In the first book of the Eagle and Child trilogy, Shahla functions as two women: the American who works as a Research Specialist at a Federal prison, and the Israeli asset whose clandestine work is concealed by her American job. She tries to disengage from two governments that are ripping holes in her soul, but the unfinished business of her hidden life comes between her and the man she’d hoped could heal the wounds of her past. A mixed marriage is only the beginning of their problems as Persian Jewish and American Protestant cultures clash. A Passover celebration turns deadly when three nations’ intelligence services and one man’s dream of personal revenge draw Shahla into a war begun in a previous generation.
Deadly celebrations, intelligence services and personal revenge merge together in the novel ‘The Eagle & The Child: The Child’, and the author of this novel, S. Khubiar has kindly joined me to chat the collision of these forces. Let’s straight down to business, how did the seeds of thoughts behind this novel grow?
It came from experience in law enforcement as well as personal questions about the Persian Jewish immigrant experience in America.
Where did your knowledge of these areas come from?
I am retired from law enforcement and self defense. It provided the basic story pieces. So, work in law enforcement, personal religious experience, and academic research were combined. It is an allegory of living in two worlds, or maybe more.
Were the characters in the novel taken directly from these worlds, or were they birth from your imagination?
Some are real people, and some are pure fiction. Most are an amalgamation of reality and fiction.
As most of them are amalgamations, can you see them clearly in your mind? Have you associated any actors with the characters? Do you have any ideas for casting ideas?
It would be difficult to cast Shahla and Samuel. We’d have to search Tehrangeles. Phillip could be played by newscaster Doug McElway. Lior Ashkenazi could play Uzi.
Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
Absolutely…check all weapons at the door, though.
Well of course, parties are not the places for weapons. Did you find working with the tale and characters rewarding? What reward was the most prominent for you?
It was cheaper than going to a psychologist. It helped work out so many ugly things I’d encountered in my career and religious life.
Writing is defiantly cheaper than therapy. And some authors say, more effective. When you had this opportunity to work through your demons, did you find a single message that hope that readers can take away from this tale?
We all have potential for personal redemption no matter how far we may fall; we all have two people struggling inside us.
Have you continued to work through this struggle in your next writing projects?
I’ve started publishing prequels to the Eagle & Child trilogy. Vital Statistics: the Die is Fair was the first one, and it is set in Oxford during the Jewish holiday of Purim. The next one is War and Trees: a Matter of Time, which is set in Aruba during Tu B’Shvat.
What keeps you coming back to extend on your trilogy through prequels? What draws you back to writing?
It just happens. I’ve always had an overactive quiet side, but it’s just quiet on the outside. My brain is scary.
I hope that you don’t scare yourself too much when writing. Do you find that you plan to help reduce the scariness, or do you let the tales unfold as they happen?
Both. There is usually a general storyline in mind.
Do you plot your storylines down and then sit down diligently to document them?
If I have inspiration, I write. If not, I work on academic type projects.
So you don’t try and force yourself through lulls?
It’s not a living, so I live a little longer and write when my brain wants to.
That works. Does do find that any music helps get you in the mood?
Gad Elbaz’ music…you can tell in the novel that Ana BeKoach is my favorite.
Do you find yourself doing a large amount of the editing yourself to make sure that the influences from Gad Elbaz aren’t too blatant?
Lots of self-editing, but a few trusted editors for outside eyes and criticism.
What top tips can you give to other authors looking to get the best out of the writing process from either your own or outside eyes?
It’s a part-time job for very low pay. If you don’t have a degree in English, hire a proofreader/editor.
There’s some solid advice there. Now before I let you go I hope that we can have a quick play in our quick fire question round to give our readers a peak at another side of your personality. Let’s start with: What is your favourite quote?
Never attribute to malice what is more properly attributed to stupidity.
That one is so true. Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Do it scared.
Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
What is your favourite ocean?
I hope you’ve seen some pirates there. If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
A Clown. Kreep.
Sounds somewhat sinister. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Have you ever danced in the rain?
If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
Are you left or right handed?
I don’t disclose things that can be used against me tactically.
How are the colours in rainbows made?
Bending light through water.
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
You gotta love a flying horse. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
What is your best tip for authors?
Have fun with your characters. It’s the closest we come to Pygmalion.
What is your favourite word?
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
That is a very different name. Finally, what is your favourite line from your novel that you use to entice readers further?
If God never gave me one more thing in my life, then you, right now, would be enough. You are my Dayeinu.
And we have found enough in today’s chat to let you continue with your day. Thanks for joining me, and I wish you the best of luck introducing new readers to ‘The Eagle & the Child: the Child’.
Want to find out more about S. Khubiar? Connect here!