Monday, April 26, 2010
ME: You base your book around the Jewish culture in Reston, Virginia. Why was it important to you to include religion in your debut novel?
AO: I didn’t actually set out to write a book with a Jewish background (in fact, writing about anything religious was probably the farthest thing from my mind). The germ of the story came not from an incident, but from a person. One of the characters in the book, Kassian, is (very) loosely based on someone from my childhood. When I was just a lad, my family would gather together for the Jewish holidays at my grandmother’s apartment, and she would often invite a relative to join us. I didn’t exactly know how he was related to us, but we called him “cousin.” He was a diminutive man, well-dressed, quite polite, and impeccably groomed. He also smelled heavily of aftershave. It wasn’t until years later that I learned it wasn’t aftershave I was smelling; it was something a lot more potent (of the 100-proof variety). So given this association, I guessed it just seemed natural to have the characters be Jewish, and have the action set against some Jewish cultural background. In my mind, though, I set out to write a suspenseful, page-turning mystery, and that’s how I view it—the “Jewishness” adds some interesting depth.
ME: Another major theme in Diamonds for the Dead is family, both alienation from and devotion to ones elders. How does this fit into your own life? Do you have elderly parents you take care of or are expected to?
ME: I get that many people are moved to write, but why were you moved to write murder mystery? What is the fascination?
AO: I read a lot of crime fiction, so I guess it seemed natural to write crime fiction. Plus it’s better to write about crimes than commit them (at least that’s what my parole officer tells me).
ME: What is next for you? Are you working on your second book already? Third?
AO: The first book in my Channing Hayes series will be released next Spring (2011). Called KILLER ROUTINE, it’s about a stand-up comic with a tragic past. I’m working on the sequel to that one now (due out in Spring 2012). Back to your first question, religion isn’t even mentioned in this series, unless you consider stand-up comedy a religion.
ME: Anything else you'd like to tell the readers?
AO: Part of the publishing “game” includes promotion, and part of promotion includes blogging and reading others’ blogs. It’s been very rewarding to get to know so many great bloggers and blog readers in cyberspace (like yourself), and for that, I’m grateful!
Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Michele—I appreciate it. And I also appreciate that you made DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD your April Challenge book; that’s very cool! For more info, visit http://www.alanorloff.com/
Posted by Michele Emrath at 7:59 AM