you try. The writing group that I joined definitely provided inspiration, as well as lots of enjoyment. Sadly, it no longer functions.

What is the best thing about being an author?

The author friends I’ve made through writing. They’re such lovely people, always willing to help and open to acceptance of difference. That’s why I’m here, hosted by my good friend, Val, who also read and recommended my latest novel.

What is your writing routine like?

I don’t have a daily routine, although I probably should. I dedicate one month per year to writing a novel, with the help and encouragement of some local friends, all writing their own novels. During that month, I try to postpone everything apart from writing that novel. For the rest of the year, I find it hard to devote enough time to writing, as other things get in the way, especially promoting my books.

Some readers might recognise my description of writing a novel in a month as NaNoWriMo, and that’s how I would have described it up to now. But I’ve decided to cancel my membership of that organisation while continuing to write novels in November.

How much time do you spend on research?

I like to write about things I know. Even so, lots of questions arise and I need to look them up or ask other people. It’s hard to say how much time I spend on research. I try to find out everything I need before starting to write, but I always come across more gaps in my knowledge while writing. Even after the first draft is complete, there will be more questions. ‘Could it really happen like that?’ is a common one.

How much of the book is planned out before you start writing it?

I did much more planning for my latest novel, Style and the Solitary, than for any of the previous ones. Even so, while writing, I had new ideas, which led to new scenes and introduced new characters. I think this method worked very well. It caused me to finish the book in record time (for me), but didn’t stifle my creativity.

What do you think is most important when writing a book?

I begin with characters. When I have my main characters, I weave a plot around them, bringing in new characters when they pop up. Then I decide on the setting, which of course affects the plot and the characters. All of those are vitally important and influence each other Another element of writing is theme, or a central message underlying the book. There doesn’t have to be one, but for me, the messages always turn up during planning or writing or even after the novel is finished. I don’t start with a moral, but in the end I realise what I wanted to say.

What is your latest book about?

Style and the Solitary is a murder mystery set in Jerusalem. Asaf is accused of murdering another employee in his office. His social anxiety makes it impossible for him to defend himself, and also causes everyone else – those in the office as well as people who don’t even know him – to be sure of his guilt. Only one person believes that he’s innocent – Nathalie, a new immigrant from France. Will her belief be enough to help Asaf?

What inspired it?

The novel was inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast, in which the Beast is able to change back into a Prince because of Beauty’s belief. It was also inspired by the amazing city I’m lucky enough to live in.

Any new books or plans for the future?

I’ve started work on the sequel to Style and the Solitary. It’s still in the planning stage. I’m also looking forward to seeing my new short story published in an anthology.

What genres do you read most often?

That’s a difficult question. I can tell you I don’t usually read science fiction or horror or YA. But mostly, I don’t choose a book for its genre but rather because I’ve seen it recommended or like the sound of its blurb.

Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?

I can tell them which messages appeared as I wrote Style and the Solitary, or after I finished writing it:

· Our laws are made for people who can talk. They don’t work for those who can’t talk, or are struck dumb in a frightening situation.

· Most people have a warped opinion of so-called ‘loners’, created by the publicity of a tiny minority.

· Belief can make all the difference.

· Jerusalem is a beautiful city. (I know, I said it before and I’ll say it again.)

Readers are welcome to interact with me via my website or through social media.

The Author

When Miriam Drori says she loves to perform, people don’t believe her. When she says she’s not shy, they think she’s delusional. The fact is, things ain’t what they seem. A witch called social anxiety took away her ability to be spontaneous, but it didn’t change her exhibitionist nature. You need to watch her dancing or speaking before an audience to understand that.

Fortunately, she has found an outlet for her thoughts in writing, a solitary activity with multiple recipients. She never doubted her ability to write, but only in recent years has she managed to gather her views and observations together into papier-mâché balls worth throwing far and wide.

If you ignore the witch, life has been good to Miriam, especially since she made the decision to move from the UK to Israel. She has a wonderful husband, three lovely children and a delightful house. She loves to read, travel, hike and dance. She has worked in computer programming and technical writing, and now enjoys the freedom and versatility of creative writing. And she believes passionately in raising awareness of social anxiety.

The Links

Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Wattpad and on her website/blog.

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