Author: Avraham Azrieli
Today, Norm Goldman
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our
guest Avraham Azrieli author of The Jerusalem Inception, The Masada
Complex, Your Lawyer on a Short Leash, and One Step Ahead-A Mother
of Seven Escaping Hitler. Avi served as an Intelligence-Corps
officer in the Israeli military before attending Columbia Law
School in New York.
Good day Avi and thanks for participating in our interview
How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?
I believe all readers
are closeted writers and, not being one to enjoy confinement, I
broke out of the closet and started to write.
What served as the primary inspiration for The Jerusalem Inception?
Inception has some autobiographical elements, rooted in my Jewish
observant upbringing, having experienced the Six Day War (as
a child), and serving in the Israeli military. Also, like many
others, I've been fascinated by the role of clandestine agencies
in war and politics.
Finally, the 1967 war is the defining moment in Israel's history, as even current events are directly linked to the dramatic outcome of that war, especially the territorial and demographic situation that had developed as a result of the 1967 war. It's great background for a suspenseful story of love and war, idealism and compromise, as well as courage and danger.
Where did you get your information or ideas The Jerusalem Inception?
History books are my
favorite reading material, and from that knowledge and
understanding come a fountain of ideas about passionate
characters caught in conflicts at times of national drama and
peril. Jerusalem ("Lemmy") was formed by the divided
city he grew up in, by the ultra-religious sect that was his home,
and by the conflict between the three adults who dominated his
life while caught in their own love triangle.
How did you go about creating the characters of Elie Weiss, Abraham Gerster, Tanya Galinski and Lemmy Gerster? Are they based on people you know?
Like all dramatic
characters whose lives are dominated by passions of love and
ideology, Elie, Abraham and Tanya are real to me as they are to
my readers. The three are products of European Jewish life and its
destruction (in WWII), of determination to fight and survive the
Nazis, of fierce Zionism as the only solution to Jewish future
life, and of the harsh Mideast reality that has confronted the
dream of a safe and secure Israel since its establishment.
What is your secret in keeping the intensity of the plot throughout The Jerusalem Inception?
The events leading up to the Six Day War, the terrible isolation of Israel as it faced huge Arab armies with their Soviet backers, and especially the almost-certain demise awaiting the Jews in the divided city of Jerusalem, are incredibly dramatic. The characters in The Jerusalem Inception are playing a major part in turning what could have easily turned into a second Holocaust to an incredible military victory against all odds.
Those few months in 1967 were
the most intense period in Israel's history, which makes The
Jerusalem Inception equally intense.
Who is your favorite character in The Jerusalem Inception and why?
Each of the four main characters is my favorite in her or his own way. Jerusalem himself, naturally, is the most endearing--a sensitive yet daring eighteen-year-old, faced with challenges set before him by the three adults--his father the powerful rabbi, Tanya the irresistible Mossad agent, and Elie the spymaster and orchestrator of events both insidious and virtuous--and in the end, alone on a mission across enemy lines, Lemmy must succeed or Israel would suffer total destruction in the first hours of the war.
It is said that writers should write what they know. You clearly know about the history of Israel. Were there any elements of the book that forced you
to step out of your comfort zone, and if so, how did you approach this part of the writing?
To me all writing is outside the comfort zone. Like my readers, I am transported to the world of the characters, engaged in their conflicts, imperiled by their enemies, tremble with their passions, and heartbroken by their setbacks--until we all reach a breathless climax when all is at stake.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Years of intense Talmudic studies and service in the Israeli intelligence corps make for a strange but potent mix, especially when you add incessant reading, especially Ira Levin, Ken Follett, Daniel Silva, Fredrick Forsyth, Nelson DeMille, and many other great authors.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising--and rewarding to me--are my readers' passionate responses to my books, their deep interest in the characters I created and the environment in which the stories take place--which I work hard to portray as accurate as possible.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
On the net at: www.AzrieliBooks.com
As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
What's next for
Jerusalem ("Lemmy") Gerster? The answer is in my new novel:
The Jerusalem Assassin. It takes place during the weeks leading
to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. The four
players from The Jerusalem Inception are back--more mature, much
smarter, and very powerful in their respective clandestine
careers. Yet their conflicting agendas again
lead them to painful and dangerous confrontations in a plot that takes us through Paris, Zurich, and Amsterdam, ending with a shocking climax in Tel Aviv.
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors