Interview with Ruth Shidlo

Are you more of a writer or a psychologist?
I like to think I am both. I am happy when I’m able to help someone deal more wholesomely with something that’s weighing upon them, and regain or achieve a new inner balance.
I enjoy both professions, sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a full-time writer, one who is able to support herself solely by writing. I tried that once, and found it quite a challenge, even with some editing thrown in for good measure. I love editing, especially if the writer is intelligent and has a clear message. I recently edited "The Enigma of Childhood" by Ronnie Solan (Karnac, 2015). Although somewhat biased given my involvement, I recommend it highly.
Do you adhere to an outline when you write?
I envy those writers who are able to plan ahead, even if they then have the freedom to deviate as needed. I find it very hard, if not downright impossible, to outline a story or plot in advance—often I literally start writing without the faintest notion of where the story will take me—this is still a “pre-story time.” I allow myself to reserve judgement and simply write. I know there will always be time to whit it down, to edit, to play with it. Gradually, the story unfolds, in large measure thanks to its characters.
As a writer, where do you get your inspiration?
I think that when I start writing, personal experiences and attendant feelings, as well as past observations and incidents I have witnessed or participated in, come to the fore and fuel a theme I’m working on—even when I don’t yet have a clear sense of what it is, other than an awakening or intimation of something stirring within me. Sometimes I just write and write and keep those fingers moving, until something points me in a certain direction, or begins to gel into a character-driven story or subplot.
Do you share any similarities with the main character of your Helen Mirkin series?
Helen is younger, keeps in better shape, and has her life ahead of her. We are motivated by different things. One thing we both definitely share is a love of music. Like her, I used to sing with a semi-professional chamber choir, did so for many years. It was a lot of fun, but very time consuming—we had lots of concerts, which demanded preparation and left little time for writing.
Do you write non-fiction?
Sometimes. I’ve published a few pieces in "BioNews" and "Medicine and Law", as well as in "Assia" and "Haaretz".
What other books are you planning?
I have a “young adult” (YA) novel on the back burner, and another that requires a major rewrite, hopefully sooner rather than later, since it deals with issues close to my heart, percolating within me. Both novels deal with identity issues and family, but in different ways. And then, Helen Mirkin has started her third case, so I need to keep up with her.
Published 2016-02-11.
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Books by This Author

The Rosebush Murders (Helen Mirkin 1)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,190. Language: American English. Published: February 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
In this first Helen Mirkin novel, Jerusalem-based Detective Inspector Helen Mirkin is challenged with solving the murder of psychologist Dr. Danielle Hall. Before much progress is made, a second murder occurs. Are they related? The investigation leads DI Mirkin to a state-of-the-art fertility clinic. How does this fit in? Is the killer trying to cover their tracks? Can they be stopped before more
Murder in the Choir (A Helen Mirkin novel)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 71,840. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
DI Helen Mirkin is tasked with finding opera singer Araceli Pena, who has missed two Wozzeck rehearsals. When found dead in bed, the circumstances of her death are far from clear. DI Mirkin explores the mercurial world of the Opera Music Workshop, rife with competition and backstabbing. A meteoric composer is shot, the stakes rising as the music world is under attack. Can the Workshop survive?