Harry Stone lived an easy life… until the global financial crisis forced him to live with purpose. A personality ripe for metamorphosis and a career cut short plunge Harry into a soul-searching adventure across Asia and the Middle East, through the West Bank, and deep in the jungles of Java. Witnessing economic disparity in the developing world and confronting personal demons lead Harry to a life filled with human connection and joy. Follow this transformational odyssey as a man reluctantly abandons a life of greed, learns the true cost of a soul, and finds himself in the process.
What’s the true cost of a soul? Michael Looft, the architect behind Harry’s trials and transformation has dropped in to chat with me today about his experience putting pen to paper when writing ‘Crossing Allenby Bridge’. Like many of our readers I love a story that takes us down the rich road of character development, and one of the things I always wonder about that first idea that started such an interesting journey. Where did Harry’s plight start?
The book began as I reflected on a decade of traveling to 50 different countries helping serve the poorest of the poor around the world.
Wow, 50 countries is a solid achievement that could no doubt fill a passport or two! Were these travels inspired by the desire to see the world?
I’ve spent over a decade working in financial services for the poor. This book is a product of experiencing cultures and meeting people in these countries. I write about the unique people I meet and how they’ve touched my heart.
With so many countries under your belt, I’m sure you’ve met so many amazing people over the years. Did you directly insert any of these people directly into this book to capture their awesome personalities on paper?
Most of the characters are amalgamations of people I’ve met over the years (including the main character, Harry Stone).
Looking back, what do you feel was the biggest thing that you learnt by crafting these amalgamations into characters and sending them on their journey?
Most writers enjoy the initial part but not necessarily the editing and re-writing process. I actually experienced it the other way around. I loved doing rewrites and making sure I capture everything I could in the novel that contributed to the arc of the story.
Do you find the writing process from those initial thoughts to the final rewrite exciting and energising?
Yes, it completely energizes me (though after a long day of writing I’m definitely ready for a beer!).
*Laughs* It is important to get good sustenance! Other than to make sure you have a beer on hand at the end of a long day, what do you really hope that readers take from ‘Crossing Allenby Bridge’?
It’s never too late to reshape one’s life path — and a path of service can lead to a meaningful life.
And one of the most wide-reaching services that someone could provide is to write a book. Are you currently continuing on your life’s path with a new writing project?
I write based on my life experiences. I’m currently working on a novel related to my time living in Northern California.
With all of this talk of travel and sights to see, I just have to know, have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage?
Sounds like most of my life…
*Laughs* It really does! During this pilgrimage across time, countries and pages, do you feel that your voice as an author has kept improving?
I’m able to be more authentic and I’ve learned to trust the voice of my higher self (when I can hear it).
Has your focus on being more authentic led you to consider the creation of an author brand to help you craft and share this authenticity with your readers?
Unfortunately, this is not yet on my radar.
When you think about writing in general, what thoughts or advice is on your radar?
I encourage other writers (even potential ones) to continue writing and trying to get their books published. Navigate around negative self-talk and discouraging words from others. Keep your eyes on the prize of sharing your work with the general public.
Never doubt the power of a story! Thanks so much for sharing the prize of your work with us today Michael, and I hope to hear about your next adventure in the North of California soon!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Crossing Allenby Bridge ( ASIN: B07D277PHK )‘.
Want to find out more about Michael Looft? Connect here!