Thanks so much to Yael Shahar author of A Damaged Mirror,
who invited me to participate in the current My Writing Process Blog Tour
. Yael describes her book as an exploration between right and wrong; between choice and choicelessness, and the consequences of crossing boundaries. Check it out!
This tour asks four questions that each writer answers before she passes on the virtual torch, so here goes:
- What am I working on? I just finished my second novel, Passport Control. I’m really excited about it as it is my longest work and I feel for me it means I have finally crossed the line from short story writer to novelist. Although, I have already published one novel King of the Class I was undergoing a transition with that novel from years of writing only short stories and some poetry. This time around I no longer had the ghost of a short story writer flitting in and out between my fingers as I typed.
Passport Control is a coming of age novel that takes place in Israel in the early 1990s in the new genre called New Adult Fiction (between young adult and adult). A nineteen year old girl, Miriam Gil, argues with her Yemenite Israeli father and abandons him in their Ottawa home for Israel—a place he’s never wanted her to visit. There she discovers a family secret, murder, politics, romance and more trouble than she can handle and the only way out is to grow up. The novel weaves the 1990s with a 1940s pre-State Israel backdrop from the perspective of a Yemenite boy growing up under British Occupation and war.
- How does my work differ from others of its genre? I have a hard time labeling works in specific genres as I am sure many writers do. Regarding King of the Class, I have not come across futuristic satires with Orthodox Jewish characters before; certainly not ones that take place in imaginary future Jewish states and yes, I mean two different Jewish states. This does not mean they don’t exist; I simply am not aware of them. In the case of Passport Control, while there is a successful tradition of Israeli fiction, I find most of it in English is written from the Ashkenazi point of view. In my novel, we have the Yemenite point of view and the daughter of a Yemenite ex-pat voice. It’s relatively new ground and I hope it will expand the definition of Jewish and Israeli fiction.
- Why do I write what I do? It’s largely out of my control unless I want to be miserable. I write what I become passionate about. Why do fools fall in love?
- How does my writing process work? I become obsessed with an idea, or to be more literary, a theme/motif. I hammer out a first draft and keep chipping away, forward, backwards, upside down, whatever it takes. I have learned to slow down and polish chapter by chapter. I also find I work much better with a partner, either exchanging work or with an editor who reviews my work as I plow forward. Once I am deeply into a novel, I dream about it, think about the characters before I fall asleep, and the world of the novel becomes entirely real to me (yes, it’s a bit frightening!), but my kids usually bring me back to reality with a loud thunk by 8 AM.