Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hello, Fiona. I’m delighted to be back here. A lot has happened since I was last here, five years ago.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Miriam Drori. I’m sixty-five, but my body doesn’t realise that.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I grew up in London, UK, but have lived for most of my life in Jerusalem, Israel.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I remember my school days as sad, lonely and full of bullying. I remember university, where I studied Maths, as fantastic. The truth is that neither place was as black or white as it seems when I first reflect on those far-off days.
Now, I’m much more settled and happy with my husband of many years and three grown-up children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My main news is that my next novel, Cultivating a Fuji, is about to be released. I spent a long time working on this novel, and the main characters have been with me for even longer. I’m delighted to release it into the world and hope it finds favour with readers.
Here’s the link to buy/pre-order: mybook.to/cultivatingafuji.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in earnest in 2003 when I became passionate about raising awareness of social anxiety, and realised writing was the best method for me to achieve this. Since then, I’ve written about other topics, but it was social anxiety that caused me to begin.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always knew I could write, but I didn’t call myself an author until my first book was published, in 2014.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I took part in an online workshop on writing romances. It was led by the brilliant Sally Quilford and I learned a lot in it. I thought about a topic for my romance, one that would be unique and have enough conflict to make the story interesting. The one I came up with fitted those criteria. Set in Jerusalem, the novel follows the up-and-down relationship of Esty and Mark. Esty has just left the closed,haredi community in which she grew up. Mark is a new immigrant from Britain. Given their backgrounds, it’s hardly surprising that their relationship has a good sprinkling of misunderstandings.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I called that first book Neither Here Nor There, to reflect Esty’s state of having left the community she knows, but still having one foot in it.
My new novel is called Cultivating a Fuji. The reason for that becomes clear as you read the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to include some humour in everything I write. I always wonder if it works, because readers might not always appreciate my sense of humour, but I think they generally do.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The answer is in the About the Author section of the book:
“Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London at about the same time as Martin. Like Martin, she studied Maths and went on to work as a computer programmer. Like Martin, she was bullied at school and, as a result, social anxiety became a visitor who refused to leave.
“There, the similarities end. Miriam also studied Music. She emigrated, married and had three children. Her career path veered onto technical writing and then took a sharp turn, landing in the field of creative writing. Now, she enjoys reading, hiking, dancing, touring and public speaking. And writing, of course.”
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Neither Here Nor There takes place in my home town with a trip to my former home town. I did visit places to make sure about some details, but I didn’t have to travel far.
Cultivating a Fuji is set mostly in Bournemouth and includes two trips to Japan. Fortunately, I know Bournemouth well and I’ve toured in Japan.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher – Crooked Cat Books. I particularly love the cover for Cultivating a Fuji. It fits the story perfectly and it’s very striking.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Cultivating a Fuji is, first and foremost, a story that I hope readers will enjoy. If it helps them to understand real-life people who struggle with social anxiety, that will be an added advantage.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Two authors I’ve come across recently are Gail Honeyman, author of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Frederik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove. I love the blend of humour and poignancy in both of those books, and I’m keen to read more by those authors. I don’t have a favourite author – there are so many that I like.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
There have been several. One of them was my writing group and its mentor, David Brauner, author of the novel, Another God. Unfortunately, the writing group has stopped meeting, but I still see David sometimes, and he’s always supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career. It takes up all of my time and I’m in awe of authors who also have full-time jobs.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not at the moment, but the reviews might make me change my mind!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh yes! First of all, there were all the details I researched, about places, historical details, etc. Also, I realised I need to give more thought to getting the wording right, if not in the first draft then at least in the second. That would save a lot of time. In general, I learned to have more confidence in my writing, in order to make it shine.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sorry, I’m not good at remembering actors. I would love my book to be made into a film, but I’d be happy to leave the casting to someone else!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep writing, have confidence in your abilities, write what only you can write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I wrote it in the blurb for Cultivating a Fuji:
“Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
From Paradis to Perdition by Olga Swan. It’s an account of a British couple’s life in France. I loved the first in the series and am enjoying this one.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book was probably by Enid Blyton, but one that made an impression early on is The Star and The Sword by Pamela Melnikoff. It was the first story I read in which I identified with the characters, even though it’s set several centuries ago.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Comments by my husband often make me laugh. Books can make me laugh or cry. I love it when one book does both. Apart from that, I don’t often cry these days, but in the past, being misunderstood would cause my eyes to water.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Just one? That’s hard and it’s a question I answer in a different way every time. Today, I’ll go for Naomi Alderman. In radio interviews, she always sounds lively and interesting. Also, we have something in common: we grew up in the same area and in similar communities.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading, hiking, touring, dancing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We don’t have time for TV any more. We do watch films. Of those I’ve watched recently, I particularly liked one new and one old – The Wife and The Apartment.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: eggs of various sorts. Colour: purple. Music: all sorts, classical and pop.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
That’s hard! Writing has become a part of me. I suppose I would concentrate on my hobbies and hope they would satisfy me.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I think I would try to scribble out everything I’ve been planning to write, but haven’t had time for. I’d also want to spend time with my family. And dance. And walk. Oh dear. Can’t I have a reprieve?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She tried her best.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My Amazon page is: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon.
Neither Here Nor There is not currently available to purchase.