Author Series: Write What You Love to Read
They say that you should write what you love to read, for a few good reasons. One is that we have to read our own books so many times before it sees the light, that we better like it! On a more serious note, when we write what we love reading, we can reach deeper depth in story arch, characters development and overall richness of the world we create.
What is it the I love reading? Many things. Mainly, I have a few themes that I find myself drawn to.
Supernatural and parallel realities.
I am a big fan of Stephen King. The first thing that comes to people’s mind when hearing King’s name is “horror book.” But in my experience, this is just one facet of his work. A prolific writer who writes faster than I can read, many of his books are actually not too horrific or gory, but they have in them some aspects of supernatural, speculative realities. And his best works, are in my humble opinion, when there is some parallel reality that the protagonist has to deal with. It can be a good place, filled with magic and powers, like in The Talisman, or scary places, filled with monsters and boogie men, like in From Buick 8. And in his epic Dark Tower series, the main world of the story is a fantasy one, and the parallel world is the one we call earth. That can twists ones head, but King brilliantly build these worlds and pull between them effortlessly.
Who doesn’t like a good mystery book, one that can hold us from the first page, and keep us wondering till the end? As a kid I loved reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and since then I sometimes enjoy picking up some who’s-done-it books. The recent one I read was the Roma Sub Rosa series by author Steven Saylor, in which a “finder”, the equivalent for private eye in the Romans time, is investigating different crimes (usually murders) in ancient Rome, while Roman Republic history, wars and politics are playing their role as the backdrop story.
Foreign countries, cultures or times (historical fictions or dystopian times).
Reading books is, in a way, like traveling, using our imagination instead of airplanes. It is an awesome way to travel to other countries and cultures we have never been to, or to times in the past or the future, that we have no way to travel to. This connects to some of the examples I already mentioned, reading about parallel worlds or ancient times; I don’t think I will ever be able to travel to. But I also love reading simpler stories, that happen in the here and now, only that the here is not where I am. I’ve learned about foreign countries and their people through reading stories by amazing authors, who shared with us their experiences; their foods and family life, their religions and cities, the way they fight and the way they love.
So, when I wrote The Resurrector, I wanted to write something I would love to read, filled with a supernatural parallel world and intrigue, in a foreign place that is not right here in our own backyard. Each of these take part in the story, but not exactly in the way I described above. The supernatural parallel world morphed into a supernatural dreamscape where Chaim, the head of the Levi family, sees his dead son. The mystery in the book is not who’s-done-it type of mystery, there is no murder mystery in sight. But still there is a mystery, about the identity of the Resurrector. And finally, although the story takes place in a foreign land and country, not one that I live in now (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), I am very familiar with it. It is my childhood’s state of Israel, the city and religion I grew up in. But although it is very familiar to me (more about it in my Write What You Know article), I hoped it will be a way for many readers out there to open a little window into a place they know nothing about and can learn from my experience.
Here are some quotes from The Resurrector, with these themes:
Supernatural and parallel reality:
I stand on a beach. The wind blows behind me, ruffling my hair and the tail of my shirt. Where am I? How did I get here? The air is cold. The wind changes direction, and it sprays sand and water in my face. I can taste the salt on my tongue.
Asher Shalom reached closer to Ram. He bent down so his face was just above Ram’s and lowered his voice. “No one is sure exactly what he looks like or where he lives.” He ignored Ram’s doubtful reaction. “Some describe an ancient man, wrinkled and parched like an old leather shoe, with white hair and long white beard. Others are talking about a young Yemenite Rabbi, with black curly sidelocks, wearing a traditional long striped dress. I even heard a theory that this Mekubal is a descendant of King David because people swear he is a redhead!”
Foreign country and culture:
They dropped him off at HaYarkon Street, running parallel to the Tel Aviv beaches and the promenade. When he arrived, it was already dark. The hotels lining the shore were lit up, illuminating the shoreline. The evening was chilly, but it wasn’t cold enough to keep people indoors. Millions of shining stars scattered across the clear skies.
I hope you too love reading some of the same things I love to read about, or maybe all of the above. And I hope that The Resurrector will give you a pleasure when reading it in the same way it gave me pleasure writing it.