Interview with Avraham Azrieli

Published 2015-05-26.
How do you pronounce Avraham’s name?
Av-rah-ham Az-ree-eli
When is your next book signing event?
Visit the Events section of my website - - for information about upcoming appearances.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My mother has been the driving force behind two book clubs for fifty years, and the inspiration was contagious. Today, as a writer, I’ve come to believe a fundamental truth, which is even more true in today’s incessant information overload: Book clubs are the Philosopher’s Stone for books and writers. Nothing is more important to the future of books than the flourishing of book clubs. For Maryland, Washington DC, and N. Virginia book Clubs (and occasionally New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), an in-person meet and signing is possible. Otherwise, Skype, FaceTime, or Phone participation is possible with advance scheduling. Book clubs can receive 1 free paperback copy and as many e-book copies as needed, and suggested Book Club Discussion Points are offered on my website. Please go to the Book Clubs page and click on one of the links for suggested Discussion Points for each of my novels.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing articles and essays during my four years of IDF military service as an intelligence officer and then during law school. My first publication was an opinion piece about how corruption and cronyism caused the mass emigration of young Israelis. It was published as an op-ed by Israel’s leading daily newspaper, Maariv, and drew intense reactions from politicians and public thinkers. I’ve since published articles in the International Herald Tribune, The Jewish News and other publications, as well as law journals and book review magazines, not to mention writing countless legal briefs in hundreds of cases before various trial and appeals courts, including–as the cliché goes–all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. As to fiction, I’ve been an avid reader since childhood, which is where most fiction writers begin their journey. I started my first novel, The Jerusalem Inception, while practicing law at a major law firm on Wall Street, and continued to write while handling court cases all over the United States, finding time at night, early in the morning, or while traveling. Since the publication of The Masada Complex in 2010, I’ve been writing full-time and loving it.
What writers do you enjoy?
I’ve enjoyed many writers of fiction and non-fiction books. I’ve read all of Ken Follett’s books–he is truly a master storyteller whom I admire greatly. And there are many others who have captivated and inspired me, including such diverse authors as Phillip Roth, Agatha Christie, Leon Uris, John Le Carré, Chaim Potok, Herman Wouk, James Mitchener, Harper Lee, John Irving, David McCullough, Amos Elon, Karen Armstrong, Stephen King, Yigael Yadin, Ira Levin, Frederick Forsyth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Karl May, Colleen McCullough, Nelson DeMille, Daniel Silva, Paulo Coelho, David Baldacci, J.K. Rowling, Bernard Lewis, and many others.
Should I read your novels in a certain order?
Each of the novels is enjoyable as a standalone story. The two Jerusalem novels, however, feature the same cast of lead characters and therefore would be more enjoyable if you read them in chronological historic order: First is The Jerusalem Inception, and then The Jerusalem Assassin. The two Ben Teller books (The Mormon Candidate and The Bootstrap Ultimatum) are not chronological and may be enjoyed in any order. For more information about the books, please visit the Books page on my website:
Should I post a review of your novel?
Yes! Please! I always read my readers’ reviews on book sites and take their thoughts to heart. It is the best expression of readers’ passion for the books, the best reward for all the hard work that goes into writing a book, and the best way to help other readers decide which books to read. If you do post a review, please feel free to let me know by using the Contact form on my website - - so that I can thank you personally. Posting reviews is a wonderful way to support online readers’ communities.
When will your next book be published?
My goal is to publish at least one new book every year. To track my progress, look at the bottom of the Home page on my website under “WIP – Work in Progress.”
Do you outline before writing a novel?
My novels start with an idea, which sends me on a journey of research and discovery. Most ideas do not reach the level of depth and emotional commitment required to actually start a book, but few do. In terms of practical day-to-day writing, I usually maintain a simple outline, perhaps one or two sentences for key events in the story. Yet, as in any form of creative art, the best flashes of imagination light up in your head while you work, or engage in other activities. The key for me is to keep going with the writing, maintain a momentum, and keep the characters alive.
What genre do you write in?
I have ventured into several related genres of fiction. My first novel, The Masada Complex was a political thriller. I followed it with two Israeli spy novels, The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin. Then came Christmas for Joshua, a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts, The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum headshot (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). Earlier, I wrote two non-fiction books: Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing).
What do you think about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
It really depends on the book, the market, and the ever-transforming publishing industry. I’ve had books published by commercial publishers, private foundations, and independent publishing platforms. The new technologies of e-books, print-on-demand, and audio-book production and distribution, have done miracles for authors. Access to the market and fulfillment/delivery are no longer a barrier to new authors as all the gatekeepers have become history. However, there is no question that the professional novelist benefits greatly from an enthusiastic and driven agent, a supportive and capable editor, and the sophistication of a large publishing house. Taking a manuscript through the myriad stages of editing, design, production, publication, marketing, and the intelligent placement of various subsidiary rights, is a complex process best done by experts with high-level knowledge of their particular specialties. Besides the business advantages, on a personal and emotional level, a professional team of high quality gives the author a wonderful sense of sustenance, encouragement, and cool-headed advice. While it’s no longer necessary, considering today’s availability of excellent independent publishing platforms with worldwide reach, still, for a solitary occupation such as ours, the support of a highly skilled and dedicated agent/editor/publisher team is invaluable.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.