Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Neither Here Nor There



My Welcome Wednesday post is a bit late today. A combination of events led to this being delayed and my apologies go to Miriam Drori, my fellow Crooked Cat author for it being hours after I intended it to be made 'live'.

Miriam has recently released her novel 'Neither Here Nor There'- a novel featured on this blog a few weeks ago. Today, Miriam has kindly agreed to return to be interviewed so that we can get to know her a bit more and she's brought a wee teaser to share with us.

Welcome again, Miriam.
Please tell us three things the readers won’t know about you from your bio information.
·         For A-level I took double maths and music. I almost did a joint degree in maths and music, but ended up doing just maths.
·         I met my husband at a guitar lesson. Neither of us can play the guitar now, but at least something came out of those lessons.
·         We love going away. The place we’ve been to more than any other is the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. One day, I’ll set a novel there. I don’t know who will be in it, but it won’t be Sherlock Homes… as far as I know.

I'm now sharing the blurb of 'Neither Here Nor There', before I ask Miriam any more questions about the novel.

Esty's life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world.
But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream.

What’s also in the plot of Neither Here Nor There’ which would entice a new reader?
Arranged marriage, escaping from a closed community, extremism, life-changing decisions and emigration are the main issues tackled. All that in a light and entertaining love story! 
What's the genre/ subgenre of Neither Here Nor There’?
It’s a romance, but it’s much more than that.
Do you think Neither Here Nor There’ fits into a particular niche market?
The story is set mainly in Jerusalem; the characters are Jewish. But the issues the characters tackle can easily be translated into the wider world. So while the novel could fit into that niche pond, it is by no means a fish out of water outside it.
Were there any triggers which led to the plotline for Neither Here Nor There’?
I took an excellent online workshop for writing pocket novels, given by Sally Quilford. At the start of the course, we all had to come up with a heroine and a hero, and to assign them several conflicts. I wanted mine to be familiar to me and unique amongst the course participants, so I decided to set my romance in my home town of Jerusalem. I thought that if the two belonged to different communities, there would be plenty of conflict. The rest just grew from that. 
Location of a novel is generally quite crucial. London and Jerusalem feature in Neither Here Nor There’ so will your readers be experiencing particular areas of the cities, or will they be getting a general feel of the cities – if they’ve never visited themselves.
Most of the story is set in Jerusalem. The characters visit several parts of West Jerusalem, enough, I think, for readers to get a general feel for the city. Their stay in London is quite short and so, while I describe the places they visit, I don’t think it’s enough to get a feel for that vast city.
What was the hardest part for you to write?
I think it was the descriptions – using all the senses to bring readers to the places and to help them to get to know the characters intimately. I hadn’t had so much experience of that, and I learned a lot from writing ‘Neither Here Nor There’. 
What message do you hope your readers will get from ‘Neither Here Nor There’?
There are several messages they could get from it. Perhaps the main one is this: On the surface, people in other countries, with other religions, beliefs and ways of life, may appear very alien, but underneath we’re all human beings with similar urges and aspirations. Another message is about the dangers of extremism. 
What are you currently working on?
The main character has never fitted into society. He keeps himself on the outside, believing that this is where he will stay, until at short notice he is sent to Japan on a business trip. 
I wrote the first draft of this novel last November as my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m still working on it, trying to get it right. It’s not easy.
Great answers, Miriam. Thanks for featuring with me on Nancy's Novels.
Thank you for featuring me!

Miriam’s website and blog: http://miriamdrori.com/
Neither Here Nor There is available from:

 

A little teaser... so settle in and enjoy!

After they greeted each other, Mark followed Esty to the railings, where the vista took in the Old City walls, and beside them the Valley of Hinnom with the hills behind and the distant hills that he knew lay on the other side of the Dead Sea, in Jordan. The valley was a rugged brown now, but Mark remembered the greens of winter. The views here were spectacular – one of the advantages to living in a hilly city, full of history. Towers and steeples poked up from behind the city walls and beside them. The Tower of David, the Dormition Abbey just outside, as well as two church steeples inside the walls. Modernity also towered behind the walls in the form of a tall aerial. Despite the aesthetically displeasing nature of the aerial, Mark loved this mixture of old and new. To the right, stood the old Church of St Andrew with its blue and white Scottish flag. The “old” here was comparative. It looked old when you got up close, with its partly blackened, mildewy bricks, but Mark knew it was still under a hundred years old – nothing compared to the almost six hundred-year-old city walls.

As they stood there, Mark could see the effects of the setting sun. The sun went down so much faster than it did in England that you could stand and watch as the changing light from behind caused the colours all over the vast panorama to dance as they grew darker.

Mark took in all of this with half his mind. The other half was waiting for the solution to the mystery. He felt impatient but decided not to ask. No doubt Esty would explain in her own time.

Then she began. “I need to tell you why I wanted us to meet here.” The expression on Esty’s face had become serious. “This was the place I came to on my last date. And the one before that.”

Mark shifted his position, widening the gap between them a little. Why on earth was she telling him this?

Esty must have sensed his growing unease. “Wait. Please. There’s more.”

“I’m not sure I want to hear it.”

Esty turned to face him, lips apart. “Why ever not?”

Could Esty really be as shocked as she looked? Mark didn’t think so. Surely she realised that what she said could upset him. But she’d asked him to explain and, whether or not her question was as na├»ve as it sounded, he would attempt to spell it out to her.

“Well, to tell you the truth, what you just said makes me rather annoyed. What are you trying to tell me? That you brought your exes here when you wanted to break it off with them, and that you expect the same to happen with me, or you’re even going to say goodbye to me now when we hardly know each other? Or that you want to return to one of them and you’re merely using me as a substitute in the meantime?”

Esty shook her head. “I’m sorry. I’m not doing this well, but I need to tell you something and I thought this would be the best place. Please, Mark, listen to what I have to say.” Her eyes implored him to give her a chance.

“All right.” Mark made no move to close the gap between them.

I definitely want to read on a bit more, Miriam. I really need to whittle down my 'to be read' list and get on with 'Neither Here Nor There'.  Best wishes for the success of your novel!

Slainthe!

8 comments:

  1. Ooh, thank you for this, Nancy.

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    1. You're very welcome, Miriam. Pop in any time!

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  2. Great post, Miriam. I love reading about other authors, what makes them tick. Your book sounds intriguing. Happy writing! Pauline.

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    1. Hi Pauline. It's good to catch up with you again and thankd for popping in.

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    2. Glad you liked the post, Pauline.

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  3. Excellent interview...loved the guitar lesson turned marriage bit. Her creativity doesn't surprise me. The mention of considering a double major in math and music typically equals genius level creativity. Good luck Miriam!

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