WITH FIRE ISLANDER MARILYN HOROWITZ
AUTHOR OF THE
BOOK OF ZEV
Q & A with Marilyn Ida Horowitz, author of The Book
of Zev, due out December 1, 2014.
What inspired you to write a black
I met a man on a train who was a religious Jew questioning
his faith. That conversation is what inspired the book and the title character of
Zev. The events of the story made it into a thriller. It’s a black comedy
because one of the themes is the absurdity of life.
What’s the book about?
It’s a thriller about two ordinary people who prevent a
terrorist from blowing up the United Nations and Israel. Both characters struggle
with their relationship with God.
Tell us about the book, and why it
is relevant in today’s world.
It is about the Middle East and terrorism. It brings the
Middle East crisis to New York City and the United States. It is also about our
obligation to a larger society –would you risk your life to save others? The
opening quote by Edmund Burke is something we all need to consider: “The only
thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
There are a couple of gay and
bi-sexual characters in the book. Are they modeled on anyone in particular? How
do they impact the story?
No, all of the characters in the book are fictitious. One of
the themes in the book is whether or not free will really makes us free. My
characters have all made sacrifices to live as individuals, which includes
These characters impact the story because they represent the
modern world in which people have more choices about their partners. One of my
characters is bi-sexual, another has had lesbian experiences and another is
gay. Even Sarah, my heroine has had her own lesbian experiences, and they
allow her to connect more deeply to other people.
It looks like you have tapped into
a huge group of readers who believe in the paranormal. A 2005 United States Gallup
poll showed that 55% of Americans believe in psychic or spiritual healing and
that 3 out of 4 Americans believe in the paranormal. A psychic plays a pivotal
role in the book. What does the psychic represent?
The character of the psychic represents fate, and since the
theme of the book is free will, I wanted to create an element of
pre-destination to contrast with the character’s beliefs. By opening the story
with the psychic’s predictions, we are shown what fate has provided and get to
watch how the choices the characters make alter the events of the story.
Who do you feel is the target
audience for the book?
I think it has broad appeal especially to readers of
thrillers. In addition it will appeal to readers who are on a spiritual quest,
enjoy yoga, like cooking and are interested in The Middle East situation.
Who are your favorite authors and
why? Have any of them influenced your writing?
I admire writers who have a spare writing style. Among my
favorites are Joan Didion, Truman Capote, Dashiell Hammett and Ernest
Hemingway. I admire their style and tried to keep my writing lean and to the
You mentioned that you have spent a
great deal of time at Fire Island over the years.
Yes, I have been coming out to Fire Island pretty
consistently for the last 25 years. I have come out almost every summer in my
adult life. Typically I have taken a timeshare in a group house.
What is it about Fire Island that
keeps you coming back?
There is something magical about the island. I don’t know if
it’s because there are no cars, or the fact you can see both Ocean and Bay on a
short walk, or the beauty of the beaches, but there is something special about
being out there.
It is also where I do my best writing. I worked on my
current novel, The Book of Zev, out here for two summers in a row. This
year I took a week at the beginning of the summer to write a chapter for a book
which I will be included in, The Expert Success Solution published by
Morgan James. This is an annual publication showcasing new thought leaders. I
will be coming out for a week after Labor Day to work on a new book. I also spent several weekends this summer enjoying the fun of being in a group house with a great group of people.
I note that you are a professor at
New York University and that you teach screenwriting. What made you decide to
write a book, rather than a screenplay?
As a writing coach, I have worked extensively in both forms.
But I decided to write this story as a novel because it was interesting to
explore the character’s inner thoughts. Screenplays are more action –focused,
and thoughts must be shown through action.
What are your plans for the future?
I have written a screenplay set in Fire Island that I hope to produce in the next couple of years and I am currently working on my next novel, a new thriller.
Book of Zev Paperback – December 1, 2014 by Marilyn Horowitz