Interview with Avi Perry, Author of 72 Virgins (Part 1)

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How long does it take you to write a book?
This latest book is my first novel. It took two years from start to finish. My next novel will take one year. The experience I acquired would pay off.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I have no schedule. The wife would send me on errands, “You don’t do anything anyway,” she would say. I always try to remind her (to no avail) of Mario Puzo’s Godfather’s papers. He was subject to the same attitude when he wrote his multimillion dollar saga.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Style is the part by which I would hope to be identified.

How (did your) books get published?
My first book was a technical book for engineers. I found my agent by way of a book query. He agreed to work with me and was astonished when the first publisher he tried (Cambridge University Press) accepted the deal and offered a beautiful reward in return. With my current book I met my publisher at a party and got his attention and interest.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I am no longer as young as I was forty years ago when I came to this country (USA) as a Ph.D. student, so I have a great deal of life experiences. I draw information from my own well. It’s pretty jam-packed. I supplement this information with research on the particular subject that the book addresses. In the acknowledgment section of my book I addressed this topic in more detail.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first non-fiction, engineering book after I embarked on my early retirement following my job as vice president at a hi-tech company, I started writing in 2005. I was sixty-two.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to watch and play with my grandchildren. I like to play the piano and compose music on the fly. I am a part time song writer, arranger, and a keyboard player. When I was young and handsome I was a professional musician. I played professionally with my band. I had recordings that made it to the top of the chart in Israel in the 60s.

What does your family think of your writing?
They recognize my talent. They always ask me to write letters for them—not a great thrill..

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
With the non-fiction. Engineering book, I was surprised to discover that the material and knowledge I had before committing to the writing was insufficient for the scope I had proposed to the publisher. I had seriously underestimated the size and magnitude of the project. I overcame that initial bolt from the blue by mounting a massive research effort. With my latest novel, after reading it for the ten-millionth time, I was still amazed. I kept telling myself—This stuff is good, I can’t believe I did it.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written two books so far. I love writing fiction. It’s much more fun than non-fiction writing. When you write fiction, you play God. You create a universe, you create characters. You may kill them, subject them to experiences you would or wouldn’t want to go through on your own. You play them. You can even change your mind later, rewind, then start fresh. That latest part is powerful. If God had thought about it he might have tried to exercise it. He never rewinds.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have listed reviewers’ comments on my Web site You can also find these comments on the Amazon page.

(Part 1) | Part 2



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