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Interview with Yigal Zur


Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. My name is Yigal Zur, and I am a noted Israeli writer and journalist who has written 13 books till now. My thriller Passport to Death is the first to feature ex-Mossad agent Dotan Naor and takes place in Thailand (will be published in English November 2019). My second thriller Death in Shangri-la was the first to be translated into English (published by Oceanview 2018) continue to feature Dotan Naor and takes place in North India. 
I wrote travel books and guides to India and China, a script for Menelik – a black Jewish prince as well which was filmed in 1999. Amongst my other published works are the novels Dark Prune, Spring of Almond’s Blossom, and The Monsoon’s EndI have hosted successful TV travel shows. The height of my career as a journalist was when I was the only Israeli journalist embedded with the American army in Iraq 2003.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Absolutely. Passport to Death will be out at the end of 2019. Then will be another one which will feature my favorite hero Dotan Naor. I think I will call it in English Children of Dust as it deals with human traffic in Asia. Dotan is rescuing a girl of 12 which was kidnaped from a hotel in Ko Samui to Cambodia

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. As a journalist, I was following a lot of similar but real stories. I was with teams of rescuers in many countries looking for missing and lost persons. I met a lot of different people on these missions: police, army, investigators, and other. Real heavy stuff to carry with you, but good material once you sit down to write.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Write from your experience and life, dig deep inside, look for real emotions. Do not put just words. Sit down and write with no emails, facebook, or twitter buzzing around. 

Q.5 Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. Original from the first moment I started writing because I liked to tell or write the stories. I wrote basically for myself. I still do it. The greatest fun is the process of writing. All the rest comes after.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. To be honest. A good writer knows his faults, and the places he has to work harder.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. TLS, New-york times book reviews and so many more. As a thriller writer, I follow and I am a member of  ITW (International Thriller Writers) website. I keep looking into many others.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. I am a very strong male writer. So it took my very hard effort to try and portrait the opposite sex. For some writers, it comes easy. For me, it was and still hard. It came to the point that in a thriller I am writing now I choose to make a team of two investigators- one of them very tough female policewomen with a lot to say about the opposite sex. So I am in a mess.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. Sometimes it comes in a flick. Sometimes you keep changing until it fits. Like Dotan Naor name. The Naor came easily because this means in Hebrew the enlighted one- a guy who struggled to improve himself. So I looked for a soft first name- Dotan.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. I read all reviews, good and bad. I try to learn from each. There are very few I cannot stand so I try to forget them. Some people really can not understand your writing. We are not the same. The only reviewers I cannot stand are the one who does it for money and writes a bad review. You do not like, put aside, there are so many books around. Do not harm the writer in purpose, most of us are hardworking guys.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Sure and for many years. You need the time, and it comes on their time. A writer needs a supporting base.

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. A lot. Any new reader is a treasure which I hope will come back for the next thriller.

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. I have published till now 14 books. I have one which I finished, and I guess will be published in Hebrew at the end of 2019 beside another translated to English Passport to Death which will come out November 2019. The favorite is the one I am working on. He needs the attention. All the others I look after them but they have their own course in life.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Not really. Sometimes I am stuck so I take my bikes and ride to clear my mind. Sometimes I read what I wrote while standing. But it is a pure effort with tea and coffee.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Continue writing and publishing every year or two a good thriller.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I would say there are too many not worthy books, but with the self- publishing and 1,000,000 new titles only at 2017 in Amazon who am I to judge. It is the time of war for most writers.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. There were two editors, one for the Hebrew edition which I choose and one for the American edition which was an in-house editor. Both were very good, and I was blessed with an amazing translator.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I think Hemingway. I want to go 2-3 rounds of boxing with him, I want to check if he was really this kind of heavy drinker, and why the hell he put the gun in his mouth.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. There is no particular one. I read so much and so many. I read fiction, non-fiction, travel. So the one I hold in my hands (in my Kindle), and it is good I am happy with it. Otherwise, I just put it down. No time to waste.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. There are two kinds of journeys for me: real travel- I travel a lot, 3-4 month a year. Sometimes more. The other journey is the mind travel which result in writing and books. They work together pretty well.


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