Thanks so much for agreeing to an interview, Stefan! Please choose at least 6 questions below and send them back – I am anxious to read your answers.
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
Cry of Eagles is about a Mossad conspiracy to drag America into a war. Iran’s nuclear capability represents a clear national threat to Israel. Although concerned, the United States and Europe are reluctant to increase sanctions. Frustrated that nothing is being done, Mossad decides to force the United States into action. A black ops team sabotages a refinery complex in Galveston and plants evidence that incriminates Iran, confident that an enraged America will retaliate. Congress and the public urge the U.S. president to bomb Iran, but the administration lacks direct evidence. With carriers positioned in the Gulf ready to strike, the world waits to see if the Middle East will explode into open conflict. With tension mounting, the FBI uncovers a shocking truth. It wasn’t Iran at all, but Israel! A government falls and America forces Israel to confront the Palestinian problem.
Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?
Well, having written seven science fiction books in my Shadow Gods Series, I decided to make a foray into contemporary fiction, hoping it might give me a better chance of getting with a traditional publisher. I’m still hoping. Having been interested in Middle Eastern politics, and world geopolitics in general, for some time, seeing what is happening in Israel and the misery inflicted on the Palestinians, I saw a story in it. Having Israel sabotage a Galveston refinery, making it appear to be an Iranian attack in order to force the US to retaliate against Iran’s nuclear installations, seemed a way to tell it. It took a while for the plot to gel and the characters to emerge, but it all finally came together. Somebody must like what I have done, as the book got a silver medal in 2011 from Readers Favorite.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
I guess I was inspired to write Cry of Eagles after observing Israel’s intransigence to reach a settlement with the Palestinians, their ongoing housing expansion program in Jerusalem and the construction of the West Bank wall, which they used to acquire more territory. Israel’s political system is a complex web of religious and right wing extremist parties, which forces the major parties to form a coalition government, making it difficult to achieve anything. But it is the Mossad’s dirty trick department, and the lengths they are prepared to go to in order to further government policy, that really pushed me to write this book.
What cause are you most passionate about and why?
There are a number of contemporary issues that get me going, but what gets me worked up is the blatant childishness and stupidity of politicians world over – children that need to be taken out back and given a good hiding. It would be funny if the result of their antics were not so serious. We are actually entrusting the fate of the world to their hands? Agh!
In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?
I like to think that with every writing effort, my writing skills are improving. However, I must say that over the last two years, I have crossed a threshold in my writing that gives it a richness and depth lacking in my previous works. I am still learning.
Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?
There is one ritual I never deviate from. Having finished a book, I go over it on the computer. I then print it out and go over it again. It is amazing what the eye can catch in print that it glosses over on the screen. Then I leave the damned thing alone for a while, then print out a fresh copy and go over it again. Editing never ends, but when I reach a point of diminishing returns, it is time to hand it over to a publisher. Oh yes. When I’m done, I take a long break from writing!
What are you currently working on?
Having finished a contemporary novel, due out next year, I decided to return to my
Shadow Gods Series and write one last book about Terrllss-rr, his loved one Teena and his battle against the Celi-Kran. At least I think it will be the last book. Fates can be funny that way. It has been about four years since I finished the last book in the series, but I never felt comfortable that the series were complete. My current book should put a cap on it.
Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
I guess this is where my training in the IT industry comes through. What I would recommend to any author before he puts pen to paper or starts pounding away on that keyboard, is to thoroughly plan the book, research it to death, develop the characters and have a detailed outline which provides a skeletal framework on which the author can hang the meat of the story.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
Sharing with readers what I created is a buzz, and continually perfecting and mastering the craft of writing is a pleasure, which I hope is reflected in what I produce, giving my readers more enjoyment.
What do you feel is your biggest strength?
Apart from learning to be a stern self-editor, I am able to take a reader into my book, share with him an adventure through my characters, making him confident that I will not let him down with silly plot bloopers and careless grammar mistakes.
What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
‘Cry of Eagles’ covers a topic I have not seen written about in any other book, although it may have been. There are lots of books out there I haven’t read. The book blends aspects of Israeli politics, its tortuous history, the machinations of it secret service, and of course, the behavior of the American administration and its unwillingness to seriously tackle the Palestinian problem. The book may disturb some readers, but it is factual in all respects, set against a fictional story.
Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?
For me, life has been an accumulation of experiences and knowledge. I read widely across many genres, including non-fiction in many branches of the sciences. These helped me gather knowledge, which provides a store of information I can draw on in my writing. Looking back at my self over the years, I can definitely say I am a different person now, simply because of life’s experiences.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst … and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. But once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure.