Today I am delighted to welcome author Miriam Drori ~
I began by asking her:
You live in a very beautiful part of the world, but one that has a troubled history. Does anything about where you live inform your writing? I agree that Israel is very beautiful. I think what makes it special is the huge variety in a small area. Sea, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, desert – we have them all. History abounds from monuments to recent events going back to ancient archaeological sites. The troubles are part of what makes that history so interesting, although of course we’d prefer to live without them. I haven’t yet written about that part of living here. My novel, Neither Here Nor There and short stories that are set here don’t mention it. I worried that readers from around the world would expect any story set here to include these ongoing struggles. I should have given them more credit for being able to see beyond the words and pictures from the news media. That said, clearly my novel is rooted in Israel and includes descriptions of various places and problems that exist here, although similar problems can be found all over the world. From a maths degree to computing to writing would seem to be quite a leap. Does a mathematical/analytical mind help when it comes to the process of writing? I think mathematically-minded people often turn to crime writing, as they enjoy working out the twists and turns that keep readers guessing. That might be an idea for me for the future. So far, I don’t know whether my mathematical leanings have helped specifically, although I’m sure all experiences enrich writing in some way and influence the process of getting words onto pages. You didn't yearn from an early age to write. When and why did that change? I grew up knowing I could express myself well in writing – and better than I could in aural communication – but thinking I didn’t have anything much to say. That was because I was the youngest in the class and a late developer. I wasn’t ready for the sort of writing (or reading) that was expected of us, and so was never encouraged to write. It was after I discovered social anxiety at the age of fifty and became passionate about raising awareness of this common but little-known disorder that I began writing. I started with non-fiction before venturing into fiction. My first attempt at a novel involved two people with social anxiety. Through it, I learned a lot about writing. That novel has gone through many stages. I’m still working on it. How would you define "Social Anxiety"? Social anxiety is a fear of people and especially of what those people think of the “sufferer”. When social anxiety is so prominent that it dictates a person’s life it can be called social anxiety disorder. Many people describe social anxiety as extreme shyness. While it’s true in most cases that social anxiety stems from shyness, it’s not true in my case and so I steer clear of that definition. Your book Neither Here Nor There opens with Esty knowing that today is going to be far from normal. Can you tell us a little bit more? “Normal” for Esty means always wearing clothes that cover her knees and elbows; always wearing tights despite the summer heat; never touching a man or sitting close to one; reciting prayers before eating, travelling and much more. Esty has grown up as part of the haredi community, living in Mea Shearim, an area of Jerusalem very close, geographically, to its centre but culturally very far. Normally, such a girl would go on to choose from a handful of suitors and settle down in a small flat, where she would bring up her large number of children. No one knows it yet, but Esty has decided to leave that life and carve a new one for herself. She has no idea of the difficulties that await her on the other side of the imaginary fence.
Are you working on anything at the moment? I’m working on three novels, but specifically at the moment I’m collaborating with another author on a historical novel based on a painting by Klimt. That’s new for me on both aspects: collaboration and the historical setting. Fortunately she has prior experience with them and I’m enjoying the process. Annie, thank you so much for your interesting questions and for inviting me onto your blog.
Miriam, thank you for agreeing to be my guest today and for your interesting answers.
Neither Here Nor There is on sale this week on Amazon. It can also be bought from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes and elsewhere. Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad and on her website/blog.